Category Archives: SuperCollider

Tara Rodgers – Butterfly Effects (2007)

Album cover for Butterfly Effects by Tara RodgersA four-channel, generative composition in SuperCollider. Its structure is derived from behaviors of migratory monarch butterflies and inspired by the “butterfly effect” concept of chaos theory, which suggests that the flapping of one butterfly’s wings can cause significant changes in how a weather system unfolds over time. Custom software, real-time generation of 4-channel audio, open-ended duration.

Project Details

Butterfly Effects was awarded a Frog Peak Experimental Music Prize (2006) and the New Genre Composition Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music (2007).

A four-channel computer music composition made in the programming environment SuperCollider, with a generative structure that unfolds unpredictably and differently each time it is executed. Its structure is derived from behavioral aspects and ecosystem dynamics of migratory monarch butterflies and inspired by the “butterfly effect” concept of chaos theory, which suggests that the flapping of one butterfly’s wings can cause significant changes in how a weather system unfolds over time.

Each synthesized sound event represents either a butterfly behavior (like flying or clustering), or an environmental condition (like wind or sunlight). All sequences of sound events result from the interdependence of fluctuating elements in the whole system. SuperCollider code becomes a poetic as well as a functional programming language, as data objects that are created and destroyed reference the life cycles of living things. Although the composition generates indefinitely, most sound elements cycle through in a 24-minute period (where each minute represents one hour in the synthesized environment).

Butterfly Effects has been presented at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland; Mills College, Oakland (CA); Galerie B312, Montreal (QC); Santa Fe (NM) International Festival of Electroacoustic Music; Harvest Moon Festival, Concordia University, Montreal; Wild Information Network outdoor installation, Catskills (NY); and at academic conferences in Portland (ME) and College Park (MD). It has played as a 4.1-channel installation (preferred), as stereo playback in a concert hall and through headphones, and as a stereo installation outdoors.

Documentation

Artist statement about Butterfly Effects in Leonardo Electronic Almanac (2006)

Tara Rodgers, Butterfly Effects at Stamp Gallery, 2012

Butterfly Effects installed at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, August 2012, part of the solo exhibition Patterns of Movement: Data and Sound Works, 2005-12.

Tara Rodgers, Butterfly Effects code excerpt, 2007

Excerpt of SuperCollider code for Butterfly Effects, Tara Rodgers, 2007

Stream or download Butterfly Effects on Bandcamp.

Tara Rodgers – Resolutions (2008/12)

Image of Resolutions by Tara Rodgers, Stamp Gallery, 2012

Tara Rodgers, Resolutions, at Stamp Gallery, 2012

A self-portrait in which a recording of the artist’s voice speaks pixel data from a digital photograph. This piece explores how self-representations and lived realities are rendered by processes of digital encoding. Color information contains racial and ethnic genealogies; wrinkles and blemishes from age and stress; light, shadows, and dust from a transient time and situation. For all that it captures, digital encoding also leaves much out, or otherwise alters the details of lived experience.

Color information is read from each pixel, left to right across the image, one row at a time. The end of each line is marked with a breath. This 30-minute audio excerpt represents a small area of the forehead.

Digital photograph, custom software, stereo audio, unknown duration (30 min. excerpt)
Photo by Abe Doherty, Oakland, CA, 2006; custom software created in 2008; audio re-recorded in 2012.

Stream or download Resolutions on Bandcamp.

Tara Rodgers – sand, snow, breeze (2012)

A series of audio-visual compositions using digital photographs and computer-generated noise to represent landscapes and weather events. RGB color data from the photographs are converted into filtered brown, white, and pink noise using GraphicConverter and the programming environment SuperCollider. A touch of postproduction is done with an FMR Really Nice Compressor and a Moog MF-101 Lowpass Filter. Sound selections and data mapping choices are crafted to evoke the place and experience in the photographs.

Brown Noise / Sand (2005/2012)
1 digital image, custom software, stereo audio, 15+ min.

BrownNoise_Sand.jpg

A single digital photograph of a rock on the beach, taken on Block Island, RI, ca. March 2005; reduced in size to 40×30 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are used to shape a granular synth that processes and filters a segment of brown noise. Pixel data are read left to right and top to bottom across the image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. A small area of sand is expanded to 16 minutes of granulated brown noise.

White Noise / Snowstorm (2008)
10 digital images, custom software, stereo audio, 10 min.

WNsnow_600w

Time-lapse digital photographs, 1 per second for 10 seconds, taken from a window during a snowstorm on Ile-des-Soeurs, Québec, 10 Dec 2008. Images are reduced in size to 20×15 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are converted to filtered white noise, reading left to right and top to bottom across each image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. 10 seconds of snow are expanded to 10 minutes of white noise.

Pink Noise / River Breeze (2009)
10 digital images, custom software, stereo audio, 40+ min.
PNbreeze_600w

Time-lapse digital photographs, 1 per second for 10 seconds, of a tree by the river on a windy day, Ile-des-Soeurs, Québec, 21 May 2009. Images are reduced in size to 20×15 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are converted to filtered pink noise, reading left to right and top to bottom across each image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. 10 seconds of breeze are expanded to 40 minutes of pink noise.

Stream or download Sand, Snow, Breeze on Bandcamp.

Photos of White Noise/Snowstorm and Pink Noise/River Breeze installed at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, August 2012, part of Tara Rodgers’s solo exhibition: Patterns of Movement: Data and Sound Works, 2005-12.

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