Do Digital Monkeys Inhabit Virtual Trees?

for L-system Digital Sound Synthesis

“The development of an organism may […] be considered as the execution
of a ‘developmental program’ present in the fertilised egg.”

(Lindenmayer A. – Rosenberg G.: ‘Automata, Languages, Development’, 1975)

The fundamental concept behind this piece is emergence, or how a complex organism can grow and evolve in a structured environment according to its genetic predisposition. The piece itself is conceived as a constantly developing, purely synthetic musical organism. This organism is designed as a complex dynamical system whose structure develops over time. The model is implemented with a hierarchical network of Lindenmayer systems – a generative algorithm invented to model the growth of plants and muliticellular organisms. The DNA of this musical organism is embedded in the L-systems as a set of compositional and transformational rules; genetic algorithms are used to evolve these rules over time. The L-systems control a granular DSP engine in a multitude of different levels by generating a constantly varying number of musical agents with hierarchical relations that move, act and interact with and within their environment. The behavior of the agents is used to develop the initial musical seed causing complex contrapuntal patterns to emerge in all the time-scales of the composition.

The piece was awarded an honorable mention at the Gaudeamus Music Week in 2007.

(read more about the research behind this piece here)

Year: 2006
Type: Fixed medium
Description: 2 ch. sound for l-systems digital sound synthesis
Duration: 10’38”
Materials/Media: Sound, speakers
Software: stm.modular (Max/MSP)