Perturb is an open, generative system of distributed musical authorship. Engaging in this work simultaneously enters one into the roles of listener, performer, and composer. To perturb is to interact—to introduce changes that ripple through and are received by a system. In "The Tree of Knowledge," biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela write that, "Every ontogeny occurs within an environment; we, as observers, can describe both as having a particular structure such as diffusion, secretion, temperature. In describing autopoietic unity as having a particular structure, it will become clear to us that the interactions (as long as they are recurrent) between unity and environment will consist of reciprocal perturbations." In Maturana and Varela's terms, there are two ontogenetic unities—a swarm algorithm and you.

When you introduce a sound to the environment of this work you make a perturbation. The swarm acknowledges this input and adapts its internal structure accordingly. Swarm dynamics, in turn, perturb the environment, and create the music that currently surrounds you. Upon hearing this, your internal structure shifts (memory, sense of humor, musical curiosity, etc.), and you are left to consider how you might respond to this newly altered environment. What perturbation will be your reply?

Sound material is to be provided by those who visit the piece. Join in the performance with your own short recordings, samples, soundscapes, and found sonic objects.

Bring a USB "flash" or "jump" drive and add your own sounds by copying them onto to the desktop of the Perturb computer. MP3, WAV, AIFF, and SD2 formats are accepted (sorry no AAC/.m4a from iTunes).