Will Algorithms Dream of Electric Music?
Friday night, Alexandra Cárdenas put on an algorave performance. What is algorave? It's a gathering where people dance to electronic music created by algorithms.
Algorave moves beyond Aphex Twin's open quest to force algorithms and computers to create his music. Whereas Aphex Twin is interested in recorded music, Cárdenas' and other algorave musicians' interest lies in using interfaces for livecoding, which allows them to improvise a melange of electronic sounds and rhythms in real time with code.
In a sense, algorave music is cyborg music; more so than the usual twisting of synthesizer knobs or multi-touch gestures on interfaces. Algorithms allow artists like Cárdenas to sort of fuse with machines, letting the audience see on projection screens the guts of the livecoding taking place—the union between human and machine.
This is interesting enough, but it raises an interesting question: in the future, will the algorithms behind artificial intelligence become conscious of the music they make? Will they appreciate it? Will they analyze, alter, perfect and destroy their musical creations?
To appropriate Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, will algorithms dream of electric music?
Photo by DJ Pangburn