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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Soichiro Mihara, Yuko Mohri

The installation Vexations has been named after Eric Satie’s piece Vexations, composed in 1895. This piece has been called the origin of repetition music as well as a mysterious piano piece. Eric Satie also put forward “music of furniture”.

Originally Vexations would have been played by a human pianist. Repetition can now be played by the computer. Vexations also offers the possibility that loops can be influenced by parametes like the noise in the gallery space where it is exhibited. This bridges the two approaches of Eric Satie: Repetition and Music for Furniture (where the sound of the surrounding space plays a big role). Instead of humans creating repetition music like Eric Satie did, this piece uses a computer repetition system for the exhibition space.

The system has three specific functions—playing, recording and analyzing.

1. The playing function plays an original Vexations sequence the first time through the loud speakers. This is pre-recorded data played by a human pianist.
2. The recording function captures a sound file (WAV) from the microphone.
3. The analyzing function generates a MIDI file from its sound file (WAV).
4. The playing function plays the MIDI file through the loud speakers.
5. Back to Number 2; continue from steps 2 to 4. Repeat 840 times.

The system circulates a sequence of Vexations between digital and analog. This conversion process alters the original Vexations into a location-specific Vexations because the final piece of music is not always same, it’s strongly dependant on the location.