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Music Performance in VR: Performance Environments
VR is the future. What does this mean for music performance? What kind of stages and spaces can we conquer, which instruments do we imagine? Which body language do we speak in the virtual?
We will create virtual performance environments which are spaces or instruments or hybrids of both. They can be playful, crazy or dead serious. You will either work towards implementing an environment using Unity 3d or make a visual concept of it.
Hybrid systems: sense, store, send
We will develop connectable SW/HW modules to serve a variety of world making purposes to further blur the boundaries between fixed production, installation and live performance by human and machine assemblages.
GenComp Fachklasse
Themenschwerpunkt dieses Semester:
“SOme MOre Parallel, Orthogonal, and Diagonal realities"

gemeinsam mit den LVs
* Code Experiments,
* Hybride Musiksysteme,
* Audiovisual Programming,
* Music performance in VR, und
* space, environment and context.

Wir empfehlen, an mehreren dieser Kurse teilzunehmen.
Terminal Magic #0
OS X / Linux terminal. vim text editor. LaTex typography. Imagemagick image file manipulation and conversion. ffmpeg audio-video processing. vlc & gstreamer multimedia streaming.

And little bit of HTML & CSS programming (i.e. web-design).
Code Experiments: Some More Parallel, Orthogonal, and Diagonal Realities
In model worlds, the options for causality are:
- parallel -> causality remains, content differs.
- orthogonal -> predictable <--> random
- diagonal -> mixed between the two cases
We will study these by live coding and data streams in multiple topologies.
- Performance/installation in Zilina/Slovakia (June),
- Daily radio show at Savvy gallery (June/July)
- Installation/performance NoVilla (June-Sept)
Audiovisual Programming: Digital Harmony
We will try to unite realtime computer graphics with synthetic sound using the softwares Unity and SuperCollider. The goal is to try many different techniques and each week build a little interactive composition that explore the relation between image and sound.
The course will be will be taught in English and will be easier to follow with a bit of background in computer programming. Bring your own laptop!
space, environment and context: gestures and scores
In how far is meaning related to context? Our point of departure will be the pioneering works of conceptual artists and composers of experimental and electronic music in Europe and in the US, such as Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, Christina Kubisch, Alvin Lucier and Dick Raaijmakers. Students will explore different methods of creating scores for their own work. There will be some reading required. The course will be held in English.
Code Experiments: Ars Combinatoria, Exploration, Transformation
In this semester, we will read texts by Ramon Llull & Peter Cariani, and build little systems based on their ideas, in order to study how combinatorial systems can be invented and applied; how they allow to explore possibility spaces; and how and when they transform our understanding of the worlds they create.
Hybrid Systems:
Permutatis permutandis
Ramon Llull builds a whole world explanation system upon permutations of divine categories. Peter Cariani observes that permutation is the most common way to create novel things, ideas or artefacts; but only _very_ rarely will categorically new things emerge that extend the alphabet of available primitives to permute.
In our semester course we want to look at these phenomena from our (computational) artistic practice: How do we bring together unforeseen things in our imagination? Aren't our software tools the optimal recombinant machines?
Audiovisual Programming - Discrete Structures
The theme this semester is patterns - both in sound and in graphics - both in time and in space. We will experiment with rhythm and repetitive melodic structures in music, build worlds by arranging simple objects in 3D and in general learn how to code algorithms that generate interesting patterns. Unity and SuperCollider are the software we will focus on and the course will be will be taught in English. Bring your own laptop and headphones.
space, environment and context - collection and distribution
For a version of David Tudor's Rainforest - a collaborative environmental work - students will collect sounds over the course of the semester. Assignments will include creating collections of audio recordings and finding resonating objects that can serve as loudspeakers for the final installation. The course includes excursions to a foley studio for film (Geräuschemacher) and to the Berlin Phonogramm Archive.
Virtual Reality Club [installations, instruments, rules]
How will the future VR club be like? What does VR offer to a club experience? How do we interact, share, feel, organize in virtual spaces? Which aesthetics do we apply?

In a four day block course we will look at the challenges of rethinking a shared experience (clubbing) for VR and create a small Unity project each that deals with the physical space, virtual musical instrument, virtual installation or concept for interacting or sharing knowledge in virtual space(s).
Klasse Generative/Computational Art
Semester Topic: Ars Combinatoria, Exploration, Transformation
Ramon Llull, Giordano Bruno, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ... Georges Perec, Les Oulipo ...
Peter Cariani, Margaret Boden ...
Winter Semester 2017 Students
space, environment and context – brain waves
We will work on a realization of Alvin Lucier’s seminal piece "Music for Solo Performer" for amplified brain waves and percussion instruments.
Along the way we will look at different versions and investigate which aspects of the original idea can be transformed and further developed to create new work.
Handmade Electronic Music – hardware hacking
Assuming no technical background whatsoever, this intensive four-day workshop guides the participants through a series of sound-producing electronic construction projects, from making simple contact microphones to building circuits from scratch. The emphasis is on constructing inexpensive but versatile electronic tools that fill the gaps in computer-centric music production.
Audiovisual Programming – WATER DOME
The City of Augsburg boasts a unique system of water supply channels, hydraulic plants and water towers from the 15th century.

We will develop a flagship project for Augsburg’s Lab30 Media Art Festival: an Audiovisual Essay that renders hommage to this cutural/technological partimony.

Limited capacity - please register quickly via email !
AI and future virtual worlds
Artificial intelligence is currently discussed broadly amongst the tech and art communities. What is the state of the development?
What is AI, where is it used and where will it be used soon?
In this course we model virtual worlds (sonic or visual) and look at the meaning of AI for future applications and worlds.
Hybrid Systems - The Tree of Life of Art&Technology
Re-dis-covering the origins of our highly sophisticated computer & SW arts practice, we move along it's 'Tree of Life' - the history of electronics and IT from the rudiments of plain electricity all the way to modern soft- and hardware.
Transformative Matter
Der interdisziplinäre Workshop „Transformative Matter - Mapping Architecture`s Spaces“ geht an drei Tagen Intensivworkshop der Frage nach, wie architektonische Entwürfe auf neue, sinnliche Art in räumliches Erleben übersetzt werden können. Wie tragen Materialität, Sound, Licht zu einer Raumerfahrung bei, die über den herkömmlichen illustrativen Charakter von Ansicht, Schnitt, Grundriss hinaus eine sinnliche Raumerfahrung simuliert. In Zusammenarbeit von Architektur, Design, Film, Sound sollen während des Workshops zweidimensionale Entwürfe im Raum erfahrbar gemacht werden. Die Ergebnisse der Zusammenarbeit werden als räumlich-erlebbare Exponate am 11. und 12.7 im Rahmen des Salons des Fachgebietes Digitales und Experimentelles Entwerfen ausgestellt werden.
Performance Environments
“Nil humani alienum puto” - nothing human is alien to me
In this course we build virtual creatures and their habitats. We will read texts from the fields of Phenomenology (the study of our experience) and Epistemology (the study of knowledge) and Xenobiology (a form of biology that is not found in nature).
The course can be integrated with Anne Wellmers course “sonic immersion”, in a way that the soundscapes students create in Anne Wellmer’s course can be applied to the virtual creatures and worlds.
Generative Kunst / Computational Art
Der Themenschwerpunkt "Artificial Individualism & Coded Collectivity" wird gemeinsam mit den Seminaren Code Experiments; Hybride Systeme; Audiovisual Programming; Space, Environment and Context; und Performance Environments fortgeführt und vertieft. Deshalb empfehlen wir ausdrücklich, mehrere dieser LVs zu besuchen. Weiters wird der Besuch von Anita Jori's Leseseminar "Vampyroteuthis infernalis" empfohlen.
Code Experiments
Artificial In/Decision Making and Coded Collectivity

"Only those questions that are in principle undecidable, we can decide." Heinz von Foerster, Ethics and Second-Order Cybernetics (1991)

Decisions are difficult in many ways: Individuals almost never know all relevant context, and thus have to decide based on incomplete knowledge. Groups need to decide together about things that concern them, and need ways of negotiating diverging interests. Artificial intelligence is often applied to provide expert analyses, in order to find and justify decisions that hopefully seem reasonable.
In this course, we will study communities of creatures, and make computational models of possible ways they make decisions, and the ways they organize their collective activities. Starting from an existing network installation piece* will allow us to proceed quickly to complex experiments.
These studies will inform a larger group project: Creating a complex installation of hypothetical deep sea creatures, inspired by the philosophical/biological fiction "Vampyroteuthis Infernalis" by Vilem Flusser & Louis Bec. While this course focuses on the interactions of such creatures, the individual aspects are being explored in the parallel Hybrid Systems course.
Hybrid Systems
Artificial Individualism & Coded Corporeality

Departure point for this course is the recent network installation UTopologies* with it’s eight futuristically shaped objects/agents set up in our class room. These have raspberry brains, microphone ears, express themselves by sound and light, while being in constant interaction with each other through a LAN network. In the course of the semester, we will breed more and more individualized specimens, with new and different body shapes, limbs and organs, motoric and perceptual talents, memory, learning ...
While individual form and behavior are modeled one by one here, the social behavior patterns that emerge from the interactions of these individuals are the focus of the parallel seminar Code Experiments.
Audiovisual Programming
The invention and development of simulation devices gives space to ambiguous interpretations of the ontological nature of simulation itself: Cembali were invented as a mechanical simulation of a lute, pianos simulated cembali, synth keyboards simulated pianos, …, each time focussing on the emulation of the previous, yet almost inadvertently opening up unforseeable possibilities that extended the known musical spectrum.
Space, Environment and Context
How do you listen to languages you don't understand or to sounds you cannot place in context? Students explore different modes of listening to create their own sonic landscapes and immersive sound environments. Using the voice, field recordings, electronically generated and modified sound or a piece of paper and a pencil, sonic miniatures will be created that can stand for themselves but that also can be integrated and further explored in other projects, from 3D virtual reality to deep sea underwater worlds.

Along the way we will discuss pionieering works by composers of experimental and electronic music, such as Maryanne Amacher and Pauline Oliveros. The course includes some reading, listening, sound recording and sound editing.
In dem Entwurf sollen die Prinzipien von Resonanzkörpern für architektonische Anwendungen analysiert und Konstruktionen mit digitalen Fertigungsverfahren weiterentwickelt werden.
Im Rahmen eines studentischen Workshops sollen 1:1 Prototypen gebaut werden, die als Knotenpunkte in diesem Netzwerk agieren. Der Workshop ist eine Kooperation zwischen dem Lehrstuhl für Digitales und Experimentelles Entwerfen (Prof. Palz/Pfeiffer), Generative Kunst (Prof. de Campo) und der Designtransfer Galerie der UdK Berlin.

Zu Anfangs des Semesters werden wir anhand von kleinen, praktischen Aufgaben in die digitale Modellierungsumgebung Rhino/Grasshopper und den Umgang mit CNC Werkzeugmaschinen (Lasercutter, etc) einführen. Vorkenntnisse sind nicht notwendig. Interessierte Studenten der Klasse Generative Kunst sind herzlich zu dem Workshop eingeladen.
“Vampyroteuthis infernalis” - the vampire squid from hell
The vampire squid inspired the cultural theorist and philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920-1991), who dedicated his book “Vampyroteuthis infernalis” (1987) to his (bio-)artist friend Louis Bec (1936-2018). This philosophical fiction brings us into the everyday life of this animal – as the ultimate “other” from a human perspective – and analyses different phenomenological events of human life and the links between animality and embodiment.
During the seminar, we will learn about biological taxonomies and take a closer look at the artificial taxonomical system of the “Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste“, founded by Louis Bec and devoted to “studying the incapability of living things to understand their own existence“.
Hybrid Systems: Sensor and Sensibility – Does it make sense?
In "Sensor and Sensibility", we focus on "in time" data aquisition strategies, from the conceptual levels down to the hands-on-work of designing and building interfaces and sensing devices, be it for your next DIY-digital-music-instrument, for installations responsive to air pollution or for a CV system that reacts on frowning faces of passersby: make sense, bring in your own project and realize it!
Computational Sound Art : Artificial soundscapes and room tones with Steno
Based on Steno, a "little language for spinning long strings of synths", we explore approaches and technologies to create and manipulate artificial soundscapes and room tones. Participants will create performance systems of highly interconnected sound synthesis networks, possibly integrating sensing elements from the course "Sensor and Sensibility" by H. Hoelzl.
Dates: 31.10., 1.11.: 10-17h
21., 22., 28., 29.11: 13-17h
audiovisual programming: Simulation of Natural / Field recording in latent space of feature vector
The Turing test gives us ability to investigate the simulation of intelligence. NN algorithms used in modern AI methods demonstrate very advanced level of simulation of different natural activities including activities which involve the solving of cognitive tasks. The success of Turing test depends on intellectual capacity of observer (lower intellectual level of observer gives more successful results for AI system in Turing test). Our task is gonna be the investigation of nature of simulation of NeuralNet. But rather than simulation of cognitive activities we're gonna simulate natural sonic environments and produce "field recording" which place can be easily found with precise coordinates in latent space of sonic feature rather than in real world. Why not to use some technologies that has in its name two words like "Artificial" and "Intelligence" to produce something that looks and sounds not artificial neither intelligent. Let's have Turing test for listener.

Dates: 18.10., 25.10., 8.11., 24.1., 31.1.
Computational Art class meeting
Im Plenum bringen alle Teilnehmer:innen Ideen, Skizzen, aktuelle Arbeiten in Zwischenstadien und interessante Arbeiten aus verwandten Gebieten ein und diskutieren soe.
In den Einzelbesprechungen diskutieren wir Konzeption und schrittweise Ausformulierung und Realisierung von generativen, interaktiven Systemen, Instrumenten, Installationen, Performances, und erproben mögliche Lösungswege.

Plenum Di 14-17h
Einzelmeetings Mo/Di nach Vereinbarung
Generative Kunst / Computational Art
Semesterthema: Absolute Advanced Basics

Plenary meeting: Tuesday 14-17h

Individual meetings: Mon+Tue by appointment
Code Experiments: Back to the Future Voices

We dedicate the Code Experiments class to expand the FutureVoices online radio project, which continues until Jan. 2022. We will:
create campaigns to invite more contributions and expand our database
compose new pieces/movements for the stream
invite guests to compose movements as larger contributions
organize "takeover days" with members and guests
devise strategies to document the project

Dates: April 14, 28, May 12, 26, June 9, 23, July 7
Code Experiments: Core elements / Absolute Advanced Basics
The practice of creating sound and music with computers is informed by knowledge from many domains: physics, psychoacoustics, psychology, musical culture, sound synthesis, just in time programming, and sonification, among others.
We will revisit the core elements of these bodies of knowledge in simple practical experiments, thus cultivating the sharing of working knowledge between participants.

We will focus on investigating the questions that arise together; any question can become the kernel of a little study piece, and may well turn into an idea for something larger; for instance, a playable instrument based on sensors; a reconstruction of a piece from the canon of computer music; or building blocks for complex synthesis.
Hybrid systems: Silences, Soundscapes & Sonoaviatics
Recurring lockdown conditions worldwide make many activities difficult or impossible, thus silencing the foreground. This allows us to redirect our attention to the emerging "backgrounds", in effect, "Turning Up the Quiet”, toward phenomena that were there all along, but were not deemed important enough to register consciously. We will:
- Find, record, document newly emerging silences/still atmospheres (soundscapes)
- Think, discuss, consider: How to create quiet atmospheres ?
- Experiment: record, analyse, recreate, synthesize and stage them
- Move into "empty" environments and gracefully explore their acoustic niches with
Sono-aviatics - (the art of letting sounds fly in the air) and Dracosonics (the art of flying sound kites),
e.g. at Tempelhofer Feld and newly closed Tegel airport

* Ivan Lins, Gilson Peranzetta, Paul Williams, Love Dance (1988)

Dates: April 21, May 5, 19, June 2, 16, 30, July 14
space, environment and context: gestures and scores
In how far is meaning related to context? Our point of departure will be pioneering works of conceptual artists and composers of experimental and electronic music in Europe and in the US, such as Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, Christina Kubisch, Alvin Lucier and Dick Raaijmakers. How does each of these artists understand the world and describe the creative process?

Students will explore different methods of creating scores for their own work. There will be some reading required. The course will be held in English.

oct 17, nov 14+15, dec 12+13, jan 16+17, feb 6
Fachklasse Generative Kunst /Computational Art
Thema: Artificial, Natural & Hybrid Intelligences & Stupidities

Im Plenum werden Ideen, Skizzen, aktuelle Arbeiten in Zwischenstadien und interessante Arbeiten aus verwandten Gebieten eingebracht und diskutiert. In den Einzelbesprechungen werden Konzeption, schrittweise Ausformulierung und Realisierung von generativen, interaktiven Systemen, Instrumenten, Installationen, Performances diskutiert und mögliche Lösungswege in Skizzen erprobt.
Code Experiments: Artificial, Natural & Hybrid Intelligences & Stupidities
Artificial intelligences raise both great expectations and fears - what are they good at, where do they fail, what are the potential benefits and risks?
We will read current essays on these topics, and build little systems that set up communication between humans and machines, in order to explore simple forms of hybrid intelligences (or stupidities).

Beside creating individual pieces based on them, these experiments also provide ideas for evolving the behaviors of the creatures that form the UTopologies/Deep Sea network installation, which will be on show at State Studio Gallery during the semester.
(image: xkcd)
Hybrid Systems: - ALCHI - Artificial Life Care for Hybrid Intelligences
What forms of dialogue arise between a communicating ensemble of electronic bodies and a group of humans over a long time?
During this semester, we have the rare opportunity to foster, nurture, and groom an existing family of hybrid intelligences, created for the successful DeepSea exhibition for ctm Vorspiel.
The network of algorithmic objects will be installed on public display at State Studio Gallery during the semester: as a work-in-progress, we are invited to reconsider behavioural and aesthetical aspects of the existing bodies, create new spin-offs (in cooperation with Christian Schmidts from UdK's Architecture Department) and integrate autonomous objects into the network.
Neural Bending: Artificial Embryogeny
In the next iteration of Neural Bending we're gonna focus on the concept of Artificial Embryogeny. The modern concept of AI uses metaphor of neuron as a main computation unit while in Artificialembryogeny the metaphor of genome is chosen as a core element of the concept. Using such biological poetic in computation practice we'll try to cross-breed neuron with genome (even if it sounds ridiculous from biological point of view)
space, environment & context: sound walks
we explore different approaches and technologies to site specific work by Christina Kubisch, Max Neuhaus, Janet Cardiff, Justin Bennett and others. Participants will create sonic miniatures and collectively compose a sound walk.

During the first meeting on friday 12 april 14:00–16:00 the exact course dates will be fixed. The course will take place in 6 sessions of 4 hours each, on Thursday and/or Friday afternoons. An additional session on live radio is planned with Udo Noll, creator of the platforms Radio Aporee and Miniatures for Mobiles.
Exploring AI
We will discuss different elements and current topics around AI, students will bring and develop their individual project
and will be guided in the process. VR projects are encouraged but not a must.
Credits will be given, if a project is completed and documented with 5 images, a text and a short video before the end of the semester.
space, environment and context: (noise and) silence
Apart from the absence of sound, what does the word "silence" mean in different contexts or in different languages? Which expressions or synonyms do we have available to describe silence? John Cage (1912–1992) published a collection of lectures held between 1939 and 1958 in his book called SILENCE in 1961. In the spring and summer term of 2021 we will read texts from this book and use some of Cage's strategies to create performance lectures of our own. Assignments will include taking a walk, the search for noise and silence, and telling a story.

new course address


former course projects
GANerative GANomaly for GANsters
Since Generative Adversarial Networks became a mainstream idea in various fields of research in Deep Learning as well as in art, so for this semester we're planning to focus on exploration of such highly contagious technique of data synthesis. Besides the GANdrotuction into basics, we're gonna explore the limits of what can be done with GAN beyond using traditional GAN techniques in visual and audio domain. Warning: Yes, we're still gonna use Python, so it's good to have your fingers be prepared for coding.
Fachklasse Generative / Computational Art
The semester topic is "Hyper/dis/connectivism", and will be addressed from different perspectives in the courses in our context.

Individual meetings Mon 10-18h, Tue 10-14h be email appointment

Plenary meeting Tue 14-17h online, at or (fallback)
Code Experiments - Hyper/dis/connectivism
Proponents of the current algorithmic revolution promise large benefits from "smartifying everything", from household things like fridges to cities.
- Who exactly benefits from which new smart systems? 
- What exactly is being newly connected and how? 
- Which unconnected systems would be worth trying to connect? 
- Which things are or will be connected but should not? 

To better understand what becomes im/possible when we connect X to Y, we will experiment with connecting mixed little systems into larger networks. Due to online semester constraints, this will begin with online network music/AV systems, and include other elements (mechanics, sensors, feedback, machine observation) depending on what students have available.
Hybrid Systems: "Just a Moment of Patience"
--¡¡ changed from VDL listing due to current online-teaching condition !!--

What things would we like to grow exponentially?

Where would we be happy if trend curves were un-flattened?

In the Hybrid Systems course, we go viral with a very harmless, but massive data collection, aquiring voice recordings from our social network. Compiling them in a database, we will create algorithms that sequence them into a continuous collaborative sound stream that can become a permanent broadcast: The voice of the multitude.
space, environment and context - changing perspective(s)
"The electrical device essentially differs from the mechanical in that its components do not move. Movement implies freeing oneself from the ground in some way or other." Dick Raaymakers, the art of reading machines (1978 / 2008)

We will use texts and voice, toys and microphones, antennas, computers, generated sound, recorders, radios, and loudspeakers to compose sonic miniatures and sound collages. Every week each participant creates a one minute long piece. Course presenations will take place as a podcast and a radio broadcast. Participants should have a pair of headphones, an interest in creative listening, experimental radio, composing, editing and mixing recorded and generated materials and have basic experience in using portable sound recorders and editing software (daw).

Reading will include Roland Barthes, Lewis Carroll, Christina Kubisch, Dick Raaijmakers, Arundhati Roy and Susan Sontag.
Fachklasse Generative Kunst / Computational Art
Im Plenum der GenComp Fachklasse werden aktuelle künstlerische Arbeiten der Studierenden sowie Gruppenprojekte gemeinsam diskutiert.

Die Veranstaltung wird in diesem Semester hauptsächlich auf unserer
Online-Plattform stattfinden. Für Betreuung in Einzelterminen stehen Professor und Mitarbeiter nach Vereinbarung zur Verfügung.

The semester topic is "Grand Theft Author - appropriate with an attitude!", and will be addressed from contrasting perspectives in the plenary meeting as well in the courses in our context.
Exploring the X: employing the scientific method as a framework to unveil cognitive insights through artistic practices
This seminar takes the scientific method, one of the most innovative inventions humans have created for exploring ideas and constructing knowledge, and applies it to artistic practices of research and production. What are the processes by which we investigate our conscious experiences in art and science? What can these disciplines learn from one another and how can we open up the ways in which we generate research questions and conduct experiments to explore the unknown - the X? Our aim is to investigate the cognitive realm  - our conscious and subconscious thoughts and emotions – using an interdisciplinary methodology inspired by empirical insights from cognitive science and artistic modes of production. Together we will create new modes of experimentation and challenge the notion of the “laboratory.” During the seminar you will have the chance to develop and test experimental paradigms and stimuli. Come with questions, prepare yourself to tackle problems, and enjoy the process.

Dr. Marjan Sharifi will be your guide through exploring the X. She is a highly experienced interdisciplinary scholar and trained cognitive scientist with a PhD in cognitive psychology which she completed in the social neuroscience department of the Max Planck Institute for Human and Cognitive Brain Sciences.   

We will be examining four main themes which we will spread across the core weeks of May and June. The first date, Friday 22 May will be the intro to the course where all the important course information and materials will be shared. The final day, Thursday June 25th, you will be sharing your final projects.

Virtual “Room”:

May 22 12 – 2pm

May 28 12 – 3pm
May 29 12 – 3pm

June 4 12 – 3pm
June 5 12 – 3pm

June 11 12 – 3pm
June 12 12 – 3pm

June 18 12 – 3pm
June 19 12 – 3pm

June 25 12 – 2pm
Audiovisual Programming: Machine learning for the sampledelic
How can a machine hear and interpret music? What patterns does it perceive in the sonic flow and how different they are from human perception? We are going to use machine learning methods for sampledelic reconstruction of pop songs. This time, our aim is to recreate new hot stuff for the empty dancefloor of the party that no one will attend. Let the machine entertain us! (Warning: to speak with the machine we're gonna code in Python!)

The dates are 23.4, 24.4, 30.4, 7.5, 8.5, 14.5, 15.5, 21.5 22.5, 28.5 (10:00-12:00)
Digital Audio Workstation as an Electronic Music Composition Tool

A practical analysis and application of contemporary and traditional methods of electronic music. The course is structured around seven seminars addressing theories, listening strategies, and practices in electronic music through weekly assignments, listening sessions and workshops. Supported by theoretical study of existing works of music and writings by established composers, participants will implement the practices of electronic music composition, create a portfolio with sound installations and perform together via open air class concerts with quadraphonic sound.

– part of a planned weekly series of "Students Teaching Students"–

Boredom and its Contents: exploring the creative, contemplative and existential aspects of switching off
Boredom could be considered the zeitgeist of our Corona-times. The stillness, silences, and empty spaces are all too common these days. More often we try to fill them with attention grabbing stimuli, but what if we did not – what if we instead examined the boredom we feel? This seminar will do exactly that, explore the contents of boredom through how it can offer a space for creative and contemplative thought, as well as existential reflection. This seminar is text-based where we will examine one theme each week with the final week dedicated to a final project presentation. Discussions and activities will be inspired by the dedicated theme of the week, which include: creative sides of boredom as explored through the psychological and artistic perspectives, contemplative thought examined through the practice of meditation and its effects on the brain, and existential reflection inspired by phenomenological texts, in particular Heidegger’s perspective on boredom and its relationship to technology.
Code Experiments - Embodied Intelligences
We will explore embodied intelligences in multiple forms:
Invite artists working with robots as guests & collaborators.

As a case study of embodied intelligences, we will develop a network of small, interacting nodes that use long strings installed in the corridors of the Medienhaus to communicate acoustically. Each node connects to >2 wires by listening and transmitting.

We will invent behaviors for the nodes: How do they interpret what they “hear”? How do they transform this “information” and what do they tell their neighbours about it? How do the wires themselves modify, filter, influence the transmission of these acoustic streams?

In Code Experiments, we focus on the SW side of the project: machine listening, audio processing and signal generation.
space, environment & context - long distance music
In drawing inspiration from works by composers of experimental music such as Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, Maryanne Amacher's City-Links, David Tudor's Rainforest, and Christina Kubisch's electrical walks we explore the resonances of objects, rooms, wires and the building to create a slowly growing sonic playground of resonating bodies. What does it take to turn a playgound into an instrument? Are sonic memories relevant in this context? Course materials will include text and video. Course activities will include wiring up objects with transducers, creating sounds to play them and listening to the U7 as it makes the building shake and resonate.
Embodied Design: how space imprints on the mind

How do spaces we interact in resonate with how we feel, how we think?

The theories of embodied cognition in the cognitive sciences argue for an expansion of the notion of “mind” which at the very least includes the body, and more often includes the spaces we interact in. It is a powerful idea to consider that the way we experience the world can be altered by the spaces we inhabit. That there is a resonance between the design of the space and our thoughts, feelings and dreams. Can we consider designing a space which makes us more empathetic? Can virtual spaces mediate a transition to a “post-body” realm? This seminar is a space to ask these questions about how spaces come to design us, and then in turn how we can use design to design minds. We will examine topics such as the science and philosophy of embodied cognition, such as the extended mind hypothesis and how it has come to influence the field of human-computer interactions. We will consider how embodiment is implemented in art and design by conducting and experiencing (i.e. go visit a James Turrell exhibition COVID permitting) artistic experiments which play with our percepts. We will also consider the field of architecture and its role in designing our emotions.
audiovisual programming - AI'm sitting in a room?
The concept that we learn by interacting with environment is a foundational idea underlying the theories of learning and intelligence. In machine learning beside the methods of supervised or unsupervised learning we can find the approach of reinforcement learning which is based on the agent-environment dichotomy.
The starting point of our experiments will be the fusion of mind-body theories with machine learning and transposition of such ideas into the realm of cybernetic ecosystems. We're planning to create artificial agent which by interacting with real world environment will arise from initial state of protoplasmic randomness into the sculpted awareness of the complexity of the ecosystem in which the agent exists. Through the limitation of its own artificial body and sensory system the agent can explore the environment only on the phenomenological level. But is the machine (algorithm) aware of it's own existence in the certain environment? Or is it aware of it's own consciousness? We try to answer the later questions with the usage of Python code.

18.11 10.00-14.00
19.11 10.00-18-00
25.11 10.00-14.00
26.11 10.00-18.00
9.12 10.00-14.00
10.12 12.00-18.00
Fachklasse Computational Art
Semester Topic: Embodied Intelligences

While discourses around AI oscillate between fears of Artificial Intelligences taking over, and phantasies of universal optimisation, power and control, most current AI systems actually address closely defined problems in very specific domains. They usually represent these problems in symbolic or statistical, mathematical ways, in silico. Concepts of “Intelligence” originally developed from observing and describing living beings, who sense their physical environment, and use their bodies to interact with other beings and things in ways that seem purposeful, hence “intelligent”. Cybernetics began with making technical devices that show such behaviors. What forms of embodied intelligences can we imagine, build little models of, and experiment with, in vivo?

The semester topic "Embodied Intelligences" will be addressed from contrasting perspectives in multiple courses in our context.

Individual meetings: Mon 10-18, Tue 10-14h, by email appointment.
Tutors: Chunli Wang -
Fang Tsai -
space environment and context : texts & voices
By using simple game structures to choose text, write words, copy fragments, quote, combine, recombine existing text, misunderstand spoken words, speak, stutter, whisper, translate, repeat, record, process, programme, listen, remember, we will create sonic miniatures and collaborative narratives and compositions. Participants will explore the possibilities that the Medienhaus recording booth offers by making own vocal recordings and compose with each other's recordings. As part of the course we will create material for S4NTP's Future Voices / Zukunftsmusik.

The course is divided in four online group sessions and three individually scheduled recording sessions at the Medienhaus recording studio. During the first session on 5.11. the individual recording schedule for the rest of the semester will be set up and dates will be confirmed.
Hybrid Systems - Intelligent Bodies

We will explore intelligences of bodies in multiple forms:
Invite artists working with robots as guests & collaborators

As a case study, we will develop a network of small, interacting nodes that use long strings installed in the corridors of the Medienhaus to communicate acoustically. Each node connects to >2 wires by listening and transmitting.

We will invent behaviors for the nodes: How do they interpret what they “hear”? How do they transform this “information” and what do they tell their neighbours about it? How do the wires themselves modify, filter, influence the transmission of these acoustic streams?

In Hybrid Systems, we focus on the HW side of the project: physical installation and tuning of the wire channels, and the points of transduction between the mechanical and the electrical/digital domain.

Hybrid Systems :
Future Voices / Zukunftsmusik (2)
In Hybrid Systems, we will develop this piece collectively in all its conceptual, artistic and technical aspects, adapting and extending the infrastructure for last semester's JaMoP course and project:

• translating the invitations to the languages we speak
• devising strategies for spreading the invitation to the contributors
• building the website for contributions
• creating a starting collection of future messages in the languages we speak
• forming a team for reviewing incoming messages
• creating a variety of sonic generators for composing the stream episodes

Official start date of Future Voices / Zukunftsmusik at ctm/Kontinuum:
17. 01. 2020 art's birthday
Computational Art Theory:
Generative Creativity
Seminar overview: How are creative ideas inspired? Given the rise in using machine learning in artistic practices and design, what is the role of authorship when considering the generation of a creative idea? Accordingly, this seminar will be a focused investigation into the generation of creative thought. It will be a text-based seminar where we will examine one theme each week and have one core text accompanying each theme. Discussions and activities will be inspired by the theme of the week, which include: hyper-realities, dreams, episodic memory, simulation hypothesis, and philosophical/aesthetic questions around using machine learning/Artificial Intelligence in creative practices.

Assignment: During the seminar you will be asked to keep a journal to map how your creative thoughts and (day)dreams are dynamically changing based on the themes we explore. For the final project, you will be asked to create a dream scape from your collected journal experiences by taking the perspective of a machine learning algorithm (to embody the algorithm).
Digital Audio Workstation as an Electronic Music Composition Tool II
A practical analysis and application of contemporary and traditional methods of electronic music. The second part of the course is structured around eight seminars addressing theories, listening strategies, and practices in electronic music through weekly assignments, listening sessions and workshops.
A/V Programming:
Machine Confusion
In recent years we can observe that with the help of AI and Machine Learning we can generate realistic looking images that confuse humans. DeepFakes, GAN based algorithms, Transformers type of AI architectures give us realistic images of a non-existent reality. In many tasks, humans lose while playing against AI. Lee Se-dol while losing against the machine had no options to do a similar gesture as the procrastinating character played by Kurt Russel did in the opening scene of John Carpenter's "The Thing".

For this semester, our aim is to use Machine Learning to develop a Neural Network algorithm that can generate an output which appears realistic for AI. We're gonna explore the plausible aesthetics of abstract patterns which creates a cognitive illusion for machine perception. Let's say we improve Machine Learning to Machine Confusion to make something which is perceived "deep fakeish" from the point of view of AI.

Keywords: AI, Neural Nets, Python, AudioVision, Machine Perception
Hybrid Systems :
Future Voices / Zukunftsmusik
The Society for Nontrivial Pursuits has won the open call for next year's Kontinuum generative sound stream: ctm kontinuum

We will invite people worldwide to give voice to what they expect, hope, or fear for the future. Both radio and internet began as projects for two-way communication – hopes were high that everyone would be given a voice. The radio quickly became a one-way mass medium that played a central role in 20th century dictators grabbing power, while the internet has drifted toward hyper-monetization, citizen surveillance, and extremism. The attention economy embodied in the rating mechanisms of most social media favors loudness and conspiracy theories, creating filter bubbles and digital tribes, while a multitude of less provocative individual voices tends to get lost in this flood... (continued on following page)
Code Experiments:
Grand Theft Author
We will study the phenomenon and practice of appropriation on all levels available to us:
- quoting in scientific writing
- literary techniques like cadavre exquis
- movements&manifests like antropofagismo / tropicalismo
- motif appropriation in music
- audio sampling in modern music
- famously (non-)litigated cases of plagiarism (Guttenberg, Vanilla Ice, The Amen Break by The Winstons)
- Linus Thorvalds, the open source movement, the git / GitHub ecosystems

For group practice, we will scour all available resources of SuperCollider code (help files, tutorials, tweet, scdoc, scsynth, ...) and assemble everything good-sounding in a massive *GTA library*. For compatibility between the pieces, we will design an ultraflexible infrastructure that uniformely digests all the various code snippets with minimal modifications, and makes them all accessible for playing with various interfaces by means of auto-mapping. Or in a different metaphor, we create an ecosystem / environment where all the code can live and communicate with us.

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