Yasunao Tone: AI Deviation

Japanese-American artist, writer, theorist, and composer Yasunao Tone premieres new work embracing artificial intelligence (AI) at ISSUE's 22 Boerum Place theater.

Tone has collaborated with Prof. Tony Myatt, University of Surrey UK, and a team of researchers including Mark Fell and Dr. Paul Modler, with the support of the ISSUE Project Room. A series of performances using Tone’s MP3 Deviation software were captured in a laboratory then used to train Kohoen Neural Networks to develop artificial intelligences that can simulate several of his performance approaches. The AIs are integrated in a software framework and computer performance system that extracts attributes from the audio they generate to “listen” to the output and make performance actions as if they were virtual Tone performers. Five versions of Tone AI exist in the performance software, each of which exhibits certain responses modeled on those previously adopted by Tone.

In performance Tone will deviate and control AI versions of himself along with the mechanisms that each AI uses to hear and respond to the audio they generate; deviating and corrupting the technologies designed to simulate his own performances, deviating and interacting live with AI versions of himself as performer.

Yasunao Tone (born 1935) is a Japanese-American artist, writer, theorist, and composer. According to critic Alan Cummings, he is “part of a whole generation of post-war iconoclasts who followed in the wake of John Cage's discovery of indeterminacy, determined to shake music and art out of their enslavement to the high art, romanticist ideals of the 19th century.” He co-founded Group Ongaku (Music group) in the early 1960s, has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962, and has also been an organizer and participant in many important music and performance scenes including New York’s Downtown improvisors, and the European electronica experimentalists. An outstanding experimentalist, Yasunao coined the term "paramedia art" to describe his work, and his artistic inventions include prepared CD and interventions with an MP3 system. Primarily a composer, Tone has worked in many media, creating pieces for electronics, computer systems, film, radio and television, as well as environmental art. His work is distinguished by conversion of text into music via images with analog and digital means, and with critique of medium in use (Music for 2CD Players, Solo for Wounded CD). Tone has presented concerts at the Kitchen, MoMA, the Guggenheim, Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, the Ars Electronica Festival, Centre George Pompidou, Sonic Lights in Amsterdam, ATP festivals and Lovebytes festivals, among many others. Select exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, numerous FLUXUS shows, "The Japanese Avant-garde since 1945" at the Guggenheim Museum, "Bitstreams" at the Whitney Museum, the Yokohama Triennale. Honors include the Ars Electronica Golden Nica award and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts award in music.

Organized by Lawrence Kumpf.