Newsletter: Sonified Body at Present Futures

Hi everyone

I hope your 2021 is allowing a bit of optimism to creep in behind the curtains. I’ve been burrowed away for most of 2020 working on a few projects.

The first of these, a AI-driven audio-dance project Sonified Body launches this Saturday – please see below for your invitation to the online live event. (TLDR– See note below about ticket sales which close at 1pm on Saturday)

The second, which I really hope is a cause for optimism, is that in a few hours longstanding project Cave of Sounds will once more open as a physical exhibition.

Divine Tasinda dancing in the studio with Sonified Body during a research and development lab

Sonified Body – Live online event this Saturday

This Saturday at 8pm I’ll be sharing a new work Sonified Body as part of the online Present Futures festival.

Sonified Body is a system to the moving body into sound in real-time. Together with old-time collaborator and AI research Panagiotis Tigas, we’ve been exploring the use of unsupervised AI models to automatically analyse how a body moves. Throughout the process, we’ve been exploring ways to relinquish intentional outputs and instead allow elements of the work to emerge as a kind of negotiation between the body and the AI model. We haven’t told the model what kind of movements should be considered interesting or beautiful, but simply trained it by having it watch me improvise movements in the studio each morning.

This Saturday we will debut the new system with a number of improvised performances that we’ve recorded with dancers in an exploratory residency. This will be alongside a talk about the work and a Q+A.

Sonified Body is my first large scale project in about four years. We’re about 6 months in and this is very much a work-in-progress demonstration but I’m excited about our results so far. It would be lovely to see you there.

Time: Saturday 6 Feb 2021, 8pm GMT More details: Tickets:

As it’s part of the festival, tickets are for the day (£4/£6/£8 based on what you can afford). Please bear in mind that day ticket sales close 2 hours before the first event of the day, i.e. 1pm on the Saturday. Drop me a message if you’d like guestlist (which in today’s world comes in the form of a Zoom link 🤩) but I recommend checking out the festival programme as there is some great looking stuff.

Sonified Body has been funded by Creative Scotland and created in partnership with Preverbal Studio. It is produced by Feral and mentored by Ghislaine Boddington.

Cave of Sounds - interactive sound installation by Tim Murray-Browne and members of Music Hackspace, exhibited at Athens Science Festival 2018. The interactive sound installation is shown here with many participants playing the different instruments. Photograph by Anastasia Alekseeva. (c) 2018 Tim Murray-Browne.

Cave of Sounds IRL exhibition

I’ve been in discussions with the Museum of Discovery in Adelaide, Australia about exhibiting Cave of Sounds since mid-2019. We had originally planned to travel and build the work in May 2020 for exhibition from July 2020 to Feb 2021. This was already an engineering challenge as the work is full of electronics, bespoke software and opportunities for people to poke and prod things. We’ve always had a maintenance team on standby when showing it previously.

When the reality of the pandemic started to hit last February/March, we were well underway with production. To their great credit, our friends in Adelaide stuck with us and have scheduled the exhibition to run from 2 Feb 2021 until Nov 2021, but with the added challenge of doing the install without anyone present who had even seen the work in action before. It’s been a lot of work, but so far everything has gone to plan.

It’s a gentle opening as there are plenty of social distancing regulations (something Cave of Sounds happens to be compatible with due to its octopus-like shape). And we sadly had to drop the mask from Joker as controllers that touch your face are still not happening again for a while.

I have no idea when the borders will open for Australia, and I don’t think many people on this list are in that vicinity, but if you know anyone in Adelaide then drop them a line.

I’ve been quiet in my online communications the last year, such as this newsletter. Maybe there just seemed to be enough going on online anyway. But more things are afoot so watch this space. And if you’re into Top 10 lists, then here are mine from 2020.

Tim Glasgow, 1 Feb 2021