marco workshop


When: Saturday 15 June 2024, 11.00-17.00
Where: Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Söder Mälarstrand 61, Stockholm
Capacity: Maximum 10 participants
What to bring: Laptop, charger and headphones
Fee: 100 SEK deposit collected for registration
Register: Email to register

We are happy to invite artist, performer, inventor, stage director and theorist Marco Donnarumma for an afternoon of discussion and practice in the volatile field of music and machine learning — popularly known as AI: Artificial Intelligence. Donnarumma will cover diverse concepts, approaches, tools, and politics of AI for music in this masterclass for electronic music practicioners.

As the race for "artificial general intelligence" enters an intense phase, release after release the corporations running today's computation monopoly are attempting to ingrain into Western culture the idea that the larger the model the more intelligent it will be. It is a rather arguable position to defend, as shown by criticism within and without the industry. Larger models, monumental datasets and unregulated scraping of publicly available information represent a weird nexus where unethical development, generation of capital and policy manipulation meet in ever increasingly dangerous ways.


What does this all mean for music and music makers? New AI tools are produced almost weekly, but what is there actually new? Today's most popular generative models do not create anything new but rather imitate or create pastiche of existing musical materials, styles and ideas. And human labor is still very necessary, if one wishes to create sincerely compelling material. There's surely more that can be done with the variety of algorithms that have been developed in the past 60 years.


In this workshop we will critically analyse the workings of popular, large generative models in order to understand the concepts and the beliefs that run behind the algorithms. We will then observe a variety of different approaches to AI in music, as they are found in the output of several, small music research laboratories around the world. On one hand, this will provide a technical overview of the tools available today beyond the corporations' domain and shine a light on the huge range of techniques available. On the other, it will offer some analytical tools that can help understand the cultural implications of adopting particular computational approaches to electronic music making.


Marco Donnarumma (DE) has been weaving together contemporary performance, new media art and interactive computer music since the early 2000s. He is internationally acknowledged for solo performances, stage productions and installations that defy genres, and where the body becomes a morphing language to speak critically of ritual, power and technology. Donnarumma’s latest series of artworks, I Am Your Body (2021-present), explores the relation between sound, AI and the embodied knowledge enshrined in d/Deaf and hard of hearing bodies. Donnarumma holds a Ph.D. in performing arts, computing and body theory from Goldsmiths, University of London.

This workshop is organized by the Creative Media Technology team at the Royal Institute of Technology’s Media Technology and Interaction Design division (KTH-MID), with kind support from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music (KMA), hosted by Elektronmusikstudion EMS.