Process and Form in 

Feedback Systems

[05.07.19]

This exposition forms part of my research on the positioning of feedback systems for composing and performing computer music, which I originally began in late 2017. Here I'm collecting some ideas, working methods and speculations I gathered during these two years of experience with such systems. Many themes overlap with those of the almat artistic research project, which I am part of since January 2018, as well as with the topics discussed in the meetings dedicated to dynamical systems thinking in compositional practice taking place at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustic in Graz, Austria.


Feedback is an interesting case of a simple mechanism that, through iteration, leads to complex behaviors and unexpected results. A minimal definition of feedback takes into account the configuration of a system, provided with input and output, in which some kind of transformation occurs, where the output is connected (fed back) to the input after a delay. A feedback process is characterised by circular causality: in such a configuration, effects are also causes, and there is a mutual relation between them.


I consider the development of a feedback system a form of experimentalism that puts an emphasis upon the process of composing rather than its final result. Sound forms emerge from implemented relationships, as a sort of by-product of the compositional process. It is also a compositional model that has a focus on the agency of the materials at use in artistic production (in this case, the processuality and performativity of computational media). From this perspective, the computer is viewed as an experimental machine that allows to rapidly sketch a system, set it in motion and observe its behavior. The interplay between myself and the systems I develop could be understood as a form of complicity that requires proximity and entanglement. 


I'm especially interested in the coincidence between process and form, which is characteristic of feedback systems, and in understanding the artistic implications of this material approach to composition. This discourse may also be contextualised in the more general field of dynamical systems.

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

feedback stuff

in progress

CK91v1 @ Lydgalleriet, Bergen NO