Since late 2016 I have been creating live generated video scores in virtual environments, using VR technologies such as the Oculus Rift headset. This work was originally inspired by my interest in open, live generated and animated scores, and developed into a series of works for various performer and instrumental combinations. In an inspiring essay from the mid-nineties, Karen A. Franck suggests that Virtual Reality is very physical. I won’t just see changing images on a flat screen; I will have the feeling of occupying those images with my entire body. I will enter a graphic, three-dimensional, computer-constructed world that does not look real but feels real, one that may respond immediately to my movements and commands (Franck: 1995).
My starting point for compositions using virtual reality technologies is the notion of “occupying [a score] with [one’s] entire body” (Ibid.). My aim is the creation of scores in which the process of performing involves embodied decision-making that visualises a performer’s journey through the score. This approach necessarily understands scores as a kind of space, an understanding inspired by the writing of musicologist Galia Hanoch-Roe. In a fascinating article on the relationship between musical scores and architectural form, she suggests that—particularly in “open” scores—“the process of performance becomes similar to that of a movement within a structural space, where the observer chooses [their] way about it” (2003: 148).