Announcement title

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

CALL - Simulation and Computer Experimentation in Music and Sound Art - Almat @ Orpheus Research Seminar 2019

21–22 March 2019, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, BE


- ‘Music, Thought and Technology’
  (Orpheus Institute, Ghent):
- ‘Algorithms that Matter’
  (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, FWF AR 403-GBL):

Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the
different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation
addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related
research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or
theoretical aspects.

Download call (.pdf):

Computational methods have made their way into most of scientific and
artistic fields; simulation has become a paradigmatic mode in
contemporary practices. In science, in design, in medicine and in art,
simulations of natural, human, technological or abstract systems (or
techniques derived from simulation) are ubiquitous. The development of
new methods of computation and simulation in the natural sciences
initiated an ongoing discussion about the relationship of _in silico_
experiments to empirical or theoretical modes of investigation.

The seminar aims to bring together practitioners and scholars to discuss
the wide-reaching implications of the ‘agential cut’ (Barad) or ‘ontic
cut’ (Rheinberger) – the separation between operationalised model or
abstract theory and perceived or experimentally verified ‘reality’, the
fissure already indicated by Husserl and realised in experimental
computational systems. These introduce a new type of interface between
the machinery and what is implemented, allowing for the ongoing
production of new data and going beyond the traditional atemporal
theoretical models; crucially, simulations also allow new and mobile
perspectives onto the ‘object’ modelled by tracing contingent, situated,
multiple paths through what DeLanda describes as ‘a space of
possibilities’ – alternative realities within a space that displays
stability or consistency at another level. In Rheinberger’s words ‘it
becomes urgent to ask whether computer simulations represent a new
category of epistemic object altogether.’

Computational models afford a way to test theoretical constructs or
observe the consequences of non-physical or even imaginary hypotheses.
One arrives at a critical conception of computation, situating it beyond
the dualism of a deductive, representational approach and an inductive,
empirical approach, acknowledging a speculative quality of algorithms
that ‘are not simply the computational version of mathematical axioms,
but are to be conceived as actualities, self-constituting composites of
data’ and ‘equipped with their own procedure for prehending data.’
(Parisi) The very activity of experimentation and augmenting the
language of artistic creation is exposed through the use of algorithms.

Call for proposals

Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the
different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation
addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related
research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or
theoretical aspects. We invite proposals for presentations in the form
of paper (20 minutes), demonstration or performance, or any hybrid
thereof. We particularly welcome proposals for presentations that
explore the role of simulation in innovative ways.

Proposals (200 words) should be sent to: to arrive no later
than 8 December 2018.
We intend to send notification of acceptance by 15 January 2019.

A non-exhaustive list of possible questions and topics might include:

- Do computer simulations represent a new category of epistemic objects?
- The role of metaphor or verisimilitude in terms of the structure or
  behaviour under consideration. Of the brain in neural networks, of
  social or biological structures in A-life systems, for example. At
  what point can the metaphor be abandoned?
- Lines of enquiry suggested by Baudrillard’s distinction between
  simulation and simulacrum. Where, for instance, are the borders
  between reconstructions, interpretations and acts of ‘pure’
  imagination? If an act of ‘projected’ or ‘applied’ imagination can be
  seen in this light, why not one of personal creativity?
- Is there a relationship of simulation between the performance of music
  and the abstract ‘work’? Between the ‘work’ and its ineffable
  motivating impulse?
- Does the new state of science suggest that we rethink our entire model
  of the ways in which we understand the stages and ontologies of music
  production in general, including historical models?
- In which way does a system embody its author’s understanding of the
  phenomenon in question? That is, might it tell us as much about the
  context, the world-view of its own development as about its subject
- The way computation can merge with composition and performance opens
  to question our received understanding of the processes of
  contemporary musical/sonic creation.
- A major value of computation as a tool lies in the possibilities it
  offers for the development of instruments and apparatuses of enquiry
  or experience that would otherwise be impossible. What value do
  simulations of physically ‘impossible’ systems have? What relation is
  there to the tradition of ‘thought experiment’?
- Rather than remaining inert tools, computational processes tend to
  unfold a specific agency, retroacting on the research or creative
  process they are inserted into.
- What kind of materiality do computational experiments develop? If they
  lack the material resistance as part of the experimental arrangement
  (Gramelsberger), could there be a different kind materiality that
  comes into play?
- Computational methods enter in a ‘co-generative’ relationship with the
  entities they interact with: they co-determine the outcome of the
  research or artistic endeavours. Humans and computational processes
  are inextricably entangled in a network of relations, an ecosystem of
  interdependences devoid of hierarchies and separability.
- If there is always already an ‘experimental intelligibility internal
  to computation’ (Parisi) through which the premises of the input data
  are autonomously revised, what are the opportunities in this duality
  of experimentality (intrinsic to computation as well as introduced
  through an experimenter’s design)?
- What are the implications for artistic work if experimental computer
  systems are always the result of a collaborative writing process of
  several authors (Gramelsberger)?


Convenors: Jonathan Impett, Hanns Holger Rutz, David Pirrò
Invited Speakers: Luciana Parisi, N.N.



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