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Strange Posthuman Attractors: algorithmic improvisation as acousmatic poiēsis

Nystrom, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-3628-540X (2021). Strange Posthuman Attractors: algorithmic improvisation as acousmatic poiēsis. Organised Sound: an international journal of music and technology, 26(1), pp. 31-41. doi: 10.1017/S1355771821000030


Contemporary thought is moving away from the notion that the human is a clear-cut concept. In particular, non-anthropocentric views are proliferating within the interdisciplinary area of critical posthumanism, with emphasis on non-dualistic views on relations between human and technology. In this article, the author shows how such a view can inform electroacoustic and computer music practice, and sees improvisation linked with composition as a fruitful avenue in this. Following a philosophical preparation and a discussion of relevant music discourse, two computer music works created by the author are discussed to demonstrate a model of music-making which merges composition and improvisation, based on the concepts of cognitive assemblages and intra-action, following the writings of N. Katherine Hayles and Karen Barad respectively. The works employ techniques related to artificial intelligence and cybernetics, such as machine learning algorithms, agent-based organisation and feedback systems. It is argued that the acousmatic sound domain is an important aspect of sound in this practice. The research is thus situated not only in the frames of improvisation practice and music technology, but also within spatial acousmatic composition and performance.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in a revised form in Organised Sound at This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © the author.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Music
Date available in CRO: 26 Feb 2021 10:17
Date deposited: 26 February 2021
Date of acceptance: 9 February 2021
Date of first online publication: 20 August 2021
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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