with Holly Herndon & Mathew Dryhurst
“Chain Opera” is a documentation of a multi-part Artificial Intelligence training performance conducted with an expanded ensemble.
The more we work on the topic of machine intelligence, a tool quite distinct from any other we have created as a species, the further back our focus takes us, to the earliest origins of music, polyphony, tool making, and mimesis. The musicologist Gary Tomlinson suggests that tool making itself is a continuation of the inherently musical and social process of repetitive activity – and that primitive humans, rather than having a map or plan for stone tool creation, instead depended on entrainment, or collectively choreographed and chained sequences of activity, to forge these technological extensions of our capacity. As we approach the dawn of a new era of suprahuman intelligence to which we have no map or close analogue, we wonder what kinds of collective choreographies will become necessary. What we do is what we become.