for Improvising Musicians on piano, double bass and drums



Žižek!? is an alternative soundtrack to the Žižek!(2005) documentary by Astra Taylor about Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. It consists of a computer-mediated-performance for three improvising musicians performing on piano, double bass and drums. Each improviser has a laptop in front of them, connected through a computer network, by which the improvisers receive individual written directions, timing instructions, score animations (moving graphical notation) and through headphones an aural score that consists of music they have to interact with.The result is a real-time multimedia score that is synchronized with the film and is driven by a computer programmes written in SuperCollider.The improvisers receive seven different written directions through the laptop displays, telling them how they should react during the performance: 1. Silence : Don't play (or stop playing). 2. Like : Imitate the music coming from the headphones. 3.With : Play together with the music coming from the headphones. 4. Free : Free to improvise at will. 5. Solo : Improvise a solo. 6. Unlike : Play in opposition to the music coming from the headphones. 7.Without : Improvise ignoring the sound from the headphones.The letters of the written directions are also color coded using the three colors of a traffic light: the Silence direction is always in red meaning the improvisers should stop playing at that point and the other directions are displayed in green when they should play and yellow when the Silence direction is about to come.The performers also receive a written indication of which scene of the film is playing at a specific moment in time.The letters of these indications are in blue while a specific scene is playing but turn pink just before the next scene is about to start.

Selected performance 

9/06/2009 Alexander Hawkins (piano), Dominic Lash (double bass) and Javier Carmona (drums), The Sound Source, Kings Place, London, UK


Žižek!? - short description


Žižek!? Project @ GitHub

Algorithmic Score Class @ GitHub


Piano part

Bass part

Drum part

Score Demo

Animations Demo





Alexander Hawkins - piano

Dominic Lash - double bass

Javier Carmona - drums

Federico Reuben - concept, composition, computer programming

Žižek! documentary by Astra Taylor, 2005.