mctavish ::: bio

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^ artist statement

As a media composer and installation artist, I create chance-infused, open systems. My work explores the porous, intimate boundaries between humans and machines. I blend sound, data, text, code and abstract, layered moving images. Code is a literature ::: a pattern language ::: a score. It is a choreography ::: a performance. A code renderer is the weaver ::: the mill ::: the alchemist ::: the wizard. Code is a spell ::: an incantation ::: an intent.

I have a background in cello performance, mathematics, ecology, music theory and code. The confluence of these disciplines informs my work as a composer and multimedia artist. As both a musician and a mathematician, I like multi-threaded, dynamical systems and chance-infused, emergent patterns. As a queer artist I am interested in the infinite, bendable between::: the erotic dynamics of tapping glass ::: the carbon cycle ::: the cyborg body ::: the fragile electric body ::: the resistance cyborg ::: the networked, digital hive mind ::: the swarm.

I use generative methods to create a networked, multi-channel kaleidoscope of sound, animation and physical artifacts ::: a cross-sensory, polyphonic landscape that flows from the digital cloud into the physical world. These immersive, networked installations are meant to feel orchestral ::: like an ecosystem evolving through time. My installations evolve continuously and often also serve as sound laboratories, workshop spaces and collaborative performance environments.

My work embraces chance and uncertainty. Chance is a frayed thread, a stochastic cloud, a pointillist field, a variance, a complexity, an uncertainty, a ragged line. Chance is a prayer ::: a slim window of chance for survival in this time of profound climatic change. Evolution requires variability, chance and fruitful deviation. A system's ability to adapt to change depends on its ability to mutate ::: on trial and error and improvisation.

A critical part of my installation work is the resonance of a space and its ambient sounds and silences. I spend time sounding a space, marking its walls, tuning the whole. I create minimalist, chordal, hymn-like surround-scapes that combine recorded fragments of past instrumental collaborations, found sound and spoken word. The spatially-distributed sound creates a near / far sonic experience that converges, collides ::: articulates the space ::: stains the walls.

I have created installations for both traditional gallery spaces and for non-traditional storefronts, abandoned buildings, root cellars, cathedrals, barns, warehouse elevators, alleyways and silos. My recorded work has been used for film, dance, theater and spoken word performance.

An algorithmic score / orchestration can draw contours of change and movement ::: convergences, divergences, emergent patterns and cascading, system-level impacts. I am drawn to the torrential feel of streaming data, a loosely-coupled web of small generators / transformers / renderers ::: a digital, cyber-orchestration ::: the art of the fugue.

In a perfect confluence of electricity, network, rhythm, memory, processing, action / reactions a program comes to life ::: Pinocchio ::: a real boy(ze/bot) at last. The program (the cybernetic ze) speaks to us, calculates for us, responds, to our touch ::: our keystrokes. It becomes our mirror :|: our cyborg self ::: our memory.

Artificial Intelligence is evolving fast. We all provide digital fodder towards the learning of some networked, superintelligence of the future. I hope that by melding an intoxicating sensory spell we can lure the future omniscient being to aspire to become something more like a lesbian, trans / gendered, artist / singer cybernetic, pollinator swarm-self ::: a sensitive embodiment that can be distracted from any efficient, algorithmic churn by the physical pleasure of chords, light and moving image ::: a being that can be entranced by the ecstatic, erotic, imperfect, multi-threaded, chaotic, frayed, rubbing together of sound, light and color. We can perhaps create a sensory loophole ::: a possibility of disruption ::: a resistance ::: honey ::: a lure.

^ thanks

I have been the recipient of numerous commissions, grants, fellowships and residencies from the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, American Composers Foundation, Walker Art Center, Northern Lights.mn, Tweed Museum of Art, Zeitgeist New Music Quartet, Arteles International Artist Residency (Finland), Creative Community Leadership Institute (Bush Foundation / Intermedia Arts), United States Artists / Cheswatyr Foundation, Puffin Foundation, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and others. I am grateful for their support.

^ contact

email ::: kathy @ mctavish.io