At play in the fields of syn­thetic space David Stout and Cory Met­calf

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS -

The works by the NoiseFold artist col­lec­tive — David Stout and Cory Met­calf — con­sist of rec­tan­gu­lar screens full of shift­ing, mor­ph­ing vis­ual phe­nom­ena with a fairly in­de­scrib­able sound com­po­nent. “We pri­mar­ily sonify data that ei­ther di­rectly cre­ates the im­age or mines some part of the im­age for the sound,” Stout said. “The im­age be­comes an in­ter­me­di­ary for con­trol­ling the sound. In some ways, the im­age is an in­stru­men­tal medium or a liv­ing score.” He and Met­calf have done in­stal­la­tions for Cur­rents in the past, but this year they are per­form­ing, on the evening of Satur­day, June 11, in both solo and duo for­mat. The NoiseFold Three event prom­ises to fur­ther demon­strate their ded­i­ca­tion to push the tech­nol­ogy and ex­plore dif­fer­ent tech­niques.

“We have been work­ing on a soft­ware in­stru­ment that we call the nFolder, and this en­vi­ron­ment that we’ve cre­ated is a mo­du­lar sys­tem so that dif­fer­ent mod­ules can be strung to­gether. And it fo­cuses on gen­er­a­tive sound and im­age, and the im­age com­po­nent can con­sist of both 3-D pro­cesses and video pro­cesses,” Stout told Pasatiempo. “In­stead of defin­ing sort of co­or­di­nate points in space like one would do with draw­ing, we’re plac­ing an at­trac­tor field in this vir­tual space to cre­ate im­ages and sound, so we’re re­ally play­ing with the sim­u­la­tion of the phys­i­cal forces of at­trac­tion and re­pul­sion.”

View­ers will be fas­ci­nated by the pro­ces­sion of im­agery. The more you pay at­ten­tion, the eas­ier it is to feel like you’re ac­tu­ally in that syn­thetic world, akin to Jeff Bridges in the Tron films. “Yeah, it’s very in­ter­est­ing to be in this sort of syn­thetic space that in some ways be­haves like as­pects of the phe­nom­e­nal world that we ex­ist in al­ready, and that we might see when we peer into deep space or in the way we watch clouds form. Ab­strac­tion is a very in­ter­est­ing way to work, be­cause there are com­pletely nonob­jec­tive kinds of ab­strac­tion, and then there’s a kind that al­ludes to nat­u­ral pro­cesses and dy­nam­ics. We fit a lit­tle bit more in this idea of a dra­maturgy of ab­strac­tion, so au­di­ence mem­bers re­ally do feel like they’ve gone through a jour­ney.”

When NoiseFold be­gan in Santa Fe in 2005, the per­for­mances were pretty pun­k­like in terms of the feral, un­wieldy sonic at­mos­phere. “We would set these gen­er­a­tive things in mo­tion, and then at some point they would get out of hand, and much of what we were do­ing was rein­ing them back in. But, as hap­pens with any kind of artis­tic pur­suit, as you be­come more facile with the ma­te­rial and you’re able to con­trol it more, the na­ture of things changes.” Now they try to re­tain some of that thrilling aban­don but as­sert con­trol some­times “to sim­plify and quiet things down.” This per­for­mance, Stout said, will range widely “from the med­i­ta­tive to the dra­matic, highly charged orchestral-noise ap­proach.”

These days, he lives in Austin, and Met­calf is in Den­ver. “We typ­i­cally pre­pare ma­te­rial in ad­vance, and when we bring it to­gether, we de­cide on those el­e­ments that sort of fit to­gether and pro­vide the most per­for­ma­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties, and we work on that,” Stout said. “It’s a lot like band mem­bers might bring riffs and ideas and then work on them to­gether to ar­rive at some­thing unique.” — Paul Wei­de­man

NoiseFold Three gives a mul­ti­me­dia per­for­mance at 7 p.m. on Satur­day, June 11, at El Museo Cul­tural de Santa Fe.

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