New Flesh Network performed by Uppsala Kammarkör 2011.


New Flesh Network (2011)

A musical performance for choir controlled by The Musical Turk.


Long live The New Flesh!

With the 20th century came the fear that machines would overthrow and rule the human race. Workers were forced into mechanical factories to the soundtrack of The Man-Machine and failed political revolutions.

Fast forward until today and the fear has turned into a soothing harmonious feeling of being part of something bigger. Boundaries between man and machine are gone. We live and function together, as part of different overlaying networks, in symbiosis. Be it social networks for pleasure, violent terror networks for a higher religious cause, or Amazons Mechanical Turk – together with cheap cloud storage – for making business more effective.

But who is in control? Man or machine? Or none of them?

New Flesh Network is a musical performance, playing the soundtrack of our contemporary lives.

A traditional choir is connected to a network which is controlled by the artists in real-time. Every person – or group – in the choir functions as a node, performing the instructions without the knowledge of each other. In that way every person execute a simple task, but the artists can still create a complex result.

Man and machine working together as an effective organism. And just like other contemporary networks – be it terror networks or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – New Flesh Network makes it possible to create results that couldn’t be created without its nodes and connections.

In this case: music.

With New Flesh Network a traditional choir can perform phasing arpeggios, micro tuned clusters and advanced machine-like rhythm patterns. All in real-time and completely improvised by the artists that are in control.

At the end of the 20th century man suppressed their musical machines in order to create even more advanced music, be it with the help of circuit-bending or max/msp-programming. That era is now dead. The boundaries between man and machine are gone.

Long live The New Flesh!

Get ready for music that has never been heard before.

And never will be heard again.

New Flesh Network is a musical performance for traditional choir, controlled via a network – The Musical Turk – by the artists in real-time. Every person in the choir wears a pair of ear muffs cancelling out all sounds, making them hear only the instructions that they individually receive in their in-ear headphones. They are also blindfolded to emphasise the fact that every person is just obeying the task they are given, for example notes that they should mimic, or phrases they should repeat.

The music is improvised (and will never be performed twice the same way) and reflects the network it is a part of. Every person executes a simple task, but the result is complex and organic.

The artists play the choir with the help of computers and multichannel audio interfaces, making it possible to transmit individual instructions to each member of the choir. The singers will never be able to interpret the instructions perfectly, still their musical interpretation is the only thing the artists hear (and can react on) creating an organic feedback system related to traditional improvised music.

New Flesh Network can be performed by a chamber choir where every person receives individual instructions, or a larger choir organised in groups.