Monday, 5 April 2010

Making Music in a Virtual Biomass Just Feels Good

April 5, 2010

New media. Media art. Virtual art. Virtual reality. Virtual Performance Art. Networked Reality. Nanotechnology. Cyborg. Hybrid ...

I don't know where all of these terms and the realities they refer to are going, how the theory of networked reality art relates to what I am doing. What I do know is that composing, collaborating and performing in the virtual reality world of Second Life, in communion with the other beings I work with, brings forth a deeply compelling music that I certainly would not experience otherwise. It surprises me.

And I am not talking about the musics that are translated from this visceral here and now life into the virtual world. There are many examples of these. I mean the music that has been created within that world, taking in that experience and way of connecting and that has informed the creators from a place of deep curiosity and newness in this new environment.

I know that the virtual instruments that have been created collaboratively for my compositions in Second Life would not have been conceived outside of that world. The concepts may have been, the sound world of two harmonic series juxtaposed of course is a simple idea that has been much explored. Electronic pieces could be created exploring the beat patterns, difference and combination tones, exploring the just intoned intervals between the two series, the musicality of electric motors placed in this context ... all of this is possible and has been done.

 But the communion of the individuals linked together in the virtual world, breathing together, seeing the replications of each others' presence, making their own choices because of how they are listening together to these particular instruments in this visual space together ... this experience could not be reached in a composer-created electronic piece ... nor could it be created in a visceral here and now group performance of the same sound material.

What compels me about composing and sharing music in this virtual world is the unique yet familiar attractiveness of the music making - it "feels good" to do it, and it feels good to listen to it. And it is not a kind of music that I can participate in in any other way that I know of ... at the moment.
This is good enough for me. I don't need a theoretical framework, a conceptually orgasmic context, the camaraderie of academe. It just sounds good, it feels good, it compels deeper listening, feeling and thinking, and connects people to one another in sound and perception in a good way. I really cannot explain it and I cannot ask for more.