During his summer residency at The Clocktower, artist and composer Matthew Ostrowski is developing a new composition for computer-controlled rotary telephones. Developing robotic control over the bells, he composes an environment based on swarm intelligence and small-world network algorithms, creating a carillon taking maximum advantage of the limited set of sonic options available to a traditional rotary phone.
The completed composition and installation is on view throughout August 2012 in one of the Clocktower's Project Rooms. Visitors are invited to walk or sit among the phones. Recommended listening time is 20 minutes. Free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 12-5 p.m.
Hear samples of Ostrowski's work and his conversation with David Weinstein recorded during the residenecy period HERE.
This work is an unending musical work for a carillon of automated telephone bells. Using computer models based on swarm intelligence amongst organisms such as crickets and fireflies, small-world network algorithms, and Markov chains, The Host is both an environmental installation and a duration-based piece of music.
This piece implies an alternative reality in which these obsolete instruments have a sort of atavistic sentience: Not the advanced consciousness of communication devices as we experience them, but a primitive will whose intentions are utterly alien to us, expressed in a language of peals and clicks, a form of intercourse very different than that for which it was originally designed. It is also a formal exploration, exploiting the timbral possibilities of the telephonic carillon, spatial diffusion, and machine intelligence.
Born in New York City, Matthew Ostrowski is a composer, musician, and installation artist who has been working with electronic media since the 1980s. His work has been seen or performed on five continents, including the Wien Modern Festival, the Kraków Audio Art Festival, Sonic Acts in Amsterdam, P.S.1 and The Kitchen in New York, The Melbourne Festival, and Dis_locate in Yokohama. His dense and complex works can be heard on over a dozen recordings. His multimedia work has included installations with light bulbs, television sets, and the World Wide Web. He is currently active as a member of the audio/video trio Fair Use, doing performances based on sped-up film classics, and in the duo KRK with contrabass player George Cremaschi.
This program is part of the Clocktower Gallery's Emerging Artist Residency Program, made possible with the generous support of the Jerome Foundation.