Performance for twelve dot matrix printers and personal computers, ASCII text compositions, network server, microphones and sound system. 30 minutes.
Symphony #1 for dot matrix printers transforms obsolete office technology into an instrument for musical performance. Twelve early-1990s era dot matrix printers become musical instruments; their computers, connected together by a local area network, become the orchestra used to play them. The ‘local area network orchestra’ reads from text-file scores made up of letters of the alphabet and other ASCII symbols which, when printed, create the textures, tones and rhythms of the music. The conductor of the orchestra is also a computer: a network server which conducts the orchestra via serial commands allowing precise coordination of the musical timing. The sounds of the printers are amplified using an array of microphones and reproduced live through a powerful sound system.
Symphony #1 for dot matrix printers was created by [The User] with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.
Concept, design & construction: [The User] - Thomas McIntosh and Emmanuel Madan.
Software: Thaddeus Thomas, ReDada software.
Electronic engineering and manufacture: David Ozsvari.
1999.09 Honourable mention, Digital musics section, Prix Ars Electronica, Linz Austria
1998.10 Telefilm Canada Prize, Canadian New Media work, FCMM Festival, Montréal QC Canada
1999.06 Sónar Festival, Barcelona Spain
1999.05 Théatre L’échangeur, Bagnolet France
1998.12 Théâtre de la Cour des Arts, Ottawa ON Canada
1998.10 Rencontres de musiques actuelles, Usine C, Montréal QC Canada
1998.10 FCMM Festival, Montréal QC Canada
“…Some of the year’s finest electroacoustic sounds. … [The User] extend Kraftwerk’s mission by inhabiting mechanised conceptual space rather than mocking it from a distance.” — The Wire, London 1999.12
“Le cri primal des imprimantes… Pour célébrer la révolution numérique, quoi de mieux que ce pied de nez à la course au progrès technologique?” — Libération, Paris 1999.09.24
“The grinding yet pure harmonies and funky line-feed percussion of these machines was unlike anything we have heard before.” — Mute, London 1999.10
“Pendant près de trente minutes, les imprimantes vont sonner et swinguer comme de la «vraie» musique instrumentale, avec rythmes, graves, consonances aquatiques, respirations et envolées lyriques. Incroyable d’entendre comment une technologie dépassée, l’imprimante matricielle, détournée de sa fonction première, génère cette techno industrielle, lancinante et mélodieuse.” — Libération, Paris 1999.05.28
“The piece hints at the commercial, inbuilt obsolescence principles which drive so much technological innovation and development. At the same time, it highlights the ‘junkyard’ ethos which drives so much technological music, which advances as much by the reappropriation and misuse of decrepit machinery as by the application of new tools. In turn, the machinery is reborn when it is put to service performing new and previously unimagined functions.” — The Wire, London 1999.10
“O certo é que, seja qual for a perspectiva com que se ohle para esta obra pioneira, o resultado é música, com ritmos, harmonias e ambientes próprios de um escritório com vida.” — SON sexta-feira, Lisbon 1999.10.15
05/19/2010[The User] is very pleased to be opening the 11th edition of the Mutek festival in Montréal with a rare performance of the Symphony #2 for dot matrix printers.
Wednesday 2 June 2010, 8 pmMonument national, Salle Ludger-Duvernay 1182 St-Laurent www.mutek.org