"SE/30" is a sound installation made by Code31 from old Macintosh SE-computers. It was shown at DEAF07, and performed during the opening.


SE/30; photo: Jan Sprij

SE/30 is an installation of 20, almost 20 year old Macintosh SE-computers. The installation is based on the principle of cellular automata, every SE/30 is a cel that adapts to its environment and forms collaborative patterns. The sound is modulated and the images are plotted by the status of each computer that generates the sound and images. In the realm of General Midi and Quicktime Musical Instruments the aesthetics of failure are a necessity. Digital artefacts distort mobile phone-like timbres to abstract structures...


Lately many artists (and hobbyists) have been discovering the potential of old electronics and cheap consumer appliances. They're rediscovering the possibilities offered by simple resources -- electricity, resistors, cheap PCBs. Playing with the discarded mountain of obsolete computers sparks their imaginations and yields ideas and artistic concepts. The Belgian group Code31 recently got its hands on a bunch of discarded Mac SE30s. Out of these they built the installation SE/30, based on the principle of cellular automata. Each computer functions as a cell in a network. Every cell generates images (black-and-white) and sound (MIDI) on the basis of local laws (those of the individual cell). Each cell interacts with the adjacent ones and changes on the basis of this interaction. Constantly changing patterns thus arise. Their course is unpredictable and chaotic. Faithful to the starting assumptions of media art, which takes an interest in obsolete technology and circuit-bending, Code31 considers all errors and glitches that arise to be necessities that characterize the aesthetic of the piece. "The tool [not the medium] is the message", as Kim Cascone wrote in The Aesthetics of Failure.


SE/30 by Code31 (DEAF07) from V2_ on Vimeo.

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