A(rt)Life 2.0

(collaborations with Larry Yaeger)

A(rt)Life is an installation series that reveals the emergent dynamics of artificial life systems through digital animation and music. The projects used the boids flocking concept by Craig Reynolds (1995). His work was based on three "steering behaviors:" separation, alignment, and cohesion. These became the organizational elements from which the music was developed.

This project runs through the combination of two software applications: OpenSteer, which contains all of the code to animate the flock, and Max/MSP to translate all of the flock data into sound. Max/MSP hosts four instruments: a sine wave generator, a custom FM synthesizer, a variable pitch sine wave generator, and a basic FM synthesizer. All of these offer enough input parameters that flocking data from a boid (an agent or "bird" in the flock) can be used to craft unique tones as a result of its flight. Due to the amount of data, it is important to work with fairly simple synthesis schemes. These rather basic, individual waves act as components in a more complex sonic texture constructed through a kind of additive synthesis. The result is satisfying both musically and conceptually, as it reflects the idea of complexity from simplicity, which was one of the qualities that initially drew me to work with a-life systems.

A(rt)Life 2.0 audio recording

See the A(rt)Life project site online