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»S_traits«
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© Bill Seaman

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Information
Cite
X
Archive of Digital Art (ADA). “Bill Seaman - »S_traits«”. https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/s-traits.html (retrieved 2020-19-06). @online{ADAartistprofile, author = {Archive of Digital Art (ADA)}, title = {Bill Seaman - »S_traits«}, url = {https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/s-traits.html}, urldate = {retrieved 2020-19-06}
Technology
Software
Engine of Many Senses, Generative Image work to accompany Generative Music Engine by Supko
Sound
Engine of Many Senses, Generative Image work to accompany Generative Music Engine by Supko
Descriptions & Essays
Bill Seaman 19-06-2020
s_traits
Poem After Straits by Kenneth Koch

what I say it is it is not
What I say I say in the silences
Revivier
a bi-directional revolution
a code in the breaks
putting a spin on coded records
The late voice was welcomed in
The boat gently oscillated — a room of numbers in one
Roussel never made it to africa
The occular canal
lined with tiny waves
Using mis-understanding
the woman’s pun was spun
a textile of the turn-table
turned the tables and was run
run the code at different speeds
time fetched and stretched
This is the temporary housing
of sound I seek
Readymade for Rrose
setting a coded trap
The point, the pinnacle, self-writing code,
capsized through the father of motherhood
The horizon of time
seemingly frozen in drops
crystals of saline, or salient props
Crystaline shoes
The deception of destiny
is chance thrown
The spinning of the tall telling
The stillness of the day
the first words to be cast
The soft lips spread
the tongue in touching voice
The trajectory of code words
Maneuvering cyphers
in removing the dis-engagements
Detachment rains
The stable shifter
oscillated
droning on across the day
probabilities at play
The voice flew
through a window of chance.
the home of sonic decay
re-seeding the distance,
till nothing fell there
Bathing in the low light,
licking the soft white ligature
The i-ching was spoken
a stumbling visit to stochastics
a silent shower of words
the liquids delicately fell.
Acting as they do as substitutions
gentle persuations, invasions, on less than ocular occasions
The legitimate family resemblance
The thrown sense
Palpable, taking on another
The forking cut
the throat of light,
the salient flow,
action at a distance
The floating sight,
the flesh curtain,
the sensual tongue
Folded and folding,
The cycle is over
as soon as it begins
The breath of chance
in a change of wind.
The still are moving
and moving still
Windows are spoken,
bored and barred
The drunk is plastered
and sings a succinct cypher
The legacy hardware
is put in motion.
Breathing life
into the old code.
The drive is on the blink
The broken voice
is crackling across the surface of the direct impression
Waxing poetic
waxing pathetic
Swimming in the reproduction
as a substitution of tongues,
one finds a full house.
A pool of loops, a loop of pools
a sentence swimming in uncertainty.
The rotating branch of indeterminacy
The birdsong is rhythmic,
repeated, rare, the atmosphere
derived of swells and swallows,
thoughts are in the air
The lines of flight glistens
from the angles that bare all,
the slight slit,
the hint of a glimpse,
the hands of chance
The symbols are posted
skyward across the horizon,
smoke signals and screens…
Unchallenged
the physical code flew in a strait line,
winded but flowing
The wall was penetrated by codes
the single signal code - true
The spinning of this truth
a recording of the lie,
the lay of the land,
the release of a sigh
The painter’s voice and the singer’s eye,
The painting was of wind on water,
described by smeared words
on a mirror touched in steam
Confused with intention
to expose the mouth,
the breadth of the text,
the breasts heaving
The memory of a moment
the mouth of chance
flourished and smiled on the day
a word released in sway
across a forest of signs
The exploded sense well taken,
rewarded in kind
In flight, the wording,
though wandering went away,
the edifice slid, silently,
the wall fell astray
The wall of a boat floating.
The river of change was swollen
like the throat of chance
But later the line was filled
with the salt of tears.
The records were circling
along with the crew.
And energies were channeled


Panoramas were encrypted
sent from the shore
deplete or imply
The wind of a voice
swept the sleeping in specific
turned the tongue to the tune of a dream
The love of the moment
The falling of the now
The audience sits still
The machinery of chance,
the shunting,
the swell
The angle of the timing,
the clicking,
the shell
The hiding place
encoded with entrance
The grafting of the tones
gave purchase
to the shell
I had fallen for the delicacy
the sweetness of her tell
The doubled was doubled over
drunken like a boat
on a sea the horizon
reflects upon the shifting lines
Banking the poetics of light
The lines were red
coded as they were.
A point very fine
in the blue of sadness.
The sky was mourning after such a night
after all the love lost and the loss of the light
the painted lips moving
delicately take flight
The cost of the tongue
translations and tempting
the code of silence
the river empty
The fate of the straits or the traits of inflection
The words have legs
running askew
The dream has a pearl,
The silence was as full
as even cage knew
In love as in art we pay for our tongues
the words are sticky
the words are sung
The bearings are clear
the straits well known
The lover has spoken
a seed well sewn
the one who tempted the action
Spoken in wispers, in vespers and code
The painter of sound invested in the word
As an actor of being
as building a world
As generative as a tongue
touching tongues it is told.
The Analogue of code, the vocal chord
The autocatalytic space
the parallel space
of focused fires
The flight into a new territories
the distributed space
of a thought
The signals sets
flowed across the twilight
of language
The translation forming a new life
spoken in the crystalline
jewels of mathematical logic
The clicks and drums
also formed a conversation
The dance of multi-value logic
was in play
Silence spoke
in its own gesture language
Hands circling
The touch of fingers on the hand
of the other became
her sensual description space
The absence of spoken words
formed the images
of the landscape
not unlike sung maps
The flower of her lips
shown even if still
The messenger of the facial expression
mirrored the landscape of fire
The light danced
through the dense smoke
as it built moving lines
touching the senses
The voice of gestural intonation
spoke warmly
of this abstracted vision
in slow motion
The color of light
shown again as blue.
As they gathered
their thoughts
across the waves
Again stood still.
Breathing
And banked on quiescent gestures,
chance and change motioning
Predictably arcane,
the luminous hands
The books were encoded and airborn
the voices cast shadows
And from the distances of silences
a plural and parallel
a set of worlds were born
The cover was in a different key
highly abstracted
pleasantly reformed
A number of rooms, a room of numbers
They spoke with clicks
and popping tongue touches
against the roof
Coming to know the the longing vocabulary
And the melting away
of the words written in steam
The fountain was penned but was never captured fully
The train of thought
is always in the now.
The now is always delayed.
Time buffers
and biological frames
He followed his intention of random walks
and I ching driving for the finds
And treated this like drifting
on the tides
cycling back and forth
Here, painted light was revolving code
painted sound and painted text
words made luminous
And the lines lived beneath the surface of the sound
The piano was quietly re-structured
becoming furniture for the guests
holding the music in his fingers
The body of the text was strewn
to the wind—
left hanging in the air
this founding of words
was later elegantly scattered
and deeply reflective
yet merging
with the landscape
the sound was entrained
the lines focusing flows
out from the straits
The drunken train strayed from the tracks,
and found rooms for sensual play
The library at Alexandria became luminous
And still a motioning toward quiescence
The waves were sold as code
and the code was sold as waves
The reviver was a re-written
Nosing out the ambivalences
the eskimos kissed
The apartments are numbers
performed and re-cast
Chance fell across the doorway
providing the mix
The tenuous movements
of the dance
formed the evening
And betting on musical chairs the furniture was encircled
The circular route
a rotation of records and drives
The investment was clothed in an erudite air
The circle became
the cycle of night and day
Tarkovski’s waters are always close
And lovers are soon to be found
The chance of meeting
in sound all full of heat,
emotion, and light
The record revealed
a revolution etched with an urgency
It isn’t what I say it is
The double bind
was danced and played
so many times it skipped
Against the volume of the sea
And ears were ringing off the hook
The least likely line was followed
And jumped from time to time
The Memory was strong
and the odor recalled it
Like wax cylinders in cyphers
the surface noise remained
Ada’s visions were displayed
with the operative music machine she wrote
The dead man’s switch
stopped the long line
And the steam still spoke
etched on the mirror
Through the cycle of paradox
all became clear
Nothing was moved
actioning a rotating schedule
Code words
formed the surface of the sound
Shimmering and shifting
The blue sound was well known
The loop pools flowed as if to become one
The field of codes
the cypher was spun
All was one in continuous blue
Luminous hands wrote the code in taps
Night fell everywhere simultaneously
Overtaken by deep blue
The angle of the lips
spread the soft dark news
In this nook
this frigid look
even the ice appeared blue
Electricity was conducted
until energy was lost
As displaced in uncertainty
as the words of the day
The memory theatre shifted to code
And the code words passed away
The ambassador of light distributed the lines
The straits and places and bearings
all fell away
Roussels state room
was certainly the place
And Descartes doll
could not be traced
Flung overboard as poetic justice
Chance words
fallen on deaf ears
Distributed and displayed
The quiescent eye
around which winds of high velocity move
One addresses with song
the sadness of the day
with taps and somber tones
muted trumpet would play
The strait tune played drunken
passed through the readymade
gesture to blue
And floats a line
that puns as it plays
The double bind
bristling with the life of the day
The fall had broken
where the code was spoken
Leaving the lips to play
the code was broken
where the lips had spoken
The floors shifting
The furniture was splayed
Holding its breath the silence shimmered
Her lips for a moment mouthed the lines
The fabric of her code
was woven in song
At the end of the mouth,
on the tip of the tongue
One notices what one has forgotten
The code from beneath
drives the lines
Mercurial as the light
Bill Seaman: S_traits, 19-06-2020, in: Archive of Digital Art
Bill Seaman 19-06-2020
OUT FROM THE STRAITS
Jeffrey Edelstein
s_traits is an ongoing collaboration between Bill Seaman and John Supko. It started in 2011 with conversations about generative music and how to make it. The two quickly discovered that they had been independently exploring what might be described as the “uploading” of human creativity to the computer: Supko’s work involved developing software that emulated his compositional process; Seaman was investigating how creativity could be codified and reanimated through artificially intelligent systems.
A narrative history of the collaboration between Seaman and Supko captures how they wrote s_traits. Their work together began when Supko gave Seaman the electronic track from a discarded version of his percussion duo Straits. Seaman edited this track into hundreds of tiny samples, many lasting barely a second. These samples became the first entries in what would evolve into a database of source material for s_traits. Over the next two years, they added more than 110 hours of varied but complementary sounds to the database. The new material included field recordings, analog and digital noise, acoustic and electronic instruments, cassette recordings of Supko’s juvenilia, recordings of Seaman and Supko playing the piano (inside and out), and soundtracks from documentaries made in the 1960’s and 70‘s.
As the source material began to expand, Seaman and Supko increasingly focused on the technical details of using the computer to compose music. The majority of the samples in the database were created with a series of software tools designed by Supko. This software was also able to generate new hybrid samples from the existing collection. It thus enabled both composers to remix–again and again–the work of the other. The unpredictable results of these processes were added to the database.
When the sample database reached its current proportions, Supko built a new software system that could navigate the many hours of music in the database, extract and recombine dozens of samples, and compose complete multi-track compositions. The new system paired these compositions with fragments of a text Seaman wrote after the poem Straits by Kenneth Koch, which had inspired Supko’s earlier percussion duo. (Seaman’s text appears in full on the album cover.) But rather than leave the system’s compositions untouched, the composers treated them as first drafts, which they developed into the tracks on the present CD.
In the end, 26 tracks were composed this way. Both composers contributed 13 tracks, although Seaman and Supko do not identify who composed what. The two sets of 13 are interwoven so that all the odd-numbered tracks belong to one composer and the even-numbered tracks to the other. Every track begins with a text fragment, which also serves as a title. Seaman and Supko plan to write a track for each of the more than 300 remaining text fragments.

Jeffrey Edelstein is a critic and Director of New Music at Crane Arts in Philadelphia.
Bill Seaman: S_traits, 19-06-2020, in: Archive of Digital Art
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