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FleshFactor: I am God.

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

I would like to add another point to Jean Piche's "Computers, Slavery and
Making Art."  But first, as a fellow artist/musican that has been using
computers to compose music for the last 14 years, I would wholeheartedly
agree that the music itself has changed little due to changes in
technology.  A good example is the last David Bowie album.  The production
is very "techno" sounding and relies heavily on both analog and digital
technology.  I caught David on TV one night and saw him perform a song off
his new album with only his voice, his acoustic guitar and a second
acoustic guitar accompanist.  The song could have easily been off his 2nd
of 3rd albums.  His music hadn't changed, only the production had.

The change that has taken place is in an individual's ability to actualize
his or her vision without the intervention of other humans. Earlier this
evening I was talking to some friends regarding the make up of an
experimental ambient music project I am part of.  I am actually the only
"core" member (not counting the mountain of gear/slaves that I drag around
to each show) of our group.  Most of the other members vary from show to
show and the line up is rarely the same.  The only control I retain is
that I pick the individuals that I play with.  Other than that, each
person has free reign to contribute as they see fit.  Sometimes, however,
I chose not to play with anyone at all and maintain total control of the
output.  I was criticized as being a control freak/ego maniac.  "No,"  I
countered, "I just have a vision that I would like to get across without
any interference.  It may or may not be a good one, but it's mine."  It is
with the slaves I call my "gear" that I am able to do this with relative
ease.  No one calls a painter a control freak for not collaborating with
other artists when doing a painting.  Why should musicians be the same now
that the technology exists to give the musician total control?

Meta-Creations' Painter 5.0 allows an image to be worked on ("painted") by
multiple artists at the same time via a network.  The computers can
facilitate both collaboration between humans through communication
networks and the actualization of unadulterated works by acting as non-
complaining "slaves."  I really like that my computer is my slave.  I
can't get my cat to stop scratching my furniture, much less help me
compose music.  I have both a cat and a computer, for obviously different
reasons.  (my cat is into Einsturzende Neubauten and the Boredoms, by the

Also, I'd like to comment on Tom Sherman's statement about being ignored
by his computer.  Tom, maybe your computer is broken, as my computer seems
to respond to me quite nicely.  [Mark, and others, my request for
attention and affection from my computer was put forth as a rhetorical
device, not intended as a literal request, T.S.]  It constantly scans its
keyboard and mouse for my every tap and responds accordingly.  If I
choose, it can even understand a few rudimentary phrases of English, like
"Computer, what time is it?"  It often misunderstands me, but it always
tries.  (things are improving in this respect)  When I tell it to be a
16-track audio recorder, it does.  When I tell it to capture some video and
play it backwards, it does.  When I tell it to get in touch with my pals,
it does.  If it suggested that I might want to write a short story,
instead of collaging some images together, I'd smack it.  I've already
got professors and employers for that kind of thing.  I like the
relationship I have with my computer. 

I am its god.

Mark Sottilaro <msottila@mailbox.syr.edu> 

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