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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: © The Author(s) 2021. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
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