Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Orleans ICMC

Lots of interesting pieces at the ICMC this year in New Orleans, and a good showing by UIUC, yeah! Of particular interest was a presentation by Dan Trueman of Princeton, on his experiences with PLOrk over the past year. Their ensemble is made of 15 people all on laptops, sitting on cushions, kind of like Indian classical music. Typically they have an arc of 9 players in the back, a row of 4 in front and a row of 2 in the center. Each player's computer is wired to a hemispherical speaker on the floor, and sometimes they use vocal mics as well (horrendous feedback potential).

One of the issues they have to face is, how to devise something to do for all 15 players? This is an issue I would like us to think about as we keep making pieces. Typically we're only using one or two laptops at a time so for now we don't need to worry so much, but even so I want us to think harder about the role of instrumentalists and how they can best work with laptops, and vice versa. And especially, what is the role of the laptop operator? Are they babysitters? Pressing the spacebar for cues? Interacting with the performer? How much can the instrumentalist directly control the computer? What's the role of live electronics vs. pre-recorded soundfiles? Etc. etc.

Good luck on your final projects, and see you on Thursday!

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