Clonal Colonies (1st Movement: Fast Runners)

Clonal Colonies (1st Movement: Fast Runners)
Bret Battey
6'56'' · cgi · colour
2011 | Leicester, UK
RVM · PyR Festival 2014
Honorable Mention


Clonal Colonies was commissioned by New York's Avian Orchestra for their botany-themed concert Vegetative States in 2011. The first movement, Fresh Runners, is a fast romp of densely interlocked textures, thrilling in the process of transformation itself.

The video element extends my previous Brownian Doughnut Warper technique of algorithmic manipulation of points, adding Bézier splines between points, camera control, and post-processing routines that provide more variety and colour gradation in the image. These were implemented as custom plug-ins for Apple’s Motion 4 video effects software.

The connection between the sound and the image was created almost entirely manually — the relationship is not algorithmic. It moves beyond the largely isomorphic sound and image relationships of my previous works, aspiring instead towards an ideal of a "fluid counterpoint" of sound and image gestures. This is often an aesthetic of saturation, here, where the intense amount of activity and detail in both sound and image ideally can only be absorbed by the mind "giving in" and simply letting them fuse into one sensual experience.

A "clonal colony" is a group of genetically identical plants. Child plants are propagated by "runners" that emerge from a parent plant. Thus colony members may appear as individual plants above the ground, but are interconnected underground. The environment for each plant, which includes neighboring colony members, shapes the unique appearance of that plant.

This is analogous to the computer algorithms used in the creation of the music. All instrumental parts share the same underlying "genetic code". But each instrumental behavior influences and is influenced by the others'. I trimmed and weeded the resulting acoustic garden while adding computer-rendered sound.

The latter provides colour settings, delineates boundaries, clarifies landmarks — and highlights the fundamental pulse of the landscape. The image part then interlinks and interweaves with the patterns of this musical terrain.

Bret Battey
Bret Battey

1967 | Seattle·WA, USA

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Creates electronic, acoustic and multimedia concert works and installations.

He has been a Fulbright Fellow to India and a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and he has received recognitions and prizes from Austria's Prix Ars Electronica, France's Bourges Concours International de Musique Electroacoustique, Spain's Punto y Raya Festival, Abstracta Cinema of Rome, and Amsterdam Film eXperience for his sound and image compositions.

He is a Senior Lecturer with the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, UK.

Lives in Leicester, UK.   +info