↬ Twenty-two – 12: Weiss-Manetti, Audulus, Fediverse
Hi, I’m Rudiger Meyer and this is my monthly newsletter covering what I’ve been up to and what’s been catching my attention.
The Weiss-Manetti Prediction – a Quantum Novel
The Weiss-Manetti Prediction is about the theory behind a quantum computer that can think creatively. It is also about nature, which speaks its own language and fights its own battles. It is about people who are at a point in their lives where they are considering a leap. It is about conflicts in the Middle East, gay weddings in London, refugees in Calais, scientists, fish in Thyborøn, about love, loss, hope, art – and quantum logic.
The Weiss-Manetti Prediction invites the reader along on a carousel with several lanes, where one jumps back and forth between characters and stories. Each movement helps to create a connection, an energy, perhaps a hint of what we, for lack of better terms, call destiny.
— from Lene Henningsen’s introduction to the novel.
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In last month’s newsletter I wrote that my translation of The Weiss-Manetti Prediction was finally complete, and looked forward to it being made available soon. But of course, as creative projects often go, that was not how it turned out to be. Taking a look at the translation I realised that I needed to start over, which is what I did – line by line, page by page, alongside the original. (How could I have by any stretch have imagined that the first version was OK?) Having now gotten through the whole thing a second time (or actually, that’s probably more like a third) I can once again sleep at night.
It was reading Craig Mod’s description of how he’d hired a fantastic translator and editor for the translated version of his Kissa by Kissa, and was “doing a rigorous linecheck of the English into Japanese”, that made me realise that I needed to throw myself into a similar process.
Dreaming Murakami, is a 2017 documentary that follows the Danish translator Mette Holm while translating Haruki Murakami’s debut novel Hear the Wind Sing. Turning words over, over and over again, to find the correct meaning – a process infinitely more complicated than mine, given the shift both culturally and from Kanji to the Latin alphabet.
Murakami’s Hear the Wind Sing was originally translated into English by Alfred Birnbaum, and David Karashima’s Who We’re Reading When We Read Murakami is a fascinating look into the process of translating both the early and (lengthy) later Murakami adventures, casting some light on the extent to which the translators took substantial structural and stylistic decisions in many cases.
The Weiss-Manetti Prediction is fortunately relatively short, and hasn’t involved anything near the level of the Murakami challenges. A fairly straight-forward translation that unfortunately won’t be available by Christmas, but is ‘coming soon!’ Keep an eye on Maggies Mill.
(The cover art is by Birgitte Thorlacius.)
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Whilst I’ve been translating this novel about a ‘creative’ quantum computer and the ethics of AI, I’ve from time to time been noticing the ChatGPT stuff going on in the background, but haven’t yet had the chance to properly take a look at it or play with it, perhaps for the best. Craig Mod, in another issue of one of his newsletters talks about a language model trained on his writing, and shares some of the results…
Regarding AI and visual art I came across this post a short while ago: 4.2 Gigabytes, or: How to Draw Anything, an interesting peek into how these machines can potentially also aid in creating artworks (rather than just responding to a prompt).
I also got to thinking of Die a Little, an essay Oliver Reichenstein wrote back in 2018 on computer generated texts, and communicating with computers as opposed to communicating through computers. The presence (or absence) of the author behind the words. (He also has an essay on why bots should be made identifiable.)
Music is a little different. Not tied to meaning in quite the same way language is. We’re very happy to listen to wind chimes or generated tone sequences. I often think of John Cage and his making scores so that one might have “something to listen to”. Of course that’s different from AI generating music in one kind of genre or another.
Loose threads here, not yet collected into anything…
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With Audulus you can build synthesizers, design new sounds, or process audio. All with low latency real-time processing suitable for live performance. Audulus’s user interface is clean, simple, and easy to learn, allowing you to focus on sound.
Audulus 4, has finally, after a two and a half year long beta period, been released. There are still a few rough edges, but I find it a wonderful piece of software, and as I’ve mentioned before, a joy to use on iPad. The fact that it runs natively on iPadOS is, for me, perhaps one of its greatest strengths. When it comes to music I find using touch and an Apple Pencil way preferable to spending more time with a mouse, effective as it may be.
The release videos provide a concise introduction, and Mark Boyd (Biminiroad) has already done a few livestreams demonstrating the ins and outs of creating modules and patches. He’s also the one responsible for the documentation, node, and module tutorials, and together with Jeremy Smith, the extensive module library that’s available for Audulus. It’s an impressive collection that reaps the benefits of having gone through it all before with the Audulus 3 library, along with the feedback and discussions around that from the Audulus forum. This time round it’s all taken to the next level in terms of what’s comfortable, given the potentially limited screen estate, and practical in terms of patching – all turbo boosted with the new design and UI possibilities offered by the inclusion of a LUA canvas node.
Audulus is now freemium, which means that it’s possible to download and use Audulus patches for free, but there’s a 20 USD IAP (which is valid for both the iPad and macOS versions) to be able to add modules or look inside them, or create new patches.
Check out the Audulus Forum and Discord. There’s also a nice overview on the Audiobus forum.
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I unfortunately missed out on a few recent events in Copenhagen due to catching Covid once again, almost precisely a year after my first encounter. Fortunately the second time round hasn’t been nearly as intense as the first and I’ve gotten over it far more quickly. Been there, done that again, got a second T-shirt.
What I missed out on was the Copenhagen Organ Sound Art Festival 2022 and the launch/first release concert of Don’t Look Back Records, who describe themselves as a forward thinking Record Label, Concert Organiser, and Grassroots Community/Cultural Troublemaker! I’ll be doing a mixtape for them, to be released next April. Jan Stricker covers a lot of the Organ Sound Art Festival in some podcast episodes on The Lake.
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I find it mildly shocking that Twitter, for me, is now a thing of the past. Tweetbot deleted from my home screens. That went quickly! (Robin Sloan was right. “The speed with which Twitter recedes in your mind will shock you.”) But I’m enjoying life over on Mastodon, and am very optimistic about the future of the Fediverse. Twitter’s collapse is proving to be a good thing for the open web.
I was intrigued to discover how easy it is to make my own site a direct part of the fediverse since I already have microformats implemented. Thanks to the ActivityPub protocol it’s possible to follow my site directly using whatever app (or web client) you use for your Mastodon account, for example. I don’t have to specifically post to Mastodon, if you follow my site (@firstname.lastname@example.org) you can potentially follow my posts directly in your Mastodon feed along with everything else. The same applies to micro.blog. Which is wonderful! This could also apply to other services like Pixelfed, a decentralised Instagram alternative that supports ActivityPub, or Tumblr, which will be getting ActivityPub too.
John Voorhees has a nice article explaining it all on MacStories.net.
(So far I’ve only made a single post available via this method – as a test, but will probably publish all my future ‘notes’ in this way soon.)
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With all the translating work it’s been difficult to find music that didn’t interfere with the mental processes at play, and so for a lot of it I simply didn’t listen to anything at all, enjoying the quietness. Sometimes it can be really nice to have a little something to keep you going however, and I was pleased to discover some ‘subtle magic’ in The Humble Bee’s susurration, once again from the Belgian label Dauw.
I personally have no need for cassettes in my life, but look at those beautiful covers.
For something more upbeat Andrea Taeggi’s Mycorrhiza, recorded using old test equipment, provides some nice listening.
And Benge has also just released Spirals and Orbits, a new album recorded on his old Buchla 100.
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and all the best for 2023
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