UNWINDING THE EARTH
Initially, I create software in Java to analyze audio from a live audio/video feed. Then, for the camera, I perform a piece (I composed for this project) for guitar. The noise (the most forceful of a complex wave, consisting of multiple frequencies) from the microphone is translated into music notation. These scores are then performed by a virtual string section (one bass, three cello, four viola, eight violin) available to Java and broadcast from the computer (stereo) audio output channel.
Where the lone computerized string section would immediately sound like chaos, the audience member watches the performance and hears the guitar part (from a spatially distinct location) simultaneously with the computer output (from another spatial location). This encourages the audience member’s perception (likely exceeding capacity) to amass stimuli as a single entity. Insofar as the audience member interprets the visual scene as coherent and comes to feel the guitar part as coherent, the computer part (as a facet linked to the other parts) is no longer a series of random pitches at random intervals. As an appendage, conspicuously lacking coherence itself, it might be lent coherence from other organized stimuli.
What precisely constitutes musicality? I am not concerned with the well-worn question, “is it music?” Rather, I am investigating an elusive border between experiencing a sensation of hearing music (to be attended to), and that of noise. Moreover, by such experimentation, I am hoping to discover the neural mechanism by which we distinguish gestalt groupings (objectively arbitrary) of the intertwined sensory impulse streams worth further attention, from irrelevant signal noise.
In other words, the binding problem of how we might know that the redness and roundness of a ball are features of the same thing, is solved. The binding problem assumes that all entities are bound (in some ideal plane we often call reality), and that we humans passively detect the holism. My proposal here is that features are disembodied and re-assembled in the mind and that holism only exists for the sake of our biologically limited cognitive machinery (the brain).