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Nous Sommes Fragiles

NSF: Nous Sommes Fragiles was formed in 2004 when Nell Tenhaaf and John Kamevaar realized their mutual interest in signal flow and a human/machine lexicon.

Tenhaaf brings to NSF an interest in the biosciences and computer models of nature’s dynamics. These are embodied in interactive sculptures that incorporate low-resolution video, algorithmic functions and Kamevaar’s electronic sound.

Kamevaar brings to NSF a noise aesthetic and a history of live performance. He started using non-musical sounds in the 1980s with his experimental sound group Kaiser Nietzsche, and has performed with the free improvisation ensemble CCMC for over twenty years.

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Superimposing a working algorithm onto the river brings about a merging of machinic and personal time (time from a human perspective). The algorithm is a cellular automaton, whose individual cells “live” or “die” according to preset rules. Its action appears very synthetic and very organic at the same time - the marvelous thing about all cellular automata. 

The sound here was composed after viewing the video. It is not directly motivated by the movement, forms, or structure in the video, but its progression and density are a response to the energy in the images. The river itself, meanwhile, can’t be captured in any real sense but (maybe) goes on forever, always eluding stillness.

Interview with Nell Tenhaaf

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