Network Music Festival

Sound without Borders // 15-18th July 2020

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Pure Absence

Pure Absence is a playable, abstract, generative and composed, audiovisual experience in realtime 3D. This mulit-user WebVR version is specially coded for the Network Music Festival, using open source, web-based platforms A-Frame, Three.js and Tone.js. The work can be experienced on all platforms from full head-mounted VR, through laptops and tablets to phones, all in a multi-user VR musical space. Pure Absence discombobulates notions of the virtual by sounding visions and animating audio.

An abstract audiovisual 3D space becomes a live audiovisual ‘instrument’, played by abstract avatars logged in from different physical locations. They play the work by flying through coloured polygons whose size and position determines the tone, pitch, rhythm and timbre of the sounds they generate, along with the colour of the polygons, which themselves are generated by the movements of the player avatars. Pure Absence is an actual fantasy. Colours, sounds and players interact on an equal level of intention, and wondering ensues.

Great sound is silent. Great form is absent. Or so says the Tao in chapter 41. The sensuous instinct wishes to to receive an object; the formal instinct wishes to produce an object. Or so says Schiller in Letter XIV. Can an individual subject resolve its incompatibility with itself through a transindividual environment of immersive digital data? Or is it merely creating more anxiety, the only true product of the digital era? So asks Pure Absence.

Adam Nash makes playable digital virtual art. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he is a digital artist, composer, programmer, performer, teacher and writer. He works with the digital as site of playable art. Working in a post-convergent idiom, his work uses the web, virtual environments, generative and procedural programming, data and motion capture, artificial intelligence, synthetic evolution, audio, vision and live performance.

His work has been presented in galleries, festivals and online in Australia, Europe, Asia and The Americas, including SIGGRAPH, ISEA, 01SJ, the Venice Biennale, and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. He was the recipient of the inaugural Australia Council Multi-User Virtual Environment Artist in Residence grant. He has been artist in residence at Ars Electronica FutureLab. He was shortlisted for the National Art Award in New Media at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.

This multi-user WebVR version of Pure Absence is peformed live by Adam Nash, Yue Yamanaka-Mead and Joseph Callaly.