The Wandering Mind is an AI-powered performance platform for shaping dreams with the sounds of our world. Sampling tiny fragments of sound from tens of thousands of global field recordings found online, the system generates a winding sound journey for sleeping and meditating audiences.
In our curated performances, group naps and guided mind-wanderings, dream guides convene a collective action of sleeping together. Drawing largely from found sound of parks and public spaces across the world, we respond to the past years, in which stay-at-home orders have torn old social fabrics and mass uprisings have constituted new ones, and through which digital and physical public space has played a pivotal and transformative role.
In this special presentation, entitled “Field Sketches from Imaginary Travels,” Wandering Mind guest performer Xiao Xiao combines the live micro-sampled soundscapes with improvisational theremin, keyboard, and vocals. Like an artist on a nature stroll who copies interesting visual forms as gestures in a sketchbook, Xiao weaves impromptu compositions of sonic gestures by transcribing and elaborating seeds from the ambient auditory surroundings.
Support for the Wandering Mind comes from Ars Electronica and the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab (AILab), which granted the artists a residency in 2019, as well as from the Onassis Foundation and MAXMachina. Special thanks to residency hosts Mariano Sardon, Rocio Pilar and MUNTREF Arte-Ciencia, Buenos Aires. Nicholas Gillian and Nan Zhao contributed extensive creative and engineering support early on. Academic research and development on the Wandering Mind platform is underway at DVIC, Paris, with the support of Pôle Leonard de Vinci. Creative Commons licensed and public domain source material for the AI-powered sampler comes largely from the contributors to Radio Aporee, and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.