Cory Arcangel, working out of Brooklyn, New York, is a leading exponent of technology-based art, drawn to video games and software for their ability to rapidly formulate new communities and traditions and, equally, their speed of obsolescence. It was in 1996, while studying at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, that he first had a high-speed internet connection – inspiring him to major in music technology and start learning to code. Arcangel perceives software, hardware and Internet resources as raw art materials. Several of his works employ the characteristics and cultural contexts of digital audio such as MP3 encoding, Autotune pitch correction or sounds present in YouTube clips. In “Drei Klavierstücke op.11” (2009) Arcangel recreated Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 score of the same name by editing together YouTube clips of cats playing pianos, note for note, paw by paw. He is the youngest artist since Bruce Nauman to have been given a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum (2011). Other major solo exhibitions include the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013), the Barbican Art Gallery, London (2011) and Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof (2010).
Lately he presented a series of compositions written specifically for the Korg M1’s preset piano sounds, titled “Dances For The Electric Piano.” The pieces were performed by Hampus Lindwall at Berlin’s Philharmonie where I managed to catch Mr. Arcangel and schedule a Skype interview for further inquiry. We spoke about the beauty of the M1, mechanical sequencing vs. human tiredness, digital readymades and the future admiration for classic MP3-type compression.