Velocity 0: Al NPC’s Estate
Velocity 0: Lonely Orbiter

4th October - 15th November 2021,

Opening 4th October 6pm-10pm

Center For Contemporary Art Tashkent

Shakhrisabz Street 6, 100047, Tashkent, Toshkent Shahri, Uzbekistan

Al NPC’s Estate
Within the exhibition Dixit Algorizmi (2019, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan), Velocity 0 is outfitted with a new neural-network-enabled module sitting atop the beatdown piano.
In this new setting, the system digests data gathered on-site during a prior residency process, utilizing a succession of interpretative devices to control its electromagnets array.
With musician Abror Zufarov, the traditional music of the Shashmaqom was studied and injected into Velocity 0, attempting to produce an infinite score based on the teachings and misunderstandings of the encounter.
To an extent, the tools used while utilizing AI processes to output audio data present a challenge of Incompatibility. Machine-learning models require training, often accomplished with datasets of limited diversity. Composition-oriented AIs rather tend to be trained with the likes of Bach or The Beatles, without judgment into what is essentially a contextual bias.
Zufarov’s knowledge of the Shashmaqom is such that he interprets a pre-USSR era version of it, in which the microtonal characteristics and the tuning point reference of the music predates the harmonization imposed by the Soviet Union at which point in time the Shashmaqom had been modified to accommodate the standard tuning and interpretation by Soviet orchestras.
The installation explores the advent of unexpectedness, imperfection, and rupture, in the partial incapacity of computer mathematical models to interpret music outside of the occidental spectrum, the result being voiced rather than put aside. 
This occurrence - dubbed Al NPC’s Estate - is an anagram for Latent Spaces: temporary interstices between data fed to an AI, and data produced by it: A sea of infinite possibilities, unformed, awaiting.
Latent spaces are used to render input information LD (low definition), with the intent of later re-scaling it to HD (high definition), effectively making the machine hallucinate.
Simultaneously Al NPC’s Estate hints at the inhabitation of such territory both being and not being part of the layer of high-dimension. NPCs (ie. Non-playing characters, in video games), are decors, entertainers, and mechanisms for the storytelling to move forward.

The disgracious term is to be given a confusing yet positive twist when provided with the agency of property, defining the Latent Space as the NPC’s territory. 
Ultimately, nothing is intended as a composition. The music itself might be lost, or remain a distant sight. The extent to which data would sufficiently carry emotions stays unworded. Yet, the definition is reduced to a simple melodic fiction, a primal narrative, for the listener’s own perception.
The endless concert behaves as a sensible mention of latent spaces, our processing of information, and choices that we might make based upon them, leaving behind something both eerie and comforting, new, old, playfully entertaining yet deeply strange.

For the inauguration of the exhibition Dixit Algorzimi (2019, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan), and before engaging into Al NPC’s Estate, Velocity 0: Lonely Orbiter is to be performed, addressing the in-situ context of the exhibition, and Tashkent’s history as once being the home of Russia’s Cosmonauts training program.
In reminiscence of the distant past, the race to space, the Cold War, and how the technological acceleration that resulted from it still shapes our mechanic and programmatic present, Velocity 0: Lonely Orbiter will be performed on Velocity 0.
A DIY antenna and an open-sourced software are all that is needed to listen to satellites hovering through our skies, and their telemetric transmissions.
Those transmissions, although sent through audible frequencies, are not intended for their sonic aspects but are a code akin to Morse.
The beeping sounds produced by the satellites are to be transposed into information - such as satellite images of the earth - when decoded with the correct encryption.
This time however, for Velocity0: Lonely Orbiter, the beeping signal was collected and used in a literal manner, harmonized to produce a piece of music to be interpreted on Velocity 0.
The resulting score, a harmonization of the sound of distant satellites passing through space, is a tale of DIYness, open-source data, invisible processes, and our machinic presence in space.