Collins, Nicolas

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Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.

My persistent concern as an artist has been the exploration of technology as an interface between art practice and communities. Having come of age in the 1970s, an era marked by rapid technological innovation as well as by the radical rethinking of traditional structures, I developed an improvisatory approach to electronics and a materialist approach to music -- building circuits that doubled as both instrument and score, and exploiting microcomputers from the time of their simplistic, pre-Apple origins. Inspired by John Cage's maxim that any sound can be a musical sound, I acquired the habit of scouring the everyday world for sonic flotsam that could be put to musical use - radio, consumer electronics, traditional instruments, recorded sound, voices caught in conversation. My aim was never to produce a fixed arrangement of sonic components, but to create structured opportunities for players and audiences to experience the familiar with unfamiliar attention. The unpredictable intricacy of the moment-to-moment interaction of players, technology, acoustics and audiences remains fascinating to me. Today, when the dominant image of computer technology is one of bringing the wide world into private homes, I still enjoy bringing live voltage and live performers together with live audiences.


Recent Submissions

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  • Item
    2007 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
    Collins, Nicolas (2009-03-30T15:07:38Z)
    In Los Primos (Cousins), an unlimited number of performers participate in the evolution of a perennially unfinished musical composition. It is at once an instrument, a recording, a score, and an experiment in the musical intelligence of crowds. This Web-based piece works on three levels: as a score that generates sound derived from the interaction of players; as a repository of performances; and as sound material for incorporation into subsequent performances, which then become archived and utilizable again, ad infinitum.