The Dwindling

a Duet for Computer and Performer

The Dwindling is the first installment of a series of pieces on the subject of dying. Although not discussed in our culture, how we die is extremely important. Unfortunately, because of social stigmas surrounding frank conversations on death, these end of life topics tend to go unspoken. This series is designed to create a space for people to practice dying and for meditation on the end of life.

This particular piece focuses on the most common type of death in the modern western world: hospitalized death at the late stages of life surrounded by medical professionals and health technology. This piece explore this type of death by simulating the experience. The performer takes on the role of the medical professional and the computer the dying body. At the start of the work, the computer uses AI to generate original music. As the computer begins to get "sick", the performer steps in and, using a leap motion controller, attempts to save the machine while stripping it of its autonomy. Overtime the computer's "organs" begin to fail one by one, culminating in a section of palliative care music. It is my hope that, by demonstrating this type of death, I will encourage people to think on the ways one can go, and whether this most common death is the best way.

Premiered on 4/14/15 in the Turrell Skyspace "Twilight Epiphany" at Rice University in Houston, TX. Sounds created using Max/MSP and a Leapmotion Controller.