project description

The Symphony for dot matrix printers is a work which transforms obsolete office technology into an instrument for musical performance. The Symphony focuses the listener's attention on a nearly forgotten technology: the dot-matrix printer. Specifically, it employs the noises the printers make as the sole sound source for a musical composition. Leaving the constituent elements untouched, the process imposes a new order upon them, reorganizing the sounds along a musical structure.

Dot matrix printers are thus turned into musical 'instruments', while a computer network system, typical of a contemporary office, is employed as the 'orchestra' used to play them. The orchestra is 'conducted' by a network server which reads from a composed 'score'. Each of the printers plays from a different 'part' comprised of rhythms and pitches made up of letters of the alphabet, punctuation marks and other characters. [The User] uses ASCII textfiles to compose, orchestrate, and synchronize sonorous and densely textured, rhythmically-driven music. During the half hour performance, the sounds are amplified and broadcast over a sound system. The audience is also presented with live images of the sound sources: the motions of the mechanisms, rollers and gears are captured using miniature video cameras installed inside the printers and projected onto large screens.