Across the Great Divide / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Across the Great Divide

Human - machine improvisations

19 - 21 October 2012
Upper Stage
A three-day event on the intercourse between humans and machines in music improvisation.
Live performances: 18 € | Concs 10 €
Lectures & screenings: Free admission
The last 30 odd years have seen two parallel developments with respect to improvisatory musics. First theorizing about improvised music has coalesced around the consideration of the ways in which improvisation serves as a potent site for the creation and mediation of assorted identities, both personal and shared. In this Improvisation Studies often foregrounds improvisation’s social and political potentials, its ability to mediate extra‐musical information, and the role it plays in greater cultural movements concerned with the contestation of assorted cultural, social, and artistic assumptions and paradigms. Such approaches stress improvisation’s essentially dialogical and intentional nature. Second, there has been concerted effort made to produce machine systems that can improvise, and/or the use of digital technologies to aid improvisers. Such attempts, which require great ingenuity and knowledge w.r.t. machine systems, the analysis and perception of music, musical cognition, methods of sound capture and dispersal, and complex learning algorithms‐‐let alone the expression of a particular theory of improvisation via code‐‐have produced impressive results, both as feats of engineering and as examples of creative music making.

Is there perhaps a tension lurking here, between the essential social nature of improvisation on the one hand, and the creation of improvising machines on the other? Have improvising machines become social creatures? Do, or should, we treat them this way? Have creators of improving machine systems achieved the holy grail of machines that manifest intentionality? Or, alternatively, have they shown us an alternative way to conceive of intentionality in collective improvised music making? Has the notion of an improvising body been dissolved away, or enriched? Have we found new ways to model improvisational reasoning, or is something crucial missing in such software? Is the code for such software akin to a musical score, or is it a vehicle for mediating the code‐writer’s intentionality? Should we fear improvising machines, as so many do a future awash with robotics, or are improvising machines such that we can enter into community with them? These and related issues will be addressed at this major event, incorporating, lectures, discussions, workshops, demonstrations and performance.

With the support of:



Friday 19 October

21:00 - Performances

Medea Electronique / The Koumaria Residency improvises Across the Great Divide
Oracle Bones Trio (Pauline Oliveros / Carole Ione / Miya Masaoka)

Saturday 20 October

10:00-18:00 - Lectures

Session A - 10:30-11:30 - Peter Nelson & discussion
Session B - 12:00-13:30 - Nick Collins (Listen & Learn) / George Lewis, Danae Stefanou (Philosophical issues)
Session C - 15:00-16:30 - Gerard Assayag (OΜax) / Ellen Waterman, Anastasia Georgaki (The Body)
Session D - 17:00-18:00 - Pedro Rebelo, Iannis Zannos (Notation, data)

18:30-20:15 - Demo / Workshops

18:30-19:15 - Electroacoustic Music Laboratory
19:30-20:15 - Iannis Zannos

21:00 - Performances

Ζημens (Live Electroacoustic Music Ensemble)
Gerard Assayag & Danae Stefanou
George Lewis / Evan Parker

Sunday 21 October

10:00-13:30 - Lectures

Session E - 10:00-12:00 - Michael Young, Thodoris Lotis (Social/ Individual) & Ellen Waterman performance
Session F - 12:30-13:30 - Round table & closing: Eric Lewis & Arnold Davidson

17:00-20:00 - Workshop with Pauline Oliveros for music therapists

Monday 22 & Tuesday 23 October

10:00-12:00 - Workshop with Eric Lewis

21 - 23 Oct 2012



Music workshop for children with physical disabilities