This talk is in two parts. Part One is a quick look at some of my projects that have involved simulated systems of one sort or another. Part Two looks at the work of various artists using "real" (read: non-simulated) systems in their work. I'll try to explain a bit about why my own work has moved from being mostly simulation-based to mostly "real."
A nice accident
Tuning (OWT (Optimal Well Temperament))
While this was a fun project (and the kids liked it) I now have some misgivings about the ideas the project was dealing with.
You can download disc-o on the JPMCKDMS Project website.
Andy Gracie/Host Productions: small work for robot and insects
Damien Hirst: A Thousand Years
Edgar Lissel: Bakterium
Marta de Menezes: Nature?
Dave Powell: ArtCats
Yukinori Yanagi: Ant Farm Pieces
Using "real" things often brings up moral questions. That's good.
Data is not abstract in the real world. The source does matter.
Using "real" things gives you a certain amount of richness for free: those ants are particular ants, in a particular place. That place has a history, those ants have a name.
Is context free output really what you want?
Are you just making toys? Is your piece "about" an algorithm? Is there anything else there? What's the difference between an implementation and an idea?
Is a guitar pedal interesting? Is listening to PI interesting? Is a flocking algorithm interesting? Sometimes, but why and when? If you "sonify" a simulated system or a dataset, what are you really doing? Are you really getting to something interesting, or are you just playing with a toy?
These are all issues that I think about regardless of whether I'm working with real or
simulated objects and entities. However, I find that answering these questions becomes more
urgent when working with real things, and that urgency helps me to think more clearly about what
I'm doing and why.