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Hail the Happy Accident: An Interview with Mike Cooper

Grayson Cooke

Published: 2011-12-07

Mike Cooper is a consummate musician and improviser, an eclectic artist described by Room40's Lawrence English as “post-everything.” In this interview, my aim is to tease out Mike's approach to improvisation, and especially improvisation with digital tools, and in collaboration with visual artists. As a visualist, my practice is very much driven by digital technologies, by software and hardware, and the possibilities – and difficulties – such equipment provides. Because my work is audio-visual, and is frequently produced in collaboration, I am also always in dialogue with sound artists, and with sound as such, and have therefore evolved a practice of live visuals which is very much focused on how my visuals relate to the sound being produced. With this interview, my aim is to flip this around and find out how a sound artist approaches working with visualists.

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Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis