Paper: “Das Lied von der Nerd: Informational Improvisation in Bay Area Network Music”
By Edward Breitweiser 2012
Abstract: In a step toward elaborating a theory of creative improvisation grounded in chaotic play and informal exploration, this paper will examine the network music of The League of Automatic Music Composers and The Hub. Uniquely situated to appropriate contemporaneous developments in personal computing, network technology, and radical social thought – all of which were significantly informed by information and communications theories – these Bay Area musicians cultivated musical and social structures that brought traditional relationships (composer/performer, ensemble member/individual agent, human/machine, network/node, sender/signal/receiver, etc.) into a gestalt informational model of improvisational performance. Through elaborately designed DIY assemblages of networked personal computers, electronic instruments, and data and signal chains, they pioneered the use of digital tools to sonically illustrate the complex nuances inherent in the newly-arrived world of high-speed human-computer interaction, networked data exchange, and bio-mechanical feedback within ever- expanding systems of social and political culture. Cast within a larger artistic traditions of improvisation, traditional musical ensembles, information art, and computer music, the output of these ensembles will be analyzed as “network-as- art” in which works of art are invoked through the medium of formalized systems of organization based upon user feedback, nodal agency, and dynamic metastructures.
Edward Breitweiser is a Chicago-based artist, musician, and writer. Notably, his works have been displayed or performed at Festival MusicAlp (Courchevel, France), the Illinois State University Galleries (Normal, IL, USA), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, USA), Schubertiade Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Salle Cortot (Paris, France), threewalls (Chicago), and the Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice, Italy). Recent collaborations include Project Cabrini Green (2011), a public light installation led by Czech artist Jan Tichy, and New Atlantis (2011), an online virtual sonic environment developed by artists from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, lʼEcole des Beaux- Arts dʼAix-en-Provence, and Locus Sonus. He is currently completing his MFA in Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.