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Christopher Willits

The blinking rhythmic loops in glider and longship are the result of simple rules that generate complex behaviors. Using max/msp, I designed a self-contained network of IF [ ] THEN [ ] ELSE [ ] clauses. If the input passes through the gate, it expresses a MIDI note value within a prescribed key signature. Therefore, the activity of the computation determines rhythm and tonality. In longship, the MIDI output triggers a Roland Juno106 keyboard; whereas in glider it controls a processed QuickTime instrument.

Both pieces emerge from the same system, but gain their personality from different variables within the IF [ ] THEN [ ] ELSE [ ] clauses. This small adjustment alters the pattern/rhythm of the network. The audio output of both processes was recorded onto 1/2 inch tape and then edited and mixed into the final structure using ProTools.

The emergent behavior of this network is similar to Stephan Wolfram's definition of class II cellular automata: an automation that evolves to a fixed finite size, forming loops that repeat indefinitely (1). Here we are speaking of an ecological model: much from little, complexity from simplicity.

1. S.Wolfram, Rev Mod Phys vol.55 no.601 (1983).