06 01/10

Mixed Musics

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media


Hi, a new year has started and I want to welcome it with a short reflection about hybridity. This concept is perhaps the most common idea to describe digital media. Hybrids are often the result of either two machinic principles: the assemblage and the remix. A hybrid is an individual resulting from the combination of other individuals. One key characteristic of this process is that it keeps some features of the original beings into the offspring. They usually exhibit these features on its surface. However, once a hybrid is closely observed it also shows that the inner processes belonging to its parents have also been hybridized. In media it means the languages and the techniques of production, surface and subface.

The picture above exhibits for instance, a digital photo taken by me of a guadual mixed in GIMP (an image processor) with a pattern I did in Processing. The process is quite simple: four superimposed layers with different kinds of colour blending.

Music is plenty of examples of hybrids, on September 22th, I enjoyed in Bogotá a concert given by Headphone, a group of music students from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia that fuses music with visual arts and dance. During the concert I got particular interested by the work of Andrés Montero, whose piece ‘Colombia Electrónica II’ combines a Gaita (link in Spanish) with an electronic console. In this piece he made use of one single gaita which sound was been live recorded by the console. The electronic console fixed the sound and then released it while it was recording the following sound made by Montero. After three minutes or so the musician was accompanied by a chorus of Gaitas produced by his inputs on the electronic machine and the feedback of this. The traditional music of the Colombian Caribbean was suddenly mixed with the electronic folklore of loops and feedback. This type of assemblages are called Mixed Musics [1], and happen when different traditions to produce art pieces converge in the same machine to be hybridized.

  1. Bejarano Calvo, Carlos Mauricio. A vuelo de murciélago el sonido, nueva materialidad. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 2006.