The process of creating the improvisation machine has led me to the following core questions related to my work:
How can agency (and perceived agency) be given to an improvisation machine, and how does working with such a machine impact my performance practice as an improvising musician?
1. How is it possible to emancipate the machine from myself during the performance (which is in itself a kind of contradiction, but one which makes the question even more interesting)? How does this agency affect my behavior during the performance?
2. How has the conceptualization of the work, technical preparation, and artistic preparation evolved/changed?
3. During a performance, what are the mechanisms in play that shift my viewpoint of the improvisation machine between viewing it as a separate entity (i.e. chamber music partner) to viewing it as an extension of my body/mind/mindbody (in reference to Hayles and to Clark and Chalmer’s concept of the extended mind)? (1998; 2002)
4. By reflecting upon the impact of the improvisation machine on improvisation performance practice, what creative potential does performing with an improvising machine yield?
5. How are the intricate human-machine relations conveyed to the audience, and how does this affect the audience’s perception of the performance? (authenticity? interest? reflection?)
As the questions posed above are grounded in my own artistic practice, I have approached them with the following practice-based method:
1. Create a new work with the improvisation machine.
2. Perform this work.
3. Reflect upon this work in the form of conversations with audience members and feedback sessions with mentors and teachers (Patrick Müller, Matthias Ziegler). Discussion topics include the following:
- Perceived interaction between human performer and generated sounds and visuals
- Perceived narrative, composition, and form
- Perceived agency of improvisation machine
4. Take the feedback I receive into account, revise/alter the improvisation machine.