a history of the domino problem is a performance-installation that traces the history of an epistemological problem in mathematics about how things that one could never imagine fitting together, actually come together and unify in unexpected ways. The work comprises a set of musical compositions and a kinetic sculpture that sonify and visualize rare tilings (more commonly known as mosaics) constructed from dominoes. The dominoes in these tilings are similar yet slightly different than those used in the popular game of the same name. As opposed to rectangles divided into two regions with numbers between 1 and 6, they are squares where each of the 4 edges is assigned a number (typically represented by a corresponding color or alternatively, pattern) called Wang tiles. Like in the game, the rule is that edges of adjacent dominoes in a tiling must match.
The tilings sonified and visualized in a history of the domino problem are rare because there is no systematic way to find them. This is due to the fact that they are aperiodic. One can think of an aperiodic tiling as an infinite puzzle with a peculiar characteristic: given unlimited copies of dominoes with a finite set of color/pattern combinations for the edges, on can form a tiling that expands infinitely. However, in that solution, any repeating structure in the tiling will eventually be interrupted. This phenomenon is one of the most intriguing aspects of the work. As the music and the visuals are derived from the tilings, the resulting textures are always shifting ever so slightly.
The original Domino Problem asked if there exists an algorithm/computer program that, when given as input a finite set of dominoes with varying color combinations for the edges, can output a binary answer, `yes' or `no', whether or not copies of that set can form an infinite tiling. The problem was first posed by Hao Wang in 1961, who conjectured that the answer is positive and that such an algorithm does exist. The existence of aperiodic tilings would mean that such an algorithm does not exist. However, in 1964, his student, Robert Berger, proved him wrong by discovering an infinite, aperiodic tiling constructed with copies of a set of 20,426 dominoes. The resolution of Wang's original question led to new questions and mathematicians took on the challenge of finding the smallest set of dominoes that would construct an infinite aperiodic tiling. Over the past 60 years, this number has been continually reduced with the contributions of many different mathematicians until the most recent discovery of a set of 11 dominoes along with a proof that no smaller sets exist. It is a remarkable narrative/history of a particular epistemological problem that challenged a group of people not only to solve it, but to understand it to the extent possible.
My practice as a composer and sound artist is diverse, ranging from music created by digital and acoustic instruments to installations and kinetic sculptures. Each piece typically explores one simple process and often reflects various related interests of mine such as phenomenology, mathematics, epistemology, algorithmic information theory, and the history of science. To me, everything we experience is computable. Given this digital philosophy, I acknowledge even my most open works as algorithmic; and, while not always apparent on the surface of any given piece, the considerations of computability and epistemology are integral to my practice. I often reconcile epistemological limits with artistic practicality by considering and addressing the limits of computation from an artistic and experiential vantage point and by collaborating with other artists, mathematicians, and scientists in order to integrate objects, ideas, and texts from various domains as structural elements in my pieces. My work also aims to subvert discriminatory conventions and hierarchies by exploring alternative forms of presentation and interaction, often with minimal resources and low information.
My work has been presented at venues and festivals throughout the world such as REDCAT, in Los Angeles; the Ostrava Festival of New Music in the Czech Republic; Tsonami Arte Sonoro Festival in Valparaiso, Chile; the Huddersfield New Music Festival in the United Kingdom; and Umbral Sesiones at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Oaxaca, Mexico. Recordings of my music have been released by XI Records, Another Timbre, New World Records, Edition Wandelweiser, Bahn Mi Verlag, Tsonami Records, and Pogus Productions. In 2008, I co-founded the wulf., a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to experimental performance and art. From 2018 to 2019, I was a fellow / artist-in-residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. I currently reside in Berlin.