[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Sophia Brueckner — Code That Sings Itself

Artist Statement

C++ code, sound.

This C++ program maps its own code structure to sounds that recorded using only the built-in microphone on an iMac. The artist recorded samples of herself singing, typing, pushing on the desk, tapping on the computer, and breathing. The program goes through its own code line by line using the characters, whitespace, punctuation, and line length to generate the music. Strong programming is elegant and concise, and, like a poem, it makes good use of whitespace. This piece translates how programmers describe their work, strangely poetic, into sound, but it unexpectedly does so with a female voice.

  • Sophia Brueckner, born in Detroit, MI, USA, is a futurist artist/designer/engineer. Inseparable from computers since the age of two, she believes she is a cyborg. As a software engineer at Google, she built products used by tens of millions. She received her MFA from RISD and MS from the MIT Media Lab where she investigated the simultaneously empowering and controlling aspects of technology with a focus on wearables. At the University of Michigan, she teaches Sci-Fi Prototyping, a course combining sci-fi, prototyping, and ethics. Her work has been featured internationally by Artforum, SIGGRAPH, The Atlantic, Wired, NPR, Eyeo, Smithsonian Magazine, Portugal’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, and more. Brueckner is the founder and creative director of Tomorrownaut, a creative studio focusing on speculative futures and sci-fi- inspired prototypes. Her ongoing objective is to combine her background in art, design, and engineering to inspire a more positive future. sophiabrueckner.com