Aleph Earth

COLIN IVES with ZACHARY BOYT and THOMAS NEWLANDS
+ NEW YORK POLYPHONY


(VIDEO NOW PRIVATE)


Music: Lamentationes Jeremiae Feria V by New York Polyphony
Visual Production: Artificial Intelligence Creative Practice Research Group

Peñalosa’s Lamentationes Jeremiae Feria V is a highly structured composition with almost mathematical rigor. Performed here by the acclaimed vocal quartet New York Polyphony, the work is a setting of the purported poetic reflections of the Prophet Jeremiah on the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. It opens with Jeremiah weeping at the abandonment of God, and while there is no promise of deliverance, the very act of lamentation is a profound statement of resilience. The music overlays Jeremiah’s despondency with an aura of hope and humanity that speaks to the potential for revitalization.

This visual project is based on finding a methodology appropriate to complexities at play in the music both in terms of composition and emotional expression of the work. The starting place was to reflect on how the Lamentations speak to our contemporary times. The sense of ruin and loss evoked the climate crises and we found the idea that the lament could provide a way forward in the face of hopelessness compelling.

We developed a machine learning approach to generating the video — matching the highly ordered vocal composition. The AI model we used analyzes a sequence of video and abstracts patterns it finds within it. Once the model has been trained it can generate new video based on those patterns. Then we developed a method of visualizing the complex interplay of the voices of the quartet. This allowed us to “seed” the AI model so that as the video was being generated it was reactive to the voices. The process was volatile with any element in the sources, training or voice visualization radically shifting the results. Our hope is that you’ll find this reciprocal approach resonant and evocative of New York Polyphony’s rich performance.

Lamentationes Jeremiae Feria V appears on New York Polyphony’s BIS Records 2019 release Lamentationes.


Artificial Intelligence Creative Practice Research Group:
Principal Creative: COLIN IVES
Visual Coding: THOMAS NEWLANDS
Sonic Data Coding: ZACHARY BOYT
 
COLIN IVES is a media artist and Associate Professor in Art & Technology at the University of Oregon. Ives’ creative practice operates within a nexus of overlapping cultural categories, including art, technology, and ecology. He uses technology never as an end in itself, never an unexamined tool, but a chance to reflect, examine, and reveal aesthetic and cultural substructures. Across a diverse range of work, including media installation, kinetic video sculpture, sculptural objects, and interactive screen-based work, he explores how our digital tools are not only changing our capabilities, but also our worldview. His work has been shown in the context of international exhibitions such as International Symposium of Electronic Art and the Microwave International New Media festival in Hong Kong. His project Wave Scribe was included in the 2019 Portland Biennial at Disjecta in Portland Oregon.

ZACHARY BOYT is a composer and multimedia artist residing in Eugene, OR. His work explores the musicality and performance of data-driven instruments and data sonification. He holds degrees in Cello Performance and Music Technology from Western Michigan University where he specialized in gesture-sensing technology applied to traditional string instruments. Currently, Zachary is pursuing a DMA in Data-Driven Instrument Performance at the University of Oregon where he builds, composes for, and performs with new digital instruments. His music performance and research have been presented internationally at conferences and venues including EMM (Electronic Music Midwest), SCI (Society of Composers Inc.), EABD (Electroacoustic Barn Dance), SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States), FMO (Future Music Oregon), KISS (Kyma International Sound Symposium), and Festival Cultural Zacatecas. Recently, Zachary has co-founded Ramificaciones, a new media arts collective based in Zacatecas, Mexico.

THOMAS NEWLANDS is a developer at Glowbox living in Portland Oregon. A recent graduate of the University of Oregon, they received a BFA in Art and Technology. Their work is primarily in interactive media, creating meditative experiences in videogames and extended reality. More recently this practice has veered into messy applications and characterizations of artificial intelligence and computer vision. They have worked on projects shown at the Kala Institute, A MAZE. / BERLIN, and XOXO’s Arcade.



NEW YORK POLYPHONY

Praised for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts,” (National Public Radio) New York Polyphony is one of the foremost vocal chamber ensembles active today. The four men, “singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure,” (The New Yorker) give vibrant, modern voice to repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to cutting-edge compositions. Their dedication to innovative programming, as well as a focus on rare and rediscovered Renaissance and medieval works, has not only earned New York Polyphony two GRAMMY nominations and wide acclaim, but also helped to move early music into the classical mainstream.

New York Polyphony tours extensively, participating in major concert series and festivals around the world. Noteworthy engagements include debut performances at London’s Wigmore Hall and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, residencies at Dartmouth College and Stanford University, concerts under the aegis of the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht (Netherlands), and the European premiere of the Missa Charles Darwin—a newly commissioned secular Mass setting based on texts of Charles Darwin by composer Gregory Brown—at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.

New York Polyphony is:
GEOFFREY WILLIAMS: COUNTERTENOR
STEVEN CALDICOTT:
WILSON TENOR
CHRISTOPHER DYLAN HERBERT:
BARITONE
CRAIG PHILLIPS:
BASS