“The Collected Solo Piano Works of Ferin Martino, as Conjured by Your Presence”

FerinMartinoThis is an interactive art installation using a piano playing computer algorithm I wrote that generates music reminiscent of early twentieth century expressionist composers like Arnold Schönberg. Since the software is capable of generating its own œvre, I gave it a human-like name, Ferin Martino. In this installation, motion of the viewers, seen by the computer’s video camera, influences the intensity of the music created. This creates a situation that lets us reflect on the ontological nature of music: this music cannot be heard without the audience causing changes in the composition. By extension, it offers a chance to reflect on the way that any composer’s music only has its existence in the minds of its audiences, and that the modes of it existence may be as diverse as its listeners. This is an idea suggested by literary theorist Umberto Eco in The Open Work (1962).

This work consists entirely of software and can generate new material practically indefinitely. The fact that the code fits on one screen indicates the elegance of the approach to generating endless music with pleasing results.

Click here for samples.

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