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Themesicon: navigation pathSound and Imageicon: navigation pathMusic as a model
«My music is a model for music»
Markus Popp
Wohnton (Popp, Markus), 1993


«Oval Process» is a document of my work on several levels. It offers a software interface, terminals in a public space, an interactive sound object, and audio CDs released on different labels. The central statement [1] expressed by «Oval Process» is that electronic music is irrevocably characterized and limited by the software it uses. As the producer of «Oval Process,» I’m mainly concerned with the option of critically intervening in the simulation of music on the level of productivity software. First of all, this means that I position myself among conditions in which music, as a category and cultural container, appears as merely a sound effect or unusually effective piece of compression technology. I experience this as a zone entirely free of criteria, insofar as the last defining criterium of electronic music is the data format: MP3s or audio files are not defined as text files, but compressed with a particular bit rate and that’s that. For this reason, in the age of PowerBook authoring, electronic music seems to me more like a general business strategy rather than the beta test of an extremely productive, all-inclusive authoring process: whenever we purchase an IBook,


we also get two to three recording artists, three new alter egos, and a new label. In my opinion, what conceals the relevant problems is handling electronic music as music with a capital M – that is, as music in the way that we know it and with nothing changed. Of course, commercially speaking, the continual launching of electronic music as a product is indispensable. But, in my opinion, this is useless for analyzing the underlying division of power. What I find more relevant than every new form of musical experimentation or hacker ethics is a subjective intervening in the standards and specifications behind the workflow. The intervening possibility meant here is not found on the level of musical content, meaning on the cultural or artifact level, but first and foremost on the level of interface design, work ergonomics and functionality. All of the updates of recent years have treated generic networks or music as frequency phenomena, toolboxes, shells or supercollider scripts. For me, however, the problem doesn’t exist on the level of script languages or producing toolboxes, but rather where it involves making a decided effort to clarify and solve matters in the areas of design and ergonomics.

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