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Both revealing and correcting the history of interactive computer music, the author demonstrates how socio-musical networks that include machines as central actors create a virtual sociality that both challenges and sheds light on more traditional human-human models of the social. Efforts to design improvising machine systems that manifest features such as autonomy, individuality, subjectivity, and musical uniqueness employed a range of bricolage and homegrown techniques that themselves were seen as resistant to assorted institutional hegemonies. The creation of computers that respond sonically in real time in ways that suggest the presence of behavior, decision making, and personality was equally the creation of a new kind of cultural practice that required, and still requires, the articulation of an aesthetic capable of both describing and understanding the resultant machine-machine and machine-human creative interactions. The history of the design, development, and implementation of interactive machine systems is shown also to be a history of theorizing the interweaving of the social, the improvisatory, and the aesthetic.

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