As an auditory instrument consisting of an asymmetrical frame that supports a graduated series of cords vibrating in parallel and terminating into a chrysalis – a harp is a natural interface computer for computing emotions into sequences. It’s a process in constant flux, refusing to constrain itself with predictable pathways. It’s a chain of dynamic impulses travelling towards a sonic black hole, the melodic event horizon – the point beyond which all music is noise. It’s a journey without a destination, a butterfly emerging from a quantum simulation.
Cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and generative design are giving rise to new paradigms almost spiritual in their complexity and beauty, at the same time embodying patterns or structures found in nature, thus giving the resulting contraptions an otherworldly or divine quality. Yet this expressiveness is usually muted by the boxy thinking characteristic of technocracy – and this is what the artists Orro and Timmi want to change.
Automata, a self-acting device, appeals as a language for talking about the relationship between determinism and chaos. On the one hand, processes may be fundamentally algorithmic in character and not random at all, yet how that works out depends on the initial conditions, which can never truly be known in advance. Therefore, automata can capture both aspects of complex systems – the determined and unpredictable – in ways that words fail to do. Such moves help us to think through the duality of unknowing and nature’s self-organisation within our lives