Powering Up / Powering Down 1/30/04-2/1/04
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Tracy McMullen


Genetic Algorithms use an evolutionary metaphor to explore spaces. This work in progress uses a modified genetic algorithm to evolve waveforms. A population of waveforms exists in multiple locations (one for each speaker) and individual waveforms can freely migrate between locations. As in nature, the environment of a particular location can change over time. This can happen quickly (as in a fire) or slowly (as in an ice age). Waveforms sexually reproduce and undergo mutations. Their probability of reproducing is related to how fit they are in their current environment. An individual that is quite fit in one environment may be unfit in a new environment and its genes (in this case, the distinctive sounds that characterize its waveform) may be removed from the species entirely. Other sounds that were unfit may come to the forefront as the environment changes. This process of evolution in a changing environment creates the structure of the piece.


Tracy McMullen is a performer, composer and scholar. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, and an M.M. in Jazz Performance and an M.A. in Music Composition from the University of North Texas. She is currently a Humanities Fellow in the Critical Studies/Experimental Practices doctoral program at UCSD. Tracy’s current interests include: the corporeal logics of performance, i.e., the creation of knowledge, meaning and being in the act of performing/improvising; the connection between current Western theoretical models, such as post-structuralism, to the Eastern philosophy of Buddhism; and a general overarching interest in Heidegger, Derrida, post-structuralism, Buddhism, conceptual art/artists and the art of performance. She will be teaching a course in Western philosophy this summer at UCSD through the Academic Connections program, available to qualified high school students.

“Powering Up/Powering Down” is sponsored in part by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), and the UC San Diego Department of Music in connection with the departments of Visual Arts, Music, and Literature at UCSD along with the UC Riverside and Los Angeles campuses.