When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

06 October 2005

Disquiet interviews: Kenneth Kirschner

Disquiet: interviews: Kenneth Kirschner
New York-based composer Kenneth Kirschner is a believer. "If I have a religion in life," he says, "it's the iPod." Asked to detail the tenets of this faith, he quotes science-fiction writer William Gibson, who once noted, "The Walkman changed the way we understand cities." Gibson's much-referenced comment touches on how personal technology has allowed music to provide an unprecedented running commentary on everyday life, accompanying us in our heads as we make our way through the physical world, shaping perspective, mood and experience.

If Gibson's futurist fiction is informed by technology, Kirschner's art is enabled by it. In Kirschner's case, that technology is Flash, the ubiquitous multimedia software language that powers countless Internet websites. Kirschner uses Flash to compose ever-changing pieces of music. These compositions generally consist of a set number of MP3s that are randomly layered simultaneously, and that can play for as long as the listener desires. A piece of music that is indeterminate — to borrow a word from John Cage, one of Kirschner's role models — has no inherent end.
Related site: KennethKirschner.com (where you can download many of his "fixed" compositions, as well as listen to Flash streaming audio of his "indeterminate" ones.)

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