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Il suono rosso

(2018-2020) video and electroacoustic music [32′ 09″]

Video: Ivan Penov

Premiered at Festival Signal to Noise, livestreaming, February 6th 2021

Commissioned by La Stoppa di Elena Pantaleoni, Ancarano di Rivergaro (PC)

The work is the second part of the Trilogy of Temporality, a video-music project conceived by Roberto Doati.

The project is divided into three parts: “Il suono bianco” (The white sound), “Il suono rosso” (The red sound) and “Il suono verde” (The green sound). Each part is an audio-visual staging created by a video artist and a composer of electroacoustic music on three important Italian food realities: cheese, wine, vegetables.

  • Why ‘staging’? Because the images and sounds of the territory, of the raw materials, of the processing of each food, become the characters of a narrative that is sometimes fantastic, sometimes pure tale.
  • Time or temporality? The cheese is produced in one day, every day of the year and is consumed both quickly and over a long period. The wine is produced in months but only once a year and is consumed almost exclusively over a long period. The vegetables are produced in different seasons, but are distributed throughout the year and are consumed almost exclusively in a short time. However, the project also alludes to the theme of temporality, a condition of what is opposed to what is eternal, but not devoid of a spirituality peculiar to Italian culture.

Food and music both imply the ability to act and produce based on a particular set of rules and cognitive experiences. We start from basic materials (grapes – sounds) to make, through countless transformation techniques, complex materials (olfactory/gustatory structures – sounds) which, aggregated, will give life to the final work (wine – music).

The audio and video footage was distributed over time according to the rhythms and phases of static and extreme dynamism typical of wine production. If the musical part follows a linear path (from the pruning of the vineyard to the cellar), the visual part breaks the linearity by building a narrative of its own. The visual material of the different stages during the creation of the wine is broken down and recreated later by exchanging elements: making hypnotic what is violent and finding a very animated dynamism in apparently calm situations. The same happens in the continuous exchange between the colours and tones of the grapes, the earth and the mechanical processes.

The result is a hallucination of what one goes through during the processing of the grapes, as if it were a stream of sensory consciousness. The visual composition thus adheres to the chaotic nature of the dynamic processes of wine production due to weather and biological conditions that cannot be completely controlled by humans. In a very intimate audio-visual journey, these elements are questioned without distorting the material but to make visible moments that are usually invisible/unheard and at the same time ambiguous.

Roberto Doati, Ivan Penov

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Il suono bianco

(2015) video and electroacoustic music [18’ 10″]

Video: Maurizio Goina

Commissioned by Caseificio Di Nucci 1662, Agnone

The work is the first part of the Trilogy of temporality, a video-music project conceived by Roberto Doati.

The project is divided into three parts: “Il suono bianco” (The white sound), “Il suono rosso” (The red sound) and “Il suono verde” (The green sound). Each part is an audio-visual staging created by a video artist and a composer of electroacoustic music on three important Italian food realities: cheese, wine, vegetables.

  • Why ‘staging’? Because the images and sounds of the territory, of the raw materials, of the processing of each food, become the characters of a narrative that is sometimes fantastic, sometimes pure tale.
  • Time or temporality? The cheese is produced in one day, every day of the year and is consumed both quickly and over a long period. The wine is produced in months but only once a year and is consumed almost exclusively over a long period. The vegetables are produced in different seasons, but are distributed throughout the year and are consumed almost exclusively in a short time. However, the project also alludes to the theme of temporality, a condition of what is opposed to what is eternal, but not devoid of a spirituality peculiar to Italian culture.

Culinary art and musical art have many similarities: there is a tradition made up of recipes (for music: harmony, counterpoint, classical forms), we start from basic materials (sounds) to make them, through countless transformation techniques, complex materials (the sound structures) that aggregate will give life to the final work.Il suono bianco comes from the meeting with a true Master Craftsman: Franco Di Nucci. Every day, for a whole week, we collected images and sounds of the processing in his dairy. Our audiovisual story therefore takes place from the pastures to the arrival of milk, from buttermilk to ricotta, the vapors, the many and different gestures that in the preparation of cheese shape the candid spun dough as if it were material for sculptures, the process of conservation and control aging, tasting. Formally it is divided into five episodes, characterized by an alternation of stillness and rhythm, of external and internal spaces.

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Seppie senz’osso

(2013) video and electroacoustic music [11’ 08″]

Video: Paolo Pachini

Chef: Luigi Zanco

Premiered at “La Storia in piazza- I tempi del cibo”, Torre Grimaldina, April 12th 2014

Seppie senz’osso is the 5th episode from the audiovisual project Titolo segreto per quadrati, tromba fitta, frutti cavi (Secret title for squares, dense trumpet, hollow fruits),  born from the collaboration with the chef Gigi Zanco.

Why cooking? Because Culinary Art and Music have much in common: there is a tradition of recipes (for music: harmony, counterpoint, classical forms) and both start from common basic materials (sounds) to make them, through countless techniques transformation, complex materials (sound structures) that shaped in a form will create the final work. But the Culinary Art also proceeds for variations of shapes, colors, prime matters that pass from one state to another; and then there are the gestures, sometimes delicate, sometimes bloody.

To unravel these sound and visual relationships (and hopefully suggest those linked to the touch and taste), a real movie set was set up where the cook is headed by a director (Paolo Pachini) who through an interpretation, at times surreal, enhances the cultural characteristics of the preparation of various dishes.

Synopsis

The traditional course of the Venice lagoon revisited with ‘Middle Age/Japanese’ imaginary lens. Eyes and ears are driven from the unavoidable cruelty to the clean cutting. Through washing and quick cooking, we arrive to the final geometric arrangement, where all the parts of the sea monsters, together with their worthy companions – bread with the squid’s black ink, white polenta and red pomegranate – find the dignity of magic symbols, fixing in order our appetites. The accompanying music is made by: pomegranate harmonic songs – without words -, smokes that shout at their loudest, warbles of Danish knifes.

Roberto Doati, Paolo Pachini

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Noli me tangere

(2010) video and electroacoustic music [21’50”]

Premiered at Sala Accademia, Conservatorio di musica “Santa Cecilia”, Roma, October 22nd 2013

In this work the link between video and music is based on the idea of contrast. There are 1 Tema and 4 Variations and the tension and the rigidity of the sounds and structures, different in each of the five parts, produce a different perception of the sensuousness, softness and fluidity of the images: falling silk fabrics.

The video editing follows, with a certain degree of freedom, the pitch series of Anton Webern Variations op. 30. By chance I brought 12 fabrics of different colours, but it was enough for me to choose the comfortable guide of musical serialism.

Another important link between video and music is represented here by the software environment I have used. The EyesWeb program tracks several parameters from the video, such as hue, saturation, brightness, center of gravity, etc., and map them to Csound patch for signal processing in real-time. Only the Tema is composed in a traditional way, i.e. editing sounds on the video track according pure musical inspiration.

The Violin you hear is Marco Rogliano (Tema), the Ropes (Variazione 1) are the barges of Berio’s square in the harbour of Genova as recorded by Alessandro Quaranta who I want to thank, the Voice (Variazione 2) is Giorgio Bertan, the Stones and Cloth (Variazione 3 and 4) is me.

In the XV Century Genova, Firenze and Venezia were the three places for silk production. I am bound to them by a deep sense of belonging.

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La scala non procede oltre

(2009) video and live electronics [7’ 02”]

Premiered at Conservatorio di musica “F.A.Bonporti”, Riva del Garda, November 21st 2010

Commissioned by Conservatorio di musica “F.A.Bonporti” di Trento, sede di Riva del Garda

The macrocosm staircase corresponds to the different cognitive faculties: sense, imagination, reason,  discernment, understanding, word. The staircase can’t go any further because…

This work was commissioned by “F.A. Bonporti” Music Conservatory in Trento (Riva del Garda department) in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, in honour of the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observation.

Considering several aspects of our times I think that we are living in an era similar to the Middle Age, so far from the scientific revolutions of XVII Century. Therefore I have realized in sounds and images the Aristotle and Tolomeo’s point of view, where the Earth is the centre of the Universe.

That is why:

  • flat and stiff images alternate on the screen with curved and flexible surfaces;
  • I am using almost entirely blue color (blue stars are the closest to Earth);
  • I am using as sound materials only small excerpts from instrumental (i.e. acoustic) music of the XX Century. It is very usual to make a connection in our mind between electronic sounds and sounds coming from the outer space. For me the sounds in this work represent what one can hear when orbits the Earth.

The music I am playing with all these music is an homage to John Cage, who wrote the closest music to a starry sky. All the sounds are performed in real time changing its pitch and duration according a random numbers generator. The performer is on charge of the musical structure according her/his own “taste”: from very sparse to very dense. Thus there are ideally infinite versions of La scala non procede oltre, or better still as many stars there are in the sky or even better as many stars the human being can discover in the Universe.

My thanks to Luciano Berio, Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Dumitru Fărcaş, Morton Feldman, Charlie Haden, German Kuular, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Charles Mingus, Harry Partch, Andrei Popa, Steve Reich, Alexander Salchak, Giacinto Scelsi, Robert Schumann, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fernando Sor, Edgar Varése, Lui Pui-Yuen, Iannis Xenakis, wishing that copying the Masters out within our hermitages will help to prepare a New Renaissance.

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Sindrome scamosciata

(2008-2009) video and live electronics

“Il transito ostile della luna” [5’ 17”]

Premiered at Riva del Garda, May 3rd 2008

Video & live electronics: Roberto Doati

“Potrete incappare in un contrattempo” [5’17”]

Premiered at : Sala Tartini del Conservatorio “Giuseppe Tartini”, Trieste, November 24th 2010

Video & live electronics: Roberto Doati

“Le stelle suggeriscono nuove opportunità” [5’ 18”]

Premiered at : Sala Tartini del Conservatorio “Giuseppe Tartini”, Trieste, November 24th 2010

Video & live electronics: Roberto Doati

“Vivrete una settimana all’insegna della stabilità” [6’]

Premiered at : Sala Tartini del Conservatorio “Giuseppe Tartini”, Trieste, November 24th 2010

Video & live electronics: Roberto Doati

The videomusic series Sindrome scamosciata is inspired by IPCRESS, my very first encounter with electronic music in 1965. It is a film directed by Sidney Furie, based on a spy novel by Len Deighton, starring Michael Caine who works for some secret agency of the government. IPCRESS stands for “Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned Reflex under strESS”.

Both the visual and sound materials come from a scene where Caine, kidnapped by the Soviet with the help of a British betrayer, is subjected to brainwashing. He is forced to listen to some electronic music and is hurt by a repeated sequence of synthetic images in a sort of guided imagery.

All of my video start with a sequence recalling the IPCRESS one, then becoming a study on image persistence. I realized these images superimposing a holed black cardboard to the screen of my turned-on TV. Shooting in the dark with a very slow shutter and moving quickly the video camera gives rise to luminous traces. An out of context subliminal image appears periodically.

The music is performed and “improvised” on stage within a Csound + Max/MSP environment patch with 21 control parameters to modify the 30 seconds original soundtrack of the brainwashing scene, the base algorithm being a Phase Vocoder analysis-synthesis with 100 oscillators.

In The IPCRESS File book each chapter is headed with a quote from a horoscope, so the title of each piece of my series is extracted from my stars for the day I realize the piece: : “Il transito ostile della luna”, “Potrete incappare in un contrattempo”, “Le stelle suggeriscono nuove opportunità”, “Vivrete una settimana all’insegna della stabilità”.

Thanks to Matteo Ricchetti who was able to transform a remedy to my inexperience with video technology in an improving meaning in Il transito ostile della luna.

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Un avatar del diavolo

(2005) two actors and live electronics. Text by Antonin Artaud (“Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” and other writings, Gallimard Pub.), with a quotation from Visage by Luciano Berio (Universal Edition and courtesy Talia Pecker Berio) [45’]

Premiered at XXLVI Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea, Venezia, September 30th 2005, Arsenale, Teatro Tese delle Vergini)

Project and Music: Roberto Doati

Video: Paolo Pachini (actresses: Marta Paola Richeldi, Shila Anaraki)

Actors on stage: Giorgio Bertan and Marta Paola Richeldi

Stage and Scene Director, text assembler: Giuseppe Emiliani

Light Designer: Mauro Marri

Multimodal System and sensors: InfoMus Lab, DIST-Università di Genova

Stage objects by Charles Eames: vitra

Commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia

Realized with a Fellowship from MacDowell Colony

The term avatar (“misadventure”, but also “metamorphosis”, “incarnation”) is used by Antonin Artaud as subtitle for his last work “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (To have done with the judgement of God). Nowadays avatar is also a virtual double of a human being, a digital alter ego.

So the title wants to indicate the foundations of  my work: the double (God as Lucifer alter ego? Excrements as spirit alter ego?) and digital technology language (Lucifer alter ego?).

Computer technology is my habit of mind, is my double, and I use it here to transform sounds and voices of the two characters (Giorgio Bertan and Marta Paola Richeldi), always on the borderline between logocentrism and melocentrism. I use it to project the sounds into the real space through 10 loudspeakers. «To make metaphysics of the spoken language means […] to break it up and to project it dynamically into the space». I make use of the gestures on the stage, as well as the three screens video projection, capturing them with EyesWeb (InfoMus Lab , DIST-Genova University) and mapping them to synthesis and processing data. Thanks to this technology I can easily realize a full interaction between sounds, signs and actions, combining them in order to make an effective language: the theatre. «Instead to confine these dissonances to one sense area, we will let them go through all the senses, from a colour to a sound, from a single word to a light, from some gestures trepidation to a plain surface of sounds etc. etc.».

An example is given in the 4th scene when the actor is caressing a chair and according the gesture quality, “recognized” by the chair, the actress voice will be affected, also generating different kinds of sigh: desire, pleasure, anguish. On the stage there are three objects to interact with: a chair and a screen by Charles Eames (courtesy Vitra), and a Polish radio, all from the 40s of XX Century.

The choice of such an important text by Artaud is motivated by the will to bring it back to its original context which is so close to the work of Pierre Schaeffer. Artaud was commissioned by the French Radio to create a recorded work, but its broadcasting was prohibited (as well as the later Visage by Luciano Berio, heard in the 5th scene, thanks to Universal Edition and Talia Pecker Berio). On Sept. 4th 1948, six months after Artaud’s death, the Director of Radiodiffusion Française Wladimir Porché, who was responsible for the censorship over “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu”, open the CER, the experimental radio broadcasting center that can be considered the birthplace of the latter Groupe de recherche de musique concrète.

The scene

Two actors on stage.

Three objects: a chair and a screen by Charles Eames (courtesy Vitra), a Polish radio, all from the Forties of XX Century. The chair has 3 hidden microphones to keep track of the gestures over it, the screen has proximity sensors to keep track of the movement around it, the radio has 2 MIDI knobs, 1 MIDI switch and proximity sensors to keep track of the movement around it.

All the information coming from the object is transformed into MIDI signal and used to control the live electronics transformation of the voices.

The videos are projected over 3 screens: two up above the scene, one on the stage.

A scheme of the Venezia stage is included here.

Storyboard

Charles Eames plywood chair, 1946 (Courtesy vitra.)
Charles Eames plywood screen, 1946 (Courtesy vitra.)
Polish radio from the Forties.
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Allegoria dell’opinione verbale

(2000) one actress, electronics and EyesWeb interactive system.

Text by Gianni Revello [10’]

Premiered at Stagione Gran Teatro La Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Venezia, September 26th 2001

Actress: Francesca Faiella

Sound projection and EyesWeb: Roberto Doati

The collection of texts by Gianni Revello from which I have drawn those for this work, provides a free choice, both in number and in order, for its reading / execution. The execution can consist of plain reading, not emphatic, or as you wish, or even assume, with any modality, musical form, or even assume any form: visual, scenic, any other communication code. In making this choice, I made a journey through names, places, themes of my life that I have often shared with Revello. I certainly haven’t built a story with characters immersed in a dramaturgy. My goal was to make evident the occult non-sense of a life without betraying its incongruity.

The protagonist is alone on the stage and she pronounces these names, places, themes, as if she sees them inside herself, as if she remembers them, remembers having known them, lived them. But with the awareness of the inevitability of these images disappearing with every word, every name pronounced. She can’t help but describe them, but she knows that while she does it about her the inner world of her disappears, for this reason she observes herself as she speaks, observes the emptiness that is in her, and that she herself is creating while speak out. This is why she struggles with her split voice: with the movement of her lips she tries to stop her, slows it down, accelerates it, overturns it, deforms it so that reality through the meaning of the word does not come out of her. He knows that reality is an excrement of the spirit (Antonin Artaud), and that describing it is as if she were evacuating. But eventually we realize that herself has meanwhile been filled with the “fat seeds” of our credulity (i grassi semi della credulità). In a sort of cannibalism, she therefore feeds on the listener’s spirituality, on her disappointment: it is enough to continue living (È sufficiente.).

During the performance the actress is seated in front of a TV monitor, looking at herself, but also the audience is looking to her on the stage and what she is looking at as her face is projected on a big screen.

I realized the work using EyesWeb, a software realized by DIST (Laboratory of Musical Informatics-University of Genova). With the help of DIST engineers I prepared a patch that follow the lips (blue coloured) of the actress, sending through MIDI interface to a Csound orchestra informations concerning the height, the width and the area of mouth openness. The small movements are controlling some parameters during the live re-synthesis of the same actress voice to obtain a double of her (the Phase Vocoder analysis files are stored on a computer). So sometimes you hear the “second” voice speaking backwards words, while the actress is just moving the lips. The lips movements can control the speed and the pitch of the “second” voice and as well as 50 bandpass filters and 50 delay applied to the frequency component of the voice.

Allegoria dell’opinione verbale, preliminary studies. Actress: Francesca Faiella.

Text

The text is taken from the anthology ”Il titolo a piacere segue le note” by Gianni Revello

The bold letters indicate the happening of a more or less extraneous event

Se s’immagina che racconto la mia vita
solo per far passare il tempo a qualcuno.
Ancora quattro settimane prima ero una creatura.
Polvere di marmo, calore, fatica,
fulmini, tuoni. Scuotono gli orecchi-ni-chelati.
E corse a casa con la testa in fiamme. Questo è il Lavoro!
Pace. Si guarda il polsino,
che cosa sta facendo quell’ape che indugia attorno alla mia scarpa?

Biologia e computer.
Immaginiamo una città enorme,
in cui ogni casa abbia diecimila linee telefoniche,
che la connettono con diecimila altre case,
che se ne stanno a loro volta su banchi di corallo inestesi
non fuori del comune.
Come emerge dalle pubblicazioni popolari
“A proposito, come stai a denaro?”
il divario tra ciò che una cosa è
e cosa non è
tromba divien l’oggetto ov’ei risoffia.
Ricapitoliamo,
se gioca un bluff, posso giocarlo anch’io,
in che consiste la differenza?

Io, UUUUU, dico per esempio:
ora, appoggiato a un pilastro,
emetterò da più fonti ottantotto grida altissime
e un bisbiglio
‘Phà!
SSSSS
al centro della sala
lascia cadere giù i due sacchi.
Urla, fischi, trombette.
Non mi sembra che vi sia un nesso.

Venezia ciclopica immobile
scimmia dalla fisionomia sua mimetica
forata da poche finestre le gambe deformi
s’impone, puttanangola, a esempio edificante
l’uomo che ha sognato l’Atlantide
l’ha fatta anche scomparire

Il privilegio della coincidenza in Heisenberg,
trasmesso per calli e tempeste,
compare nelle lezioni di scienza divulgativa.

La fisica ha un’affinità
con l’inutile chiamata in una bizzarra commedia notturna.
Nulla scassinato all’alba.

Il fascino del vecchio attore, lo zoccolo.
La gioventù, lente le spalle,
che esige la palude del sapere.

Confesso
che comporre un titolo segreto
per voci, tromba fitta, frutti cavi
dà da
riflettere.

L’intellettuale ha una resistenza alla scelta del bagno
parallela a quella per la conversazione.
Sicuro inverno, bagno modesto.

Il silenzio, per TTT, è aberrante.
Comporre a misura d’ape,
lo strepito della fantascienza
– odori seducenti.

In mezzo agli strumenti,
la musica,
indipendente,
partecipa da lontano, media,
immediata,
per un pezzo bendato, non sospesa.

M gira,
vagamente nervoso,
alla riva
contempla l’infinito,
allegoria dell’opinione
verbale.

Circa nove mesi dopo
cadde in un sonno profondo, sulfureo.
L’inattività delle infiorescenze,
la linea squisita del mento e del collo,
brezza, etere, deriva.
Rapidamente diminuì il suo vocabolario.
Tra angeli di marmo,
fece un cenno al figlio, si turbò.
In breve tempo le buone leggi lo snervarono.
Dal microfono
a strattoni,
un eccentrico motivo
color rosso scuro.

Il respiro della vallata, a ponente,
bianchi rosicchiando anni, ordini,
sospeso, interrogativo, d’impermeabile.
VV riavvolto
chiama la musica del possibile
il genere pagato.
Lo diverte.
La tela di profilo.

Basta lacrime.
Il monte inginocchiato alla vallata.
Le feste lunari hanno il sapore sbattuto delle musiche moderne.
RR non ne capiva il canto, il respiro.

Un momento.
Attenzione.
Ritmo a balzi.
Lo spazio del classico.
Comprensione infantile, favolosa. PP.

Da un pezzo
il lettore sperpera i grassi semi della credulità
mentre brucia di delusione.
È sufficiente.

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A rule of thumb. Omaggio a JD

(2014) live electronics solo (8 tracks) [indefinite duration]

Premiered at Festival « Nuova Consonanza », Roma, December 3rd 2014

The work stems from an invitation from James Dashow to participate in the celebrations for his 70 years that Nuova Consonanza organized in Rome in 2014.

Instead of proposing an already made composition, it seemed to me most respectful of Dashow’s  contributions to electronic music and of the high consideration I have for the most valuable advices James has lavished generously at the beginning of my career as a composer in Padova, to create a new composition.

Most of the music material is made up with 5 fragments (all synthetic sounds) from his In winter shine (1983). The spectral components that I get from the analysis are used to synthesize in real-time pitches and timbres through processes similar to those used by James in his Dyad System, but not with the same accuracy. I used somewhat a heuristic principle defined as  “rule of thumb”. This is because many years ago I suggested to James to apply a “rule of thumb” for a composition on the sound quality of a pan struck with the thumb whose timbre fascinated him so much. Today I recorded these kind of sounds and their convolution with the synthetic sounds from James’ composition, will end this music of mine wishing to express all my affectionate gratitude to JD.

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La presentazione del piatto

(2013) live electronics in the kitchen. Chef: Luigi Zanco [indefinite duration]

This composition originates from sound material used in the last three minutes of “Seppie senz’osso” (“Cuttlefish without bone”), 5th episode of the audiovisual cooking project Titolo segreto per quadrati, tromba fitta, frutti cavi (Secret title for squares, dense trumpet, hollow fruits),  born from the collaboration with the chef Gigi Zanco and the video composer Paolo Pachini. Why cooking? Because Culinary Art and Music have much in common: there is a tradition of recipes (for music: harmony, counterpoint, classical forms) and both start from common basic materials (sounds) to make them, through countless techniques transformation, complex materials (sound structures) that shaped in a form will create the final dish (music).

The final part of Seppie senz’osso is, in fact, the presentation of the dish. Contained in the visual space that Paolo Pachini had destined for it in the architecture of the entire video, it had stimulated in me the generation of a greater quantity of materials than was necessary. So I thought of processing in real time this material according an improvisation for an autonomous form, independent of visual and gastronomic suggestions.