Fieldwork is a software environment for improvised performance with electronic sound and animation. Two musicians’ sounding performances are fed into the system, and analyzed for pitch, rhythm, and timbral change. When the software recognizes a sharp contrast in one performer’s textures or gestures, it reflects this change by transforming the sound of the other musician’s performance. As a result of this process, the musicians are not only responding to one another as in conventional improvisation, but they are also able to directly modify their duo partner’s sound by interacting with the software. Fieldwork emphasizes rapid, glitchy, and polyrhythmic distortions of the musician’s performances, and establishes unpredictable feedback processes that encourage unexpected improvisational relationships between the performers and computer.
Performed by Amanda Schoofs (voice) and Christopher Burns (guitar) on October 27, 2011, as part of the Unruly Music festival, a co-production of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.