Will musicians survive the pandemic or will they become extinct? Endangered is an AI driven fake-umentary with a narrative centering on real-life subject matter. In light of the pandemic, the future of live performance looks to be a dismal one, with the exception of the single life preserve known as the live stream experience. Endangered albeit in an experimental way, validates this moment for musicians, music lovers, and all affiliate parties alike. It draws speculative parallels between human music and bird music, and suggests that perhaps in light of the pandemic, imaginatively speaking, we should look to save musicians the way would save their nearest evolutionary relative; the bird.
The latent walk visuals were created via StyleGAN2 by cross-training a data set of live concert photos with a data set of bird drawings. The spoken dialogue was generated by GPT2 using a corpus of tweets, scraped interview texts from the internet, bird literature, song lyrics, theories on bird music human music evolution, and information on endangered species. The audio was generated by utilizing Neural Audio Synthesis, an audio neural network system model trained by Magenta. All of the musical audio was generated from a data set of bird sounds and then arranged in context.
From an industry perspective, the pandemic has rocked musicians, dances, venues, technicians, booking agents, and everyone else that helps to make sure that live performances of all kinds happen. Those who have major financial support from a label may be able to survive the closure, but the everyday working musicians, and dances, and festival staff, and venue owners may be forced to throw in the towel for good. In speaking with a friend of mine who has been playing music for a living, he explained how dire the situation has become for working performers, and given that entertainment is not necessarily a matter of life and death, communal performance gatherings will likely be the last thing that will return. Likewise from the other side of the orchestra pit, communal listening and art engagement is an ancient societal practice that is meaningful and fulfilling. No longer having access to this is not life or death, but it will likely contribute to the psychosocial shifts in human beings that will occur due to the collective changes in our human experiences.
Ps. Have you ever noticed how many bird references there are in song titles, lyrics, artist names, and etc? It’s unreal.
About Latent Space TV:
It’s a made-up broadcasting service that utilizes computer vision to illustrate real life subject matter. This is likely subconsciously inspired by the binge-watching of Netflix documentaries that the pandemic has brought on and the stylism that is often used in their presentation. The process of creating Latent Space TV was one led completely by my discovery of machine learning and AI concepts. I find machine learning and AI equal parts fascinating, hilarious, and frustrating and from my experience, those are great ingredients for the occasional witty artistic backhanded creation.