(H)earring #19

Ágoston Nagy [Binaura]: SONGLINES

Songlines is a musical game with a tribute to visual music notation, improvisation and songlines. The behaviour of the two agents are based on reinforcement learning, they learn from their environment. They are seeking food provided by your touch, while trying to keep distance from the auto generated dark objects. What they see and percieve from their surrounding is the sonic instrument itself. The unfolding paths and labyrinths resemble a minimalistic algorithmic representation of their presence in their world, constructing songs based on their moving lines.

A songline, also called dreaming track, is one of the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) within the animist belief system of The First Nations People of ‘Australia’, which mark the route followed by localised "creator-beings" during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional song cycles, stories, dance, and art, and are often the basis of ceremonies. They are a vital part of Aboriginal culture, connecting people to their land.

At the end of each musical composition, a small statement can be read about the cultural references of songlines. What is interesting in these thought fragments is that they begin with a sentence written by a human then a transformer-based artificial language model, based on the GPT-2 model by OpenAI, intakes this partial sentence and predicts subsequent text from that input. This method creates a dream-like contemplation based on co-authorship, where written human words and thoughts are amplified by autonomous, non-human procedures.

Songlines will be exhibited online alongside several other non-human intelligence works of art at the spring Unfolding Intelligence Symposium organized by MIT The Art and Science of Contemporary Computation. The lecture performance presented in the frame of e-Trafó series introduces not only the work but also other methods from the practical areas of algorithmic design, sonification and creative coding.

Presenter: Ágoston NAGY
Moderator: Andrea KOVÁCS
Co-operation partner: Let it Be! art agency

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