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Making Machinima "Singularity" Cyborg Short Film: Futurist Music

artificial intelligenceMaking Machinima "Singularity" Cyborg Short Film: Futurist Music

As a composer, like any creative individual, one finds that there are phases in the artistic life. While perhaps not something as obvious as a "blue" or "atonal" period, I find that I may be embarking on a more mature journey as an artist, both creatively and in output. Perhaps this is partially due to the complexities of everyday life that prevent me from spending ten hours straight cutting and splicing audio clips from an equal number of hours spent in a university library taping vinyl record snippets. Now creation takes place in short, focused spurts, based less on inspiration and more on free time. And this is where my journey has changed. 

Whereas in the past I required inspiration to create anything, just anything at all, even if the end result sounded like the death of a mechanical hamster, 
now I find that I can rely on technique and years of experience to create the sounds I want quickly without wasting time with experimentation. 


Singularity, premiered this week as part of the Vox Novus Circuit Bridges Concert, is part of this new period of mine, one that I find delves into futurist theories of technology. While I have always dabbled in science fiction, from early acoustic works about apocalypse to numerous video works on aliens and surreal space,  I find that my fascination now lies with future technologies, of what may be in a few decades, of those inroads into the imagination that will forever change the First World and further isolate those still struggling for clean water and a bowl of rice. 

Singularity: The point in time which accelerated technologies will cause a runaway effect in which artificial intelligence will supersede human intelligence and control, forever and irreversibly transforming society. 
Estimated year of Singularity: 2045. Enjoy your humanity while you can.

mohawkI created Singularity using a combination of Moviestorm machinima software technology and Poser, a simple animation program (or at least simple compared to programs like Maya and more advanced animation software). Because my computer is old by computer terms, and Poser had many rendering glitches, I utilized my screen capture function to record in real time the female dance figure. Using Final Cut, I combined three versions of the film from Moviestorm, each with a different filter - Harsh Black and White filtering, comic book hatches, and "colored pencil" which allowed for some light coloring. I combined the three versions in Final Cut, layering with different effects to create images that looked more hand drawn than digital. I am still experimenting with this process, and think that it is a more effective look than the more complex color palette used for my machinima opera Libertaria: The Virtual Opera. 

The music was created with my family running around the dining room - the inconvenient location of my home studio, thus simplicity trumped complexity in its overall sound. Mixing in text-to-speech ramblings on the technology Singularity, I endeavored to create a simple soundtrack that would provide some mood and motion to the ideas presented...ideas about our humanity when artificial intelligence morphs with flesh leading to a new type of human that may be more or less man/woman or machine. While the ideas are far-fetched and great fun for those in speculative science fiction, there are real movements like the 2045 Initiative that is enacting real dollars and research into those ideas that may now seem something out of a comic book.

To be frank, beyond this spurt of works, that include a social media opera collaboration, an upcoming virtual jazz concert, screenings of Libertaria, and another showing of Singularity, I foresee a short break in creative output, not for lack of ideas, for I have a half-finished novel on my laptop and can feel the rumblings of a new cinematic work in my mind, but because real life often takes unexpected dives and turns and flights that cannot be planned or understood or imagined. In any case, perhaps I can continue to share my work via blog if I cannot share my yet unwritten work.




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