by joel mellin


Think of a sound you haven't heard before. Now create it.

I'm fascinated with this idea. Since the 1990s, I've been developing methodologies, techniques, systems and instruments to realize the unheard. My work is a sonified series of answers and investigations into various 'What if' statements: What if a swarm of insects could follow a score of music? What if language could evolve from randomness? What if each rain drop in a storm could choose its own pitch? And while I aspire to make the final compositions engaging and stimulating to listen to, my work is as much about the process itself, one step removed; the abstract innovation.

I use computers for their robust calculation capabilities, their efficiency handling complex, tedious tasks, and their objective, apathetic relationship with aesthetics and memory. Random numbers generated by a computer [while not entirely random] are much less intentional than those chosen by a person. Those numbers can be massaged to be less so if that's needed or important to me in a given situation. This precise randomness makes computers good objective decision makers, and yet, aesthetically malleable.

I often employ programming techniques that facilitate the creation of pseudo-autonomous objects. These objects have their own internal memory, their own decision making capabilities and can interact with other objects. This environment transforms cold, calculating computers from ordinary machines into smart and thoughtful musicians, capable as participants in larger organizations; societies bigger than themselves as individuals. It is in these complex "living" systems that I find intricacy and elegance.

Much of my work is performed in real-time collaboration with choreographers, dancers, performance and video artists, creating a blur between which art form is being informed by the other.

Think, then listen. Listen, then think.


released July 1, 2011


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joel mellin Brooklyn, New York

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