Author: Ricardo Dominguez --- Date: 08/14/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Brain Opera
Tod Machover, Composer

Hypermusic for the society of interactivity is nothing but empty noise with a few moments that emerge as something Other. An Other that maybe called the possibility of digital-sound-becoming-something-more-than-itself, something that one day may indeed become a sound that will meet the imaginary of Marvin Minsky’s call for complete downloading of humanity into the hyperdata of the digital mind. The interactive overture in the lobby is little more than a quirky arcade and just as dead--too much sound overlapping itself, with the uniqueness of each sound not being allowed to reach the ear. Which is not a question of too many notes in the score, but too much noise drowning the possibility of individual inter-play and composition with the technology. The instruments are out of a bad alien flick, organic goo, cocoons that glow and tremble at the touch of the unknowing human hand. Virilio’s worst nightmare about the cocoon-effect of a wired culture where the technology plays at being organic and obedient.

The second movement of the Brain Opera allowed the possibilities of Machover’s and the fifty other collaborators interactive musical score to come to the foreground. The process of technological invisibility, speculartity, and composition integrated with the WEB’s connectivity did create a few moments of resonant cyber-hallucinations. Where the enframement of the body became part of the flowing process of invention and composition that allowed for the possibility of musical performance as interactivity. Specifically, the center piece of the of the work where people on-line improvised with the score for a brief 10 seconds. The Brain Opera as manifesto would have achieved something close to its goal if it had allowed not only the on-line people, but the on site audience to participate during the second movement, rather than replaying the same old situation of audience as big immobile ear. In the end interactivity is still about control and hypermusic is about nintendo instruments for tomorrow’s malls and not about tomorrow’s music.

R.R. Dominguez

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Nadia --

far out!

matthew callinan -- sport

matthew callinan -- sport