The Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers #1 and #2
(1997-1999) enlisted three specialists: Thaddeus Thomas, a freelance software architect (ReDada Software), Dave Ozsvari, a hardware and technical consultant, and Jean-Pierre Côté, a sound consultant. The three worked with [The User] to operate a computer program via a server that synchronized the dot-matrix printers and read complex ASCII text files in order to create musical compositions. The result was a techno-sounding piece that was performed by the administrators of the system, rather than one that was simply being played. Madan explains:
"One of the things we find interesting about the way that the project has developed is that while it uses "noises" for "musical" ends, it doesn't decontextualize the sound from its source in the way that musique concrète, or tape/electroacoustic/sampler music does. Just as acousmatic music is fundamentally about separating sound from its causal actions, so the printer symphony specifically and deliberately keeps sound and causality linked." (1)
When performing the Symphony,
[The User] displayed the computers and printers and forged a special relationship between the audience and technology, with all its faults and possibilities. From paper jams to computer bugs, the performance was more than a collection of sounds, but a manifestation of the potential of old technologies that have been replaced, swept aside and thrown away.
premiered at the Montreal International New Cinema and New Media Festival
in 1998. Thanks to its remarkable local success, it went on to tour numerous festivals in Europe, including Ars Electronica Festival
(Linz, Austria), Sonar Advanced Music Meeting
(Barcelona, Spain), Net_Condition
at ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany), BATOFAR
(Paris, France), Institute of Contemporary Art (London, England), ROOT Festival
(Hull, England), Beursschouwburg
(Brussels, Belgium), and the Festival Atlantico
(Lisbon, Portugal). The Symphony
is also available on CD released by the Staalplaat (Amsterdam and Berlin).