I happened to stumble upon this piece named Automatic Orchestra while I was browsing the internet for algorithmic or computational compositions. It is basically an audio installation, orchestrated by networked machines and people. Students from the University of the Arts, Bremen and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design created the setup, which consists of twelve pods, each with a controller attached to speakers. All pods are wired together to form a network transmitting musical data. Therefore the data travels through each unit before it is passed on to the next one. An interesting part of this project is that each pod will interpret and alter the same data that has been passed on based on its individual algorithmic rule set, which is like having their own personalities as instruments. So the music takes on different qualities depending upon the artist who programmed it. In contrary to the immediate impression of “computational music” that feels very robotic and cyber, this piece has some humanistic attributes that adds an extra point of interest.


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