David Stout interviewed by Anthony Buchanan for Pasatiempo , 2008
How did NoiseFold develop?
There is a lengthy story here but I will make it quick: Cory was assisting me on a performance tour in Europe. Everything that could possible go wrong did in a very dramatic way. We retreated to Amsterdam where I set about creating a stripped down interactive performance utilizing the laptop to induce it’s own audio-visual feedback – the result was a media performance called SignalFire. During this, sometimes difficult process it became apparent that Cory and I worked well together and had a good time even under the most trying circumstances - we share similar perspectives about art, technology, social dynamics, science and metaphysics … it was a natural evolution that we forged a creative partnership in the form of NoiseFold.
Do you think you'll continue working with electromagnetism and infrared sensing? Does it come the closest to an extension of mind into machine?
We are very much engaged with expanding the possibilities for our “performance instrument” – part of this process is letting go of techniques that are less responsive. At the moment we are primarily using infrared sensors that detect the proximity of our hands or other body parts. There is a great deal of interest in the commercial sector to allow direct mind control of the computer – I am more interested in physical interaction – something that engages the whole body. In reality our bodies are a network of intelligences and it is unfortunate that so many of us choose to live only in our heads.
What technologies and software would you like the opportunity to work with in the future?
At this point we are involved in making our own applications. I am interested in expanding our software in the form of a comprehensive “real-time” 3D image and sound synthesizer that incorporates physical modeling, advanced particle systems, granular synthesis, genetic modeling and sophisticated data translation for interpretation of large data sets. We are, in a very real way, extending the lineage of electronic music and cinema through the integration of diverse techniques within a single instrument.
I am also interested in an array of evolving projection technologies including OLED displays, Laser LED and powerful architectural projection systems.
For you, are aesthetics more important than concepts?
I am, in part, a product of the prevalent teaching brought to America by the Bauhaus artists, architects and designers. I believe strongly that concept lives inside form in a very synergistic manner – conceptually driven work does not necessarily have to be arid … it can be sensuous too.
What roles do you see for Second Life as an artistic medium?
Groups like “Second Front” and “Avatar Orchestra Metaverse” have moved many of the the forms and ideas we often associate with 20th century artist’s collectives into the networked virtual paradigm - So Second Life is both a venue and a medium – it is also an amazing way to roll your CV, Gallery and Augmented Artistic Personae into one integral form. I am very interested in wedding this virtual world with actual physical space to create artificially aware environments that can be shared between remote sites – maybe this is one way to examine our collective fascination with cultural illusion and reduce the carbon footprint at the same time?