Outward threads - Computational artistic agency and the creative mind

Juan Vassallo
40 min Presentation + 40 min Discussion
My research interests converge as a two-fold investigation. On the one hand, the artistic research is oriented to the composition of a corpus of contemporary experimental score-based music pieces. In them, I explore the affordances and potentialities for an expanded creative process that arises by using computational methods and artificial intelligence as means for music composition. In this sense, I see the mediating role of computers as a process — one that can be described as an opaque assemblage of actors and artifacts, grounded in philosophical perspectives that revolve around the notions of techno-mediation, trans and post-humanism, and cybernetics. They propose that there are no clear or absolute demarcations between human mental and computational processes. On the other hand, I am interested in the study of human creativity from a psychological perspective. My research aims to better understand the cognitive processes underlying music composition. It is based on a conceptual framework coming from the disciplines of computational psychology and artificial intelligence, in particular from work developed initially by M. Boden and later by others. This model relies mostly on computational concepts that, in essence, are more precisely defined versions of psychological notions. An example: conceptual space and the exploration of such a space by creative agents, driven by heuristic processes of search. These processes selectively and insightfully allow these agents to move through this space, recombine it, or transform it. These two investigative threads are intimately connected with each other, and they overlap in conceptual and theoretical frameworks, even as they bifurcate into different methodologies.

Juan Vassallo

Juan Vassallo is an Argentinian composer based in Bergen, Norway. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Artistic Research at the University of Bergen. In the last few years, some of his compositions have been awarded in national and international competitions in France, China, and Argentina. Some of his past artistic projects have received grants from the UNESCO and Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI). He has collaborated with several renowned contemporary music ensembles, such as Neue Vokalsolisten, Schola Heidelberg, and Quasar saxophone quartet, among others.