AI-Powered Chamber Music From Carmen Menza Triggers a Series of Spellbinding Projections
Some artists look beyond the tech-fueled paranoia posited by Black Mirror, choosing instead to see an elastic future full of limitless possibilities. Carmen Menza, an interdisciplinary artist based in Dallas, creates immersive public installations that explore how human connection keeps pace with rapidly changing technologies.
Performed last year in Dallas with members of the city’s Symphony Orchestra, Carmen’s Negotiating Dialogues is an algorithm-powered chamber work for clarinet, viola, cello, vibraphone, and spoken word poetry. Blending elements of sound, light, video, and machine learning, Carmen reflects on the future of human connection in the 21st century. “In Negotiating Dialogues I wanted to explore how our dialogue with one another is evolving in light of technological advances in communication,” she says. “What might be the future societal impact of these technologies?”
Created in collaboration with Mark Menza, Eric Farrar, and Joel Olivas, Negotiating Dialogues relies on improvisation and reconstruction of the original score to underscore the changeable nature of communication technologies. The music, written for both live and recorded players, triggers a series of spellbinding projections that envelope audience members in a cocoon of cosmic imagery.
“Now, our conversations with others also include conversations with machines in the form of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI),” Carmen says, going on to suggest that AI needn’t tear us apart through surveillance and baked-in human biases. “Kristian Hammond, a professor of computer science and journalism […] speaks of a future world where we could record our memories and then share them with others. If I could plug into someone else’s memories of racial profiling or discrimination, then would that increase my ability to empathize? Could we as a human race increase our understanding and empathy to create a better world? Think of the dialogues we might have then!”
Scroll through for a selection of images from performance day, then listen to “Negotiating Dialogues” here or via the SoundCloud player above.
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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