As an artist, I enjoy composing music that is singular, unrepeatable and unpredictable. Because of this, I employ algorithmic processes for much of my work, writing software that transforms data and movement into sonic parameters.
For sound of the eye I wanted to push this one step further by allowing listeners to algorithmically compose their own music using images of their eyes. As each human eye is unique, differing in colour, patterning, brightness and so on, each composition is also different, varying in key, tempo, time signature, volume and various other aspects. Once a composition has been generated, it is lathe cut onto a one-off 7" vinyl single.
In the age of digital media and mass surveillance, where retina scans and mp3s are the order of the day, I offer this small work as a provocation, using personal data for creativity instead of control and eschewing the digital in favour of the analogue.
Thank you for listening,
What does it sound like?
Here are two examples. Your eye may sound substantially different to either of these.
Who are you?
My name is Aragorn23 and I am an experimental musician who focuses on algorithmic and movement-based composition. You can read more about me and listen to some of my work on my website.
What is lathe cutting?
Lathe cutting is an artisanal, realtime method for creating small runs of vinyl. Lathe cuts sound as good as – or better than – commercially pressed vinyl when they're done right, and last just as long. They are playable on any standard turntable.
I also want to get my music cut onto vinyl!
I'm part of Contour Vinyl, South Africa's first lathe cutting collective. Get in touch and we'll see what we can do.
How do you do analyse my eye? What software are you using?
I use custom written code to detect various eye features, as well as some manual analysis. I use SuperCollider for the algorithmic composition.
How long will it take to get my record? What exactly will I receive?
Your record should reach you in 2-4 weeks maximum. You're also welcome to fetch it from me in Johannesburg. You will receive a unique 7" with your algorithmic composition on the A-side. If you chose another composition for the B-side (of a friend or partner's eye), your 7" will contain that too. The 7" is housed in a lined inner sleeve inside a custom folded card cover with an image of your eye printed on it. Each 7" is numbered and forms one of a limited edition of 50.
It will cost R250 for your unique 7". If you'd like to add a second composition to the B-side of your 7" (of a partner's or friend's eye, perhaps) the total will be R350. Shipping is R100 to any SA postal address, but you're also welcome to collect in person.
To place an order, just email me at email@example.com and I'll get back to you with payment details (PayPal, EFT and cash are accepted). Once payment is received I'll ask you for a decent quality close-up photo of one of your eyes (a good cellphone pic should be fine).