Why does this piece need to happen on the Internet?

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Why does this piece need to happen on the Internet as opposed to a performance in a more conventional space?

-- Finding Time (ftime@somewhere.org), February 27, 1999


From a certain perspective, traditional performances may be said to be the product of a confluence of musical, social, and political forces converging in a specific moment in time. I would argue that this is true of all music, whether improvised, notated, or part of an oral tradition. The performative aspects encompass the relationship of audience and performer, the social and economic forces that circumscribe the work, and the ways in which the music engages discourses around identity, aesthetics, class, and agency.

In this project we are trying to find that moment on the Internet; to probe what such a moment would be. We take as a starting point that such questions, and the ways in which network structures and data states inherently exist in multiple times, are potentially interesting. In particular, the discourse around collaboration through the Internet has become one of its greatest marketing strategies, most often in the context of commerce, but also in collectivist movements (i.e. the Open Source projects) that challenge fundamental structures of economic formation. Arts communities need to ask such questions, and contribute to the larger debate: What can this network do? How may we be a voice in this debate? and How can our participation help us rethink our own practices, as composers and performers?

-- Jesse Gilbert (jgilbert@mail.wesleyan.edu), February 27, 1999.

The motivation for creating this piece grew from a desire to utilize the already existing international network of communication that is the Internet not for the novelty of the medium, but as a means of clarifying and personalizing what exactly the system is. In a sense, we have set out on an experiment to help us and others better understand what the potential of the system may be. We have chosen to start relatively simply. A single voice on each of the inhabited continents. No expanded pretense to "Linking The World," or making even a "World Music," (I'll try to address the notion of World Music later), but just a basic musical event shared with players and viewers in vastly different geographical locations. The choice of having players on each separate continent is as much a symmetrical aesthetic one as it is a statement of world union. The world is not linked to the Internet, quite obviously. However, there currently are individuals connected to the system in almost every part of the world. By expressing this, through the medium of music, we hope to call attention to a new dimension of possibilities.

The first phone call was not made just because writing letters had already been done, or even just for the sake of doing something new. And likewise, we are not claiming the end of geographic simultaneity in music, nor do we want to pursue this endeavor merely for the title of pioneer. In terms of justification, if one is necessary, it is enough to say that the process that we are setting up will yield a result that could not be achieved through any other means. Thus, in order to arrive at the final sound we are seeking, the ends justify the means. In this case, the means, and their potential significance, hopefully also justify the end. More expanded steps towards international collaboration. A deeper pool of perspective to share and draw from for the world of composition and improvisation, and, in particular, the world where those two elements blend. The establishing of a non-commercial network, exchange, and eventually, community of artists of many different mediums, cultures, and philosophies. It is currently happening. This is just another link in the evolutionary chain, and we are all excited to have the opportunity to be here to see it happen.

-- Scott Rosenberg (scottrosenberg@hotmail.com), February 27, 1999.


-- Fred Knurk (fred@home.com), March 12, 2000.

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