Music For a Code

Performance, Bruxelles

juin 2014 – 2016

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” (A. C. Clarke)


Multi-media performance, Baroque Music, Synthétic Voices, Soundscapes, Vidéo & Dance.

Conception: Pascale Barret
Viol: Anne Bernard
Counter-tenor: Tristan Droillard

Semi-fictional, possibly even speculative, Music for a Code is a research step of links between real and synthetic voices, human and computing languages, baroque and digital composition, abstraction and physicality. In the first part, an open-source synthesizer will sing in real-time Pascale’s own composition. Related to Grace Hopper’s Biography and code, the second part is an audio-visual journey into the possibilities of immersion inherent to computer technology, from a portrait of the well-known mathematician to abstraction. This time, Pascale introduces Julie, a multi-lingual Artificial Intelligence, as part of the performance with a dancer. The last part is a live performance: a baroque ensemble performs 3 baroque pieces in which original words have been replaced by different computing languages. In Music for a Code, the process of ‘debugging’ computer glitches is extended into the aesthetic field.

Throughout the project, we intend to collaborate with local choreographers, dancers or actors by initiating workshops and discussions and integrating their input into the creative process. Our goal is to create a direct exchange between us and local participants, therefore composing a unique piece that will reflect the collective state of mind. We also plan to use adaptive electronic devices; precisely, one program which allows us to digitally reproduce human voices in any given language. Therefore, we are hoping to reach a greater diversity of audiences by adding our own texts (and the translation) into the process. Borders and language are no obstacles.


Music for a code propose une lecture originale des relations entre langages humains et informatiques en employant un contenu didactique et abstrait. Cette performance est un voyage à travers la biographie et les travaux de Grace Hopper, la célèbre scientifique américaine qui a popularisé le terme du « bug» informatique.

Par le truchement de Julie, une voie synthétique, le public est invité à traverser l’histoire personnelle de Grace Hopper, l’immersion audio-visuelle glissera de la biographie de la mathématicienne à l’histoire des origines des langages informatiques, pour finalement se confondre dans une distorsion du son et de l’image mis en abîme par la présence physique d’une danseuse.

De cet enchevêtrement émergerons peu à peu les cordes et la voix d’un ensemble baroque qui transposera du code sur la fameuse mélodie d’Henry Purcell.

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