Andy Huntington interview

interview with: andy huntington (2005/08/18) journal contents

Could you come up with a definition of "soundtoys"

- digital woodblocks: in terms of traditional musical significance their use is limited but you hit them and they make a noise and that can be fun and you never ask too much of them.

What is your project and your work about?

- exploring simplicity, creating something that is engaging, not confusing and which might make people want to return to it.

How long have you been working in this area?

- 1 1/2 years

Were you an artist/ musician first who got into using computers/the net or did you respond to the net in an artistic way?

- musician first, liked the potential afforded by creating computer applications, something that was standalone.

What/ who has influenced you in your work? (themes, other artists etc)

- antirom, romandson, rechord, kyoshi furukawa [zkm's small fish cdrom], audiorom and if you want musical then the list would include reich, warp, orbital, debussy, although not exlusively.

Are there any other artists covering the same field as you?

- yes [see above!]

Do you see this work as art?

- not yet, i am quite a traditionalist when it comes to art. ie. more thought, less alienation. engage and communicate avoiding propaganda. it has a lot to do with skills like interface design beyond just programming skills, there is a whole load of contextual baggage to unpack regarding the digital arts before it develops beyond the current spate of what seems to be the 'Changing Rooms - let's rustle up some art work' approach. there is a language to learn beyond just lingo and java etc. i will be first in the line for being taught!

With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio visual metaphor is so key to the net?

- it is a good distribution medium but beyond that the web is only just begining to develop the audio part of that metaphor and so it is hardly 'key' at present. but it will get there.

What defines the aesthetics of new interactive music?

- 'new' interactive music? the amount of control given to the user has a great deal to do with it as well as the coherence [depending on its purpose] of the piece.

How important is the visual aspect in the 'new' relationship of the audio visual?

- they are interdependent, the least successful toys forget this.

Does the net promotes visual awareness that is unique to it?

- no, it is still very book like.

How novel do you feel generative music and interactivity is?

- not very. but that doesn't mean that it is bad. not everything good is new. huge heritage of 'generative' composition without computers, just play through any number of Bach Chorales: numbers, rules and accidents. Now it is true that "Interactivity is as much a technically conceived and managed task as it is a social relationship" [Paul Th?berge] but conceptually interactivity is nothing new.

Do you think there is a history to audio visual work?

- church, temple, opera, story telling, aboriginal art, silent movies - with accompaniment, talkies, animation, musicals, music video etc.

Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net.artist, programmer, or none of the above?

- at the moment: programmer/musician, in the future perhaps: multimedia artist

What software do you use most and why?

- Director- i know how to, Logic- i always have, Photoshop - it works.

On a more personal level why do you make this work?

- I am keen to see if the 'interactive' digital arts can be used as an effective medium outside of a completely postmodern mindset, creating engaging and entertaining experiences and making a good noise.

Can you recommend three urls to soundtoys?

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