Flock and Flou

Georgia-based Jason Freeman is in the vanguard of artists creating unique fusions between musical composition, performance, and interactive media. He's developed a number of unique network-based sound projects and his iTunes Signature Maker (a 2006 Rhizome Commission) secured him a solid slice of internet fame by providing users the tools to create a sonic snapshot of their identity, according to the makeup of their MP3 collections. In two new works, Freeman continues his playful exploration of audio culture, in the context of human/computer interaction. Flock (2007) is a piece for a saxophone quartet. The musicians, a group of dancers, and even the audience are invited to mingle on a dance floor and an overhead computer system monitors people's proximity and sends real-time notation instructions to the saxophonists. The music they play is, then, determined live by the environment, and that space is enhanced by projected animations that visualize the sound. Between the camera-triggering lights on performers' heads and the jellyfish-like videos, the entire scene has a beautiful "enchantment under the sea" vibe. Flou (2007) (pronounced "flew"), a Turbulence commission, brings similar conditions into a virtual environment. In this web-based projects, visitors fly through space, as if in a video game, and their navigational interactions with the objects there add effects and loops to a constantly evolving audio mix. Users can also create their own Flou spaces, to share with other users--a sonic spin on social networking. - Marisa Olson

Image: Jason Freeman, Flou, 2007