Traditionally, a golem was an artificial man made of clay and brought to life by the incantation of magic formulas derived from the Kabbalistic manipulations of the Hebrew alphabet. In my piece, I have digitally sampled the sound of the river banks in the voices of the spring peepers, and also certain Hebrew letters and texts, based on the ancient kabbalistic Book of Creation. Through the use of MIDI control, these formulas and texts can be "played" on keyboards (as well as triggered by vocal control), such that playing different melodic patterns will, in the words of the Book of Creation, "ordain them, hew them, combine them, weigh them, and interchange them." Live audio signal processing, FM, and speech synthesis all from ingredients in a complex, interactive system in which the performers process and control each other's inputs. When, to this witches brew, feedback is added through a circuit that "listens" and responds to itself, the golem comes alive and begins to act with a mind of it's own.
In this performance, the golem will be represented by several interactive systems embodying artificial intelligence techniques: In one, a computer controlled interactive player piano "listens" and responds to live music played on acoustic instruments, other keyboards and the human voice. In another, the movement of images projected from a MIDI-controlled interactive video laser disk responds to the musicians live performances in real-time. These images include extensive excerpts from the German expressionist classic Der Golem (1920) by Paul Wegener, scenes from the old Jewish Ghetto in Prague and other specially prepared material.