In the era of social media, how does one really create a community? So much of the social technology is supposed to encourage connecting with others but oftentimes what happens is unidirectional bloviation. Lots of people are talking at once but is anyone really connecting or even listening? Facebook encourages has a menial acknowledgement system of “likes,” of course, and you can comment on posts. How often, though, does a commenter merely continue to talk about themselves, just in another venue?
An interesting experiment in music making via Twitter has recently wrapped up. The group #Armada (pronounced Hashtag Armada) gathered a community of composers (26 in all) to write piano piece via an “exquisite corpse” mechanism communicated via Twitter. Each composer writes a single measure, then tags another composer in the list and describes (in less than 140 characters) what their measure did. The fine people at #Armada collected the composed measures (sent in by the composers and not constructed via their 140 digits) and recently compiled the score.
The end result is a thoroughly entertaining journey that has its own twisted internal logic. It is a kind of like “Double Music” meets Didkovsky’s Zero Waste. What is fascinating is to imagine what a composer envisioned when he/she was “tagged” and how they interpreted the events of the preceding measure. Or if they paid attention to it at all. Hard cuts and non sequiturs blossom into other jumps and bumps in an amusing sort of way.
Twitter has been used for some interesting music making in the past. Steve Hicken was creating compositions in 140 characters or less a while back and last year the album sc140 was made by 22 composers writing 140 characters of Supercollider code.
Personally, I like Twitter as a social platform. It does feel more like a fluid conversation of many different streams instead of a wall being constantly papered with materials. I don’t know what #Armada has in store for the 2012 project but I’m on board. You should be, too.