Automata concert

Shows: SPOR Festival at Århus Musikhus May 10 2008, eARTS at Feng Shui Omniscience Stage 18-22 Sep 2008   ·   Partner: Holland House (panorama stage design at earts)

An automata system that generates rhythms using real-time kinetic simulation.

The Nerve project is inspired by a concert composed and performed by Maxime Rioux and his automata orchestra at Western Front in Vancouver BC, 2007. His orchestra consisted of a number of musical instruments suspended from (or resting on) springs. The instruments were oscillated by subwoofer membranes, also attached to springs. The rhythmic patterns that emerge from this kind of system produce an astonishing complexity, at times sounding completely human, even though it is purely mechanical. The Nerve project simulates this phenomenon and integrates it into a generative rhythm machine for live performance use.

The project has been performed in two versions.

In 2008, Nerve was extended with a wind sensor and performed as a giant windchime on a 30m wide 15m tall panorama stage at the EARTS festival in Shanghai. Wind direction and speed was routed directly into the stability parameter of the system while other parameters were controlled manually.

Nerve eArts Poster

Earlier in 2008, Nerve performed at 24-hour contemporary music festival SPOR. Nerve was fully automated and generated rhythms for 24 hours without human interference.

Nerve SPOR 2008 Poster

Every five minutes, the system automatically printed out a graphic score documenting its recent improvisation. Each score was hung up manually in the hallways of the building. At the time the concert ended 288 scores remained as an echo. The audience was allowed to take home the scores as souvenirs.

Nerve Score Print

Nerve Score Photo

The y-axis on the score represents collision distance from the centre on the drum (not pitch). This gives a good indication of the stability of the system.

Nerve Score