Dial “M” for…

MMiX. That’s “2009” in Roman numerals and the year in which I am pulling together my current interests in how music and media manifest in real time performance through a collaboration with Theaterlab NYC.

Early this year, Theaterlab co-director, Carlo Altomare (with Orietta Crispino) asked me to think up some kind of a concert series for their upcoming season. Our previous effort was an installment of my One-Two-Three-GO! new music series in 2006 and that went quite well.

Ever since, I’d used “MMiX” as a graphic as part of the annual New Year greeting that I send out to my mailing list every year, and I knew that I wanted to use it again somehow. This opportunity gave me the perfect place for it. Perfect in so many ways.

At that time, I had just come off creating three scores for theater, one in NYC, and two in Brazil (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and giving workshops on the software to the public. My whole emphasis has been to create musical scores that would be interactive with the performers on a number of levels that were not possible when I began working in the theater. Those possibilities are the direct result of a number of software programs that have made new these new levels possible, performable, and highly portable since all the hardware that had been used in the past has now been distilled down into the confines of a laptop computer.

With that having been achieved, any number of controllers (keyboards, wands, motion sensors etc.) could now be interfaced with the computer so that all of the performing arts had access.

I have come to see this extra “m” in MMiX as representing the different branches of the performing arts that are now able to be blended and blurred: music, mise-en-scene (theater, film), movement (dance), monographs (words; spoken or sung), montage (visual arts), etc. etc. etc. I found so many “m” words I’ll only put the essential ones here, but it should be said that, the most important one may be, is “meatware,” the human element in a technological system.

The purpose of this new blog is to consolidate the content of our research through original content and the many findings that we come across the internet of like-minded artists working along similar lines. Guided by partner and co-producer Jocelyn Gonzales, “The MMiXdown” will also document our progress in pulling together all of the above elements into a cohesive series of presentations to the public in October to see where we’re at, to see how far we can go, when software, hardware, and meatware meet in the common goal of artistic expression.

Patrick Grant

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