Cristyn Magnus composer

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"Snapshots" (2005)

Snapshots is a seventy-minute loop that presents different runs of the same genetic algorithm working directly on sampled sounds. Sounds live in one speaker or the other and have some chance of migrating to another speaker. Each speaker has its own environment; as in nature, the environment of a particular location can change over time. Sounds sexually reproduce and undergo mutations. Their probability of reproducing is related to how fit they are in their current environment. An individual that is quite fit in one environment may be unfit in a new environment and its characteristic sounds may be removed from the population entirely. Other sounds that were unfit may come to the forefront as the environment changes.

The samples come from a variety of technological sources. The disembodied physical sounds of keyboards, mice, and hard drives and the artificial sounds of cell phones, computer games, and household appliances become an organic, evolving, sound world. The runs evolve toward different local minima: snapshots of evolutionary outcomes, illustrating the inherent potential of the original population.

Snapshots was commissioned by Adrienne Jenek as part of SPECFLIC, a Speculative Distributed Cinema Project.