CONRAD SHAWCROSS 'THE ADA PROJECT'
Live performance recording of Terersa Duddy from Conrad Shawcross’ 2014 exhibition.
Original composition by Mira Calix
180-gram heavyweight one-sided 12″ black vinyl
Full colour outer sleeve with artwork by Conrad Shawcross
Conrad Shawcross -The ADA Project
Brewer Street Car Park, Soho, London
10th – 31st October 2014.
For this piece Shawcross found inspiration from Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) the mathematician (and daughter of Lord Byron). Working alongside Charles Babbage, inventor of the first proto-computer, Lovelace predicted that this complex counting machine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent”, pre-empting the birth of programmed music by more than a century.
The musicians, all of whom use electronic programming in their work, worked closely with Shawcross in his studio discussing Babbage and Lovelace’s discoveries, and studying the robot as it played out one of four programmed patterns created by the artist. Each distinctive pattern is based on ratios and drawings for the computer which Babbage never fully realised, a fact that provides added significance to the programming that depicts them and the computer generated music which they inspire.
For the project, four renowned female musicians created works in response to the movements of an industrial robot that has been hacked and programmed by the artist to create four unique choreographies. In this first-of-its-kind collaborative artwork, Conrad Shawcross takes a new approach to commissioning music, reversing the traditional process, so that the robot’s dance provides the inspiration and parameters for the music.
For her composition titled If Then While For, Mira Calix creates a narrative lament in which soprano Terersa Duddy sings to the robot, willing it to fall in love with her. The machine’s movement of languid strokes suggests that it reciprocates her overtures.