EVERY NOKIA TUNE

"Every Nokia Tune" is made up of a 10TB hard drive, filled with all 6,227,020,800 possible combinations of the Nokia Tune ringtone. This melody, the most ubiquitous piece of music ever, is heard 20,000 times per second around the world. The piece was created in collaboration with the Holland Computing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln using the Open Science Grid, a network of supercomputers.

The original Nokia Tune melody

Using custom-written software, the original 13-note melody is reorganized into every possible permutation, which are stored on a 10TB hard drive. The drive itself is all that is shown and has no power or data cables — the complex, useable data becomes a sculptural form. It becomes like a crystal, a careful lattice with a very specific structure, though the crystal's internal form cannot be readily seen.

Everything of something is more than just all of something: by creating all possible ringtones, as opposed to remixing the notes into a dance track (for example), the subjective decision-making is removed. No aesthetic decisions needed: just make all possible works. More than that, however, the every possible permutation of a set creates a new form that is separate from any individual permutation but that is an ontological summation of the original source.

This form of remix does not "significantly transform the original" as copyright law allows, but in its excessive scale becomes a useless archive that is no longer a functional object, a site within which is contained a massive, nearly architectural structure of data on a microscopic byte-scale.

Created with the generous assistance of David Swanson and Adam Caprez while artist-in-residence at the Holland Computing Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an interesting technical note, if run on a typical desktop computer, this project would have taken approximately 11 years to complete.

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