Image generated by Social Synthesizer_Prototype de Aetherbits

Social Sythesizer_Prototype, 2008
a simultaneous online & onsite composition for interactive media by Aetherbits

Social Synthesizer_Prototype is the premiere of the emerging audiovisual synthesis technique called Social Synthesis in which a community of users can submit abstract data into a database which will subsequently be used to algorithmically compose music and visuals in real-time. It is an experiment on small scale user contribution model working towards a larger scale interactive, self-evolving, yet perpetual media generation instrument.

The online Social Synthesizer_Prototype uses a wide range of audio synthesis techniques on a database of user contributed recordings to algorithmically compose music. In addition, the community can influence the sound of the compositions by inserting sound recordings into the database. This is accomplished by using Skype (a software program that allows users to make free calls over the Internet) and calling to what is essentially a contemporary answering machine. When you complete the call, your recording will be analyzed, mutated, tweaked and it will become a part of an algorithmic computer generated stream of music that anybody can listen to and influence. In this way, individuals anywhere in the world are contributing personally meaningful abstract data which will be interpreted as components of a musical composition.

This online musical composition is the core of the onsite prototype. The Social Synthesizer_Prototype presented at banquete_nodos y redes uses the interactive algorithmic musical composition emerging from a worldwide community of users as the data source for a polyphonic audiovisual synthesis software. The Social Synthesizer_Prototype processes in real-time images drawn from Flickr (a website for users to share personal photographs). The images drawn from an archetypal user contributed content website such as Flickr become universal yet personal meaningful data that are reprocessed by an acoustically driven visual synthesizer. The result is a stream of visual music where the collective unconscious emanating from the internet is being constantly reinterpreted and reperformed in an ever changing flow.

The Social Synthesizer’s onsite prototype is the portal to a real-time self-evolving audiovisual stream that turns user contributed audiovisual content into a collective artwork of massive scale. It allows the public to audiovisually witness and navigate the collective unconscious emerging from the recent influx of internet social software and user contributed content websites.

The Social Synthesizer_Prototype is ultimately a sensitive content development system to process audiovisual data in a way that allows the public to navigate the social memory space through sound and images.

With the contribution of: 6i Musik, Photo Online, FreQ Laboratories, Chris Meidinger, Cordula Kalmbach, Ben Fry and Casey Reas from Processing
SEACEXLABoralFundación TelefónicaZKMInstitut Ramon LlullMediaLabMadridINBAsociación BanqueteUnesco
web in progress