It's a time of "desire
Curt wrote to Annie :
“I did some last minute tests, and the system is very strange. I tested it by receiving the feed on two different machines, and both of them were out of synch with each other. We both knew that my send would be out of synch with what I was receiving (by as much as 4 seconds), but I thought whatever I received would be uniform from one machine to the next. But that is not the case. Once the browser starts receiving the feed, it begins its own caching and pausing which happens locally on that hard drive and is not necessarily bound to the live stream. Fortunately, both receiving machines were fairly close to each other, and they never got too far out of synch with each other. But I only tested it for about 10 minutes.
Prior to this test, I had considered hooking my headphones up to one machine near me with a receiving browser window and a sending browser window; then broadcasting into the gallery with another machine with a receiving browser window. But now it is apparent to me that I will have to hook my headphones up to the very machine that is projecting into the gallery, otherwise I will be listening to a slightly different mix than the one in the gallery.
And of course, either way, the mix I’m listening to will not be the same as the mix you hear in the gallery over there.
All very curious. For the listener online, it doesn’t really matter if their browser occasionally lags, because they just continue watching and listening where they left off. But for us, it matters a great deal, because we are not just passively receiving. We are actively monitoring. What we hear (and when we hear it) directly effects what we send down the line in the very nex t moment. Which should make for a unique kind of collaborative improvisational composition.
Hypothetically, we could just each “broadcast” our own sound without listening to the other person, but there would be no collaboration in that approach. The way we are doing it (listening to each other) means we are performing a kind of improvisational music composition. But the compositional structures will probably be very chunky instead of fine and granular. Because we don’t have the luxury of being “in” the same time, and so much traditional composition is based on the assumption that the performers have the luxury of being in synchronized time. So our compositional variability (changes/differences) will have to be based on blunt phases (loud/soft, complex/simple, monotonous/erratic, acapella/instrumentally-accompanied, etc.) Who knows what others we will develop. Each of these phase shifts can be initiated by either of us. We will just have to be attentive to the each other. And these phasings in and out will be sluggish and gradual, because we share a time with each other that is similar, but not exact.
We have given ourselves enough “time” to negotiate and explore this odd timescape. It is a time of “desire” (we only remain in it as long as we want to). And hopefully our changes will be motivated by desire rather than by mere “musical innovation.” In other words, we will change what we are doing not because we want to “entertain” anybody, but because we are personally bored and we desire to do something else, or because we are communication with each other and we desire to connect, or because we are curious, or because we are following a flow to see where it leads, or whatever. And we can’t change the melody or the lyrics. We can only change the affective things that we can change. So we have taken most of the “elements” of music (rhythm, melody, harmony) and rigorously modified them. But I think the performance will still wind up functioning as a piece of music (at least in some sense, although that won’t be all it is doing).
And of course our faces will be doing whatever they are doing, but that will be a residual effect. We will be attentive to the audio and not as attentive to the video. Usually in new media art it is the other way around (visuals first, then audio as residual)."
Todays tests went really fine!