Coming Together: Cityscapes

A collaboration with Simon Lysander Overstall

A multi-agent system in which musical and video agents negotiate to create an audio- and video-scape.

Given a database of audio and video recordings of cities from around the world, agents communicate with one another and negotiate their way through the archive to arrive at a single clip. As with other “Coming Together” works by the first author, it is the negotiation that is of artistic interest: the movement from apparent chaos to unity.

Five loudspeakers present the initially random audio recordings, granulated, and heavily filtered through selected EQ bands. Visually, a single screen displays five slices of the selected videos in greyscale, with separate colours highlighted, thereby analogous to the equalized audio recordings. Videos are drawn from parallel sources as the audio recordings.

setup

As the negotiation occurs, the five separate audio and video tracks align to present a single cityscape. Once this is reached, the viewer is rewarded with some added ear and eye candy, and then the system resets, and begins a new negotiation.

Below is an example work in progress, a ten minute screen grab.