The Idea I Thought Of To Be So Wonderful

What is this bigggg Idea?

Composed of 8 sine waves being concurrently sent to 8 different mount points on a streaming server, the Bufferrrbreakkkdownnn Arkestra is an exploitation of the inherent delays related to network performances, art and streaming. It takes this variable delay and sets it against itself, in theory, if all the networks worked at the same speed, we would hear a single sound composed of the 8 sine tones, but in practice, the upstream and downstream time varies causing the tones to break out into rhythms determined by network traffic.

Bufferrrbreakkdownnn Arkestra!

With the advancements in modern day technology, one would not be wrong to think that online bands and jamming sessions between musicians displaced all over the globe would already be a phenomenon. But that isn’t suite the case. Be it the distaste for degraded audio or the inherent delay with network based streams, musicians are still not satisfied with what is on the table currently for an all out Grateful Dead jam with all its members on different continents.

Conformity is my only…

Unsatisfied with only avoiding system and network delays, conventional forms of streaming and the initial ideas conceived for this relatively new medium, I decided the enveloped had to be pushed. How can I take control of a medium as unstable as the internet, exploit its shortcomings, flaws and eccentricities or rather take it further, accentuate them, make them work for my medium, my music, my art.

The Arkestra and its Conductor

The sine wave. The quintessential tone, pure, unaltered and devoid of harmonics. Network traffic. Unreliable, erratic and devoid of consistency. Meet my two new band members and conspirators, as different as night and day. With them, I will attempt to go where no streamer net art practitioner has gone before, together we shall nullify, accentuate and beautify all that has until now been ugly to me – the Network Delay.

Concurrently sending and receiving eight sine tones of various frequencies at the same time to eight different mount points on a streaming server. As with any other unstable medias, the eight tones upload and download at differing rates causing in musical terms, different delay times for each sine wave carving out the eventual piece of randomly generated music infected with broken rhythms, tones and glitches galore.

Taking the stage

Without leaving this new found technique of musical composition as only a form of generative stochastic compositions, I decided to take it a step further by enabling myself to perform with such a setup. Setting up a system where I can connect and disconnect individual send and receive streams, I am able to further manipulate the process, forcing it to glitch as the network buffers overload on the uploads and/or downloads, as well as system overloads caused by reception streams attempting to receive from a stream that has stopped sending. Via such forms of interference with the network, I am able to not directly control musical or control related parameters in the traditional electronic music sense, but rather dictate other non-musical factors which eventually achieves similar ends through completely untraditional means.

Review

“Marcos Destructos (aka Marc Chia, aka One Man Nation) has completed a compelling investigation of data transmission over computer networks with his recent “Bufferrrbreakkkdownnn Arkestra”. The Singaporean musician’s goal is to highlight the role that the delay of data transmission (which depends on the amount of data traffic on each network) has in artistic performances involving streaming processes. To test this, eight audio sine waves files were sent to eight different points of a single streaming server operating system. If the networks work at the same speed, this should have resulted in hearing a single sound formed by the eight original sinusoidal tones – in reality what happens is that the different uploading and downloading times vary considerably. This causes a breakdown of the ideal unique sound, in different rhythms determined solely by the different operating speeds of the involved networks. The imperfections of the medium then become a constituent element of the One Man Nation performance: through a reversal of perspective, the delay (that continues to characterize computer network transmissions – so deprecated by any good performer) is “redeemed” and turned into an aesthetic object characterizing this project.” – Neural.it

Have A Listen

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