It will be presented at the Sixth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900
2-5 July 2009, Keele University
Traditionally, latency is considered as a problem in performance contexts, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the use of the Internet for networked-based performance. The absence of latency in stand-alone computers contrasts with the experience of networked performance, creating ambivalence about the role the network can play in computer-based sonic and visual art.
This paper suggest that rather than being a problem for the digital artist, latency is an inherent property of the network, and as such is one of the determining features of the creative space. This demands that creative practitioners account in their work for latency as a creative and aesthetic aspect of digital arts practice.
The opportunities are more apparent when it comes to live performances or interactive installation using technology. Hardware communication, long cables and networking produce significant latency that does not respond instantly to the performance or installation situation. We discuss, through practical demonstration, not how to reduce latency to the minimum but rather how to use latency as a creative and aesthetic property within the presentation structure. Creativity through latency is exploited by suspending the expectations of what we experience visually, aurally and sensually.
We approach the aesthetics of latency in two ways. Firstly we examine the effect of different latencies by delaying the audio from the visual and vice versa. Secondly, we look at the effects of latency in audio-haptic domain. By examining the areas above we present some alternative approaches in digital creativity practice, experiencing latency from an audience perspective as well as the challenges for the performer.