The Pale Skin and the Mental Maze (2017)

For digital synth and interactive system

Duration: from 15 to 25 minutes


  • 23-Jun-2017 - Spektrum, Berlin
  • 27-Apr-2017 - BEAST FEaST, Birmingham

The Pale Skin and the Mental Maze deals with intuitive decision-making and the computer's emergent behavior. It is, actually, all about the equilibrium between these two elements. I play a digital synth, designed to be quickly reactive to my spontaneous gestures; an interactive system analyzes my gestures and the sound produced by the synth, and provides a slower and more tangential response. This tangential response is defined by the means of algorithmic composition and provides a sense of self-containment and responsibility for the extemporary gestures. The responsibiltiy of the performer is very concrete indeed, for the interactive system moves through its different phases and evolves only as a response to certain gestures.
Technology is thus used in such a way that is neither an endless expansion of human power nor a passive delegation of intelligence to the machine, but it is a way to achieve a balanced and nuanced dynamic between human instances and machines.
The two outputs -the synth and the interactive system- can be recognized by a trained ear, but this is definitely not the goal of the work, nor is it the visual association between gesture and sound produced. The goal stays within its final acoustic shape. This shape mirrors a continuous exchange between the improvisatory practice and algorithmic structures. Quiet drones, harsh noises, predetermined elements like melodic fragments in just intonation are all subjected to an intuitive sense of duration that shapes the performance and make the gesture indispensable.

This is the full work, uncut and unedited.