Fragments: The Shape of Things

Fragments: The Shape of Things is an audiovisual performance in which 2 human performers act live on Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life algorithms to generate and modulate a poetic immersive experience. The work, composed of three acts, reflects on how data processing Artificial Intelligence systems anonymize and aestheticize both global conflicts and everyday relationships.

The piece uses the concept of fragments, small elements that are transformed and reconfigured, to explore technologically mediated human connections, perceptions, and memories. These fragments consist of sounds, videos, and photogrammetric objects that are scavenged from the news, created by the artists, or generated by algorithms. During the performance, those fragments are analyzed and modulated live by a set of Markov chains, Spiking Neural Networks, Machine Learning, optical flow, and other AI & A-Life techniques. In front of the audience, the artists orchestrate the action of those algorithms and guide the public into a journey that moves from darkness and absence into a growing torrent of sonic and visual stimuli.

Born and developed at a distance in endless online jams isolated in front of computer screens, ALMA (Alexandre Saunier & Marc-André Cossette) mixes together cutting-edge AI & A-Life algorithms with drum machines, analog, and virtual synthesizers, photogrammetry, procedural graphics, and video-game engines to invoke memories of inaccessible places, the sensations of the material world, and the feeling of being together.

Fragments is an ongoing series of audiovisual works that bring together multiple Montreal-based, but nationally diverse, collaborators in the fields of generative music, lighting design, audiovisual production, graphic design, and research-creation. Together they explore the complex feelings of living in an algorithm-driven world, living away from their homelands, meeting and sharing across cultural differences, and sustaining social lives at a distance and across borders. As part of this series, The Shape of Things is an original creation led by Alexandre Saunier & Marc-André Cossette as the duo ALMA.

Marc-André Cossette

Mutek Montreal 2021
Ars Electronic 2021 (Mutek garden)
ISEA Barcelona 2022
Ars Electronica 2023
Elektra 2023

Unreal Engine 5, Photogrammetry

Markov chains, Max4Live, Ableton Live, drum machines, synthesizers

Bruno Destombes