Input -> Process (‘black box’) -> Output-as-Input -> Process -> Output-as-Input-> … (and so forth).
Feedback – diverting the output of a process or system into its input – is an extremely powerful and intuitive tool for generating fascinating, complex and dynamic sounds and behaviors, and for designing interactive, reactive, or participatory works. This workshop is meant as a systematic induction into the ‘science of the black box’: it teaches participants to comprehend, modify, and design feedback systems for the creation of exciting new sounds, instruments and pieces.
The workshop revolves around three integrated axes: theory, technique, and hands-on experimentation:
- Participants are introduced to concepts, theories, and the artistic / scientific / technological contexts of feedback.
- Specific artworks and systems function as starting points for demonstrations and technical how-tos, exploring ideas, techniques, process chains and strategies from these works. We will consider feedback primarily from a musical point-of-view, but also expect to be confronted with examples from other artforms and nature.
- Exercises and small assignments provide the fundamental building blocks and inspirations for further exploration. Participants are encouraged to sketch and demonstrate their own, personalized systems, instruments, or pieces, based on what they’ve learnt.
The workshop is built modularly so as to encourage personal experimentation and combination of components that each participant finds most exciting to use as inputs or processes: acoustic (e.g. instruments and spaces), analog electronics (e.g. mixers, mics and amps, pedals, etc), or software (examples will be given with Reaper as a DAW, PureData as a representative of graphic-flow programming, and SuperCollider for text-based programming; however participants are free to use any software they want).
The workshop is meant for composers, musicians, sound and media artists, as well as for tinkerers or enthusiasts. Bringing instruments, audio hardware, laptops – or anything you might fancy using during the workshop – is highly advisable. No prior knowledge is required.
Feedback is a dialogue between maker, performer, audience, environment and/or system. The motto for this workshop is: Assemble the components; devise the rules; discover the music!
Past workshop dates and venues
December 13-14 (in Spanish): MARCO – Museum of Contemporary Art Vigo, Vertixe Vigo 2014 festival (ES)
April 15 (in English): Creative Music Technology, Falmouth University Falmouth, (UK)