from the archives: In Conversation with an Automaton

Leonardo Electronic Almanac Archives (Copyright 2012 Leonardo Electronic Almanac)

Image © 2012 Leonardo Electronic Almanac

The Leonardo Electronic Almanac’s archives, a project to reissue articles that document over fifteen years of techno-cultural activity, has caught up with ‘My Favorite Things: The Joy of the Gizmo’ (Volume 15, No. 11-12, November–December 2007). That issue of the LEA, a companion to Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 17, featured my article, ‘In Conversation with an Automaton: Identities and Agency in a Heterogeneous Social and Musical Network’:


io 0.0.1 beta is an interactive, semi-autonomous technological artifact that, in partnership with its human associates, performs a deliberately amplified staging of a socio-technical network—a network in which primary protocol is improvisation. In this paper, I explore the performance of identities, hybrids and relationships, illustrating the space between myself (human partner and constructor) and io through imaginary conversations between us. Considering that io highlights, in particular, the social agency of artifacts, I find it fitting that my own notions about the nature of improvisation, the technical and the social have changed through my interactions with io.

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