Intersecting Lines

is a collaboration between clarinetist François Houle, interactive video artist Aleksandra Dulic, and computer music composer Keith Hamel. The work grew out of Dulic's research in visual music and involves mapping a live clarinet improvisation onto both the visual and audio realms.

Supported by : Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Media and Graphic Interdisciplinary Centre, UBC
School of Music, UBC

In this work an intelligent system for visualization and signification is used to develop and expand the musical material played by the clarinet. This system monitors and interprets various nuances of the musical performance. The clarinetist’s improvisations, musical intentions, meanings and feelings are enhanced and extended, both visually and aurally, by the computer system, so that the various textures and gestured played by the performer have corresponding visuals and computer-generated sounds.

The melodic line, as played by the clarinet, is used as the main compositional strategy for visualization. Since the control input is based on a classical instrument, the aesthetic visualization strategy is based on calligraphic line drawing using artistic rendering: the computer-generated line is drawn in 3D space and rendered using expressive painterly and ink drawing style. The appearance of animated lines and textures portray a new artistic style that transforms a musical gesture onto a visual plane. Kenneth Newby made contribution to the development of the animation software.

Biographical information

Intersecting Lines is a collaboration between clarinetist François Houle, interactive video artist Aleksandra Dulic and composer Keith Hamel. François Houle has established himself as one of Canada's finest musicians. His performances and recordings transcend the stylistic borders associated with his instrument in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces: classical, jazz, new music, improvised music, and world music. Aleksandra Dulic is media artist, theorist and experimental filmmaker working at the intersections of multimedia and live performance with research foci in computational poetics, interactive animation and cross-cultural media performance.   Keith Hamel is a composer specializing in interactive computer music with numerous commissions and international performances to his credit.

Equipment Needs

A screen (3m X 4m or larger) and high resolution multimedia projector are required for the video projection. Either stereo or 4 channels of audio are required - if there are 4 channels, the 3 rd and 4 th channels should be in the back corners of the hall.   We will bring the computers, audio interface and clarinet microphone with us.   One computer will be driving the video and one will be generating the audio.

Stage and Equipment Setup

The screen should be placed in the centre of stage (toward the back of the stage if possible) and can be either front- or rear- projected.   The clarinetist will be positioned near the front of the stage on one side or the other (so he is not in front of the video screen).   The stage should be dark except for a single spot light on the clarinetist - no music stand is needed.   The computers will be set up on a table in the centre of the   hall (as close to the mixer if possible.)   We require a table large enough for two people each with a laptop computer in front of them.