Recursive game structures as emergent post-capitalist creative strategies

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Abstract

This article will look at zero-player recursive game structures, focusing on a case study of computer-generated music composition by an algorithm called Iamus, to explore the philosophical and political import of recursive game structures when they are used as creative methodologies in the process of artistic practice. In the first instance, I will define the concept of ‘recursion’, acknowledging its variety of meanings depending on the discipline within which it operates/manifests itself. In doing so, I will provide a brief cultural context of recursive techniques and then locate ‘zero-player’ game recursive structures within it. Second, I will look at the case study of Iamus, an algorithm (and computer) capable of generating ('evolving') its music—a project created by Francisco Vico of the University of Málaga (UMA). The algorithm uses a mixture of rule-based selection processes and recursive strategies based on initial input to 'evolve' musical material and effectively compose 'original' musical pieces, by employing a zero-player recursive game structure. Finally, I will locate this practice within an economic/political context, namely the potential current economic shift towards what some commentators such as Jeremy Rifkin, Raphael Sassover and Paul Mason have termed as a 'post-capitalist economy'.

This article will look at zero-player recursive game structures, focusing on a case study of computer-generated music composition by an algorithm called Iamus, to explore the philosophical and political import of recursive game structures when they are used as creative methodologies in the process of artistic practice. In the first instance, I will define the concept of ‘recursion’, acknowledging its variety of meanings depending on the discipline within which it operates/manifests itself. In doing so, I will provide a brief cultural context of recursive techniques and then locate ‘zero-player’ recursive game structures within it. Second, I will look at the case study of Iamus, an algorithm (and computer) capable of generating (‘evolving’) its music – a project created by Francisco Vico of the University of Málaga, Spain. The algorithm uses a mixture of rule-based selection processes and recursive strategies based on initial input to ‘evolve’ musical material and effectively compose ‘original’ musical pieces, with the aid of a zero-player recursive game structure. Finally, I will locate this practice within an economic/ political context, namely the potential economic shift towards what some commentators, such as Jeremy Rifkin (2014), Raphael Sassower (2013) and Paul Mason (2015 Mason, Paul (2015) Postcapitalism: A guide to our future, London: Allen Lane. Oxford Dictionaries (2015) www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/recursion, accessed 15 January 2016.
) have termed as a ‘post- capitalist economy’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
JournalPerformance Research
Volume21
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2016

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