The Illusion of Separateness is an experiment in designing an environment that situates the performers within a particular assemblage of digital technologies, one which features various percussion instruments, computer vision, the Mugic® motion controller, and interactive computer music software. The most musically consequential interactive technologies are the computer vision components and the Mugic® microcontroller, as the audio from the virtual devices and percussion is either instantiated or processed through various analyses of body movement. One percussionist uses the screen-based interface to leverage computer vision technologies as the means to manipulate the original sound generated from their performing counterpart, while the other player does the same with the wearable Mugic® device.
To control the behavior of these assorted components, the performers must analyze how their gestural motions influence an emergent and continuously shifting sonic morphology. Each player uses pre-programmed parameter mappings and signal routings to manipulate the other’s real-time improvisation as they both navigate their performance and decision-making through an array of different virtual audio processing modules. While both performers generate their own original source material, subsequent musical and gestural choices are rarely unilateral, yet always contingent on the decisions the other percussionist makes through their personal approach to improvising within this environment. In effect, each performer must mediate their way through this technological assemblage in a collaborative, reciprocal manner, thus mutually contributing to a sonic outcome that reveals itself to be more generative than fully contrived.