Reflections on the Map:
My main take away from Temporary Expert is my approach to the information I want to express. As you might know, my “Genealogy of Rhythmic Patterns” is my thesis idea. I originally set out to make this whole intricate data visualization of Latin American rhythmic patterns, along with their socio-economic/ migratory implications. What I quickly learned is that I was embarking on an enormous mission, trying to cram years of future work into a 3 to 5 month block of time. Research on a more granular level is making more sense for me, although this semester was productive in terms of the classes I took, explicitly exposing myself to possible approaches to this subject matter. The classes I took were Temporary Expert, Cabinets of Wonder, Learning Machines, Ethnomusicology, and Digital Signal Theory. Save for Learning Machines, My ITP classes made me dive in to the information, as well as thinking about how this information can be presented, while Ethnomusicology and DST presented me with to distinct, almost contrasting approaches to music. Ethnomusicology taught me that there is a conversation about music beyond “musician talk.” It actually turned out to be more of a political theory class than anything else, which was refreshing, considering my academic background in Sociology. DST is a Calculus class, building sound waves with mathematical equations.
There were two processes that happened for me this semester. While Temp Ex forced me to tackle the subject matter and do my research, I was also brainstorming an interesting way of playing with the rhythmic patterns I wanted to research. The drum machine I designed and built was a great exercise in this direction. I remember having a conversation with Carlos Guedes, a professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, about my ideas during the summer, and we both agreed it would really cool to disintegrate rhythms into modular rhythmic patterns, so that is where the idea originally stemmed from. Eventually, I would like to record more patterns and create a movement data base as well, using Motion Capturing. For now, I’m going to concentrate on doing an ethnography on just one rhythm, Candombe, from Uruguay. I want to experiment with how I can best present this, going as deep as possible, instead of skimming the surface of the whole continent.