Inter_agency: Composing Sonic Human-Computer Agent Networks

An artistic research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [AR 483]


The discourse on interaction in live electronic music is often vague and inaccurate. Interaction – often confused with reaction – means above all reciprocity. There can be no interaction unless all interacting parts within a system are able to perceive each other’s actions, and act both in response to them and according to their own agenda. In human-computer music systems this would mean that not only the performer, but also the computer should be able to “act” – not just re-act. This idealistic vision of sonic human-computer reciprocity lies in the focus of our project. By incorporating machine intelligence in compositions for acoustic instruments and electronics, we seek to establish a reciprocal interaction between the musician as a cognising subject, and the computer as a cognising object.


Unlike most research projects in the field of Music AI, we are not aiming at the simulation of musical creativity or the development of interactive improvisation systems. Instead, we seek to integrate intelligent agent-based systems in compositions that incorporate both human and machine agency.


The objectives of this project include exploring machine listening as a modality for sonic human-computer interaction and merging interactive performance systems and composition, an approach that poses both technical and compositional challenges and promises to increase our knowledge in both fields.


To achieve our objectives, we will develop individual compositions as case studies in collaboration with the musicians of Klangforum Wien and Schallfeld Ensemble and under the supervision of the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI). In addition to the two main researchers, Artemi-Maria Gioti and Gerhard Eckel, three internationally renowned composers/sound artists from the field of Music AI will be invited for a residency at the IEM in Graz and will contribute to the project by developing compositions/installations. The results of the project will be disseminated through concerts, scholarly publications, a young composers workshop and an international conference that will serve as a platform for the artistic discourse on interactive music systems and Music AI in general.