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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

The Algorithms We Call Music Communities

Friday, March 22, in San Francisco at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

I’m continuing to work on the talk I’ll be giving at the upcoming Algorithmic Art Assembly in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking on Friday, March 22, in the afternoon. The two-day event (half afternoon speakers, half evening performances) will be held at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. My working title and description for the talk are as follows:

The Woodshed Is a Black Box
How a rules-based system formed, shapes, and fuels the long-running online music community known as the Disquiet Junto.

And that’s what it’s about. It’s a talk about the way rules shape online interactions in groups of collaborators, how those rules change over time, how some rules are more self-evident than others, and how seemingly small changes can have significant impact (positive and negative).

The Disquiet Junto, formed in 2012 and run weekly since, takes its name from the original Junto, an organization formed in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin with an emphasis on “mutual self-improvement.” The classic model of self-improvement in music is the woodshed, and it is historically a solitary pursuit. The woodshed is where you go to practice, and from which you emerge changed. It is as much a verb as it is a noun.

What, though, does focused practice mean in an always-on, always-connected culture? In a networked community, is there such a thing as a network of woodsheds? How does an online community structure and support this activity, and how do rules structure and support the online community?

More details at aaassembly.org — and here, as it comes together.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
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