Stephen A. Taylor
School of Music
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The author’s current project combines modern interactive performance technology and web-based hypermedia technology to create a new kind of multimedia work, a musical setting of E. E. Cummings’ brief poem “(featherrain).” The work explores and develops various modes of interacting with musical, narrative and poetic structure. By combining elements of these disparate media, a qualitatively different kind of artwork emerges that realizes in a new way the artistic possibilities of multimedia and the internet.

(featherrain) is meant to be experienced by a single person sitting at a computer, similar to a computer game but with the emphasis on music, painting, and poetry. It is built with Max/MSP, an object-oriented musical environment for MIDI and digital audio released by the company Cycling 74. By hiding the Max elements and covering them with large graphics (paintings and animations), the interactive mechanisms are transparent to the user, making the technology suitable for other kinds of multimedia presentations.