Semi-finalist in the Guthman competitionI was very happy to receive the news that The Motion Composer, with my Particles environment in particular, was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2016 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. The judges this year are Path Metheny (!), Alan Koznin and Marcello Wanderley (IDMIL, McGill).
The Motion Composer team is also happy to hear these good words from the coordinators: "This year’s competition received a record number of submissions, and the work of this year’s semi-finalists represents the very best in new instrument design, engineering, and musicality." (Leslie Bennet, coordinator at Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology)
Workshops Ringve Museum, NTNU and FourMsDuring Robert Wechsler's visit to Norway in October 2015 we did three workshops during six days; two in Trondheim and one in Oslo. All of them involved Motion Composer and as a part of that, my work with the Particles environment.
As a part of a collaboration between Music Technology NTNU, Ringve Museum and Ladesletta helse- og velferdssenter we arranged a full-day workshop October 8 for two user groups from Ladesletta. The first group consisted of users with disabilities and the second was a group of users with dementia. The workshop was very well received by both groups, even if we learned that the group with dementia could be engaged for a shorter time period than expected. This is a little bit of the feedback from the users:
- Just the thing for me!
- The only way I can make music with just me
- Want to do this more
- I made music with just one hand
Below is a picture with two of the male users from Ladesletta with two of the leaders, Marit Brodal and Ann Helen Hay Rřdli.
The workshop led to interest from the national organization for the occupational therapists (aktivitřrer), and a subsequent interview that will be published in the Delta magazine (also online: http://www.delta.no/)
The second workshop was open to students and employees at NTNU along with other people interested in motion tracking used in interactive dance. 14 participants took part in three sessions, dealing with practical issues regarding video based motion tracking (EyeCon and Motion Composer) and aesthetical issues and issues of mapping. Unfortunately, we took no pictures from the event.
The third workshop was held in the FourMs lab at UiO, by invitation from Alexander Jensenius, the Head of Department at Musicology. Eight participants, mostly students and staff with a connection to the lab, took part in a two hour workshop, dealing mostly with issues related to sound-movement relationships, mapping and technology, both on a more general level and more specific to Motion Composer.
Below is a pitcture of one of the participants playing the Motion Composer.
Article in Journal of the Art of Record Production
Me and my colleague at the Music Technology program at NTNU, Trond Engum, have written an article in the 10th issue of Journal of the Art of Record Production based on our conference paper for the ARP2014 conference in Oslo (see post below). The title of the article is Unheard Sounds: The Aesthetics of Inaudible Sounds Made Audible, and describes our work with recording sounds with ultrasonic content, and then transposing it down to the audible range. Read the article online here.
NIME 2015 performance
As a part of NIME 2015 performance program, together with corepgrapher Robert Wechsler I presented a five-dancer version of Jeu de modes, with several of the elements from the Hi-Dance version, but where the musical material was made more coherent. Five local dancers did a marvellous job with combining Robert's coreography with their own improvisations. I will present the video from the NIME organizer's as soon as it is ready.
NIME 2015 paper presentation
The international conference New Interfaces of Musical Expression, NIME 2015, was this year hosted by Luisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge and gathered a colourful bunch of people interested in new instruments, interaction, mobile audio technology, robotics, spatialization, musical gesture and many other interesting topics. The conference was one-track, with presentations in the morning and afternoon, with poster- and demo-sessions in between. R. Luke Dubois and Sile O'Modhrain held very engaging and interesting keynotes. Together with my colleage Robert Wechsler I presented a paper entitled "Composing Interactive Dance Pieces for the MotionComposer, a device for Persons with Disabilities". Here is the abstract:
"The authors have developed a new hardware/software device for persons with disabilities (the MotionComposer), and in the process created a number of interactive dance pieces for non- disabled professional dancers. The paper briefly describes the hardware and motion tracking software of the device before going into more detail concerning the mapping strategies and sound design applied to three interactive dance pieces. The paper concludes by discussing a particular philosophy championing transparency and intuitiveness (clear causality) in the interactive relationship, which the authors apply to both the device and to the pieces that came from it."
The whole paper can be downloaded here.
Affordances of Symbiosis took place in Weimar March 5-6 2015. After the initial workshop (see post below), the conference started with a welcome by Metabody coordinator Jaime del Val- Reverso followed by a very strong keynote by disability culture activist and scholar, Petra Kuppers. Then there were presentations by several people with or without affiliation with the Metabody project. Among them was my own paper, entitled 'Aspects of Digital Affordances: Openness, Skill and Exploration', which attempted to map out two different aspects of digital affordances and relate these to both the discourse on NIMEs, John Cage's music and my own work with the Motion Composer. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the second day of the conference.
A video showing some of the activities taking place at the conference can be seen here.
The fourth Motion Composer workshop was this time integrated with the International Metabody Forum (IMF) and held in Weimar under the heading Affording Difference: Workshop with Composers and Persons with Other Abilities. During March 2-4 days groups of people with other abilities came in and participated at the workshops, where we worked together with Motion Composer. Only me, Ives Schachtschabel and Giacomo Lepri was there of the composers this time. As always, we got to test out new features with the workshop participants. Above is a picture of Stefi in a session with Motion Composer's Josepha Dietz.
By invitation, me and Robert Wechsler were invited to Rome to do an adapted version of Jeu de modes at Hi>Dance Festival, February 2015. We were fortunate to work with the exceptionally talented dancers Dario Rigaglia, Serena Mannella and Jasmine Melrose. The festival has put out a promo video with excerpts from the performance, and the section showing clips from the performance can be seen here. Il Messagero covered the festival, also mentioning il "musicologo norvegese" in their article. Funny!
The day before the performance we held a workshop with focus on both our work with interactive dance and with Motioncomposer. Here, a picture with Francesca Fini, the festival chair.
NTNU has decided that health, welfare and technology is a strategic thematic area for the university in the period 2014-2023. The Faculty of Humanities branch of HEVET held a seminar February 12 where different researchers with affiliation to the area presented their projects. My presentation was entitled "Bevegelse, musikk og uttrykksglede hos personer med og uten funksjonshemminger" (Motion, music and joy of expression for people with and without disabilities). The presentation slides can be seen in .pdf version here.
Me and colleague Trond Engum gave a presentation at The Art of Record Production 2014 conference in Oslo, December 6th entitled Unheard Sounds: The aesthetics of inaudible sounds made audible.
Abstract: In the recording industry, the quest for the ultimate high fidelity sound reproduction
has spurred the use of digital formats with ultra-high definition, in particular with bit
resolution and sampling frequencies well above the CD-standards of 16-bit/44.1kHz.
While the benefits of ultra-high sampling frequencies are debated, we will
demonstrate how recording in the ultra-sonic range can have aesthetic potential.
In the project Unheard Sounds we have recorded a range of concrete sound sources
using a microphone sensitive up to 100kHz sampling the signal at192kHz. The same
signal has also been sampled at 48kHz for comparison. With these recordings as our
basis, our presentation will focus on our investigations of:
a) the differences between using 48KHz and 192KHz for different processes and
applications. For which processing strategies and perception modes does ultra-high
sampling rates achieve results that industry standard won’t achieve? At this point, we
have shown how a simple technique as downward transposition by re-sampling,
where transpositions of one octave or more, results in clearly audible differences
between the two.
b) transpositions of ultrasound as compositional material. Which sonic structures and
qualities are found above the human hearing threshold for different sound sources?
Filtering out all audible frequencies and then transposing the ultra-sonic frequencies
down to the audible range has opened up for exploration of musical potential in an
c) recording strategies for sounds above our hearing threshold. Is it possible to
navigate microphone placement without monitoring the sounds, and do the sound
sources we choose even represent information in the ultra-sonic range?
d) composing/producing a musical piece based on the findings. The recordings of
different concrete sounds and findings related to transposition will be categorized in a
sample library. This sample library will be used for further processing and as building
blocks in a short composition/production.
Sound examples will be published at a separate web site at a later stage.
is a little project I had which was associated with the Hiperorgânicos IV event at the NANO lab at EBA in Rio fall 2013. This event broadcasted a lot of sensor data from plants in their in-house terrarium over the internet, so that it could be streamed from locations all around the world. Being located in Norway, where it was late autumn at the time, I found it appropriate to create a kind of distant organic echo using dead leaves, and then let the leaves be animated by an electric fan, which was controlled by the data from the terrarium in Rio. The sound of the leaves rustling was picked up by piezo and condensator microphones, gently processed and accompanied by a discreet drone. The sound was then supposed to be streamed back to the NANO labs terrarium for the plants to enjoy. However, due to technical problems in Rio, the audio streaming was never effectuated. Eirik Havnes was so kind to assist me with soldering and rigging the microphones. The video can be found here.
Performance at ICMC/SMC2014 in Athens
Being accepted to the ICMC/SMC conference with Jeu de mode we had the challenge of finding funds for bringing the three required dancers there. When our attempts failed, we instead decided to present a piece based on recordings of a Chinese poem by the Weimar based opera singer Fang Hao. This resulted in a two part study in interactive dance which we called Songshan Mountain, after the title of the poem. It was put together and rehearsed during the three first days of the conference and presented at a night concert September 17. The first part was coreographed while the second was structured improvisation. Robert Wechsler danced and coreographed while I made the music. The Norwegian Embassy in Athens were so kind to sponsor our accomodation, and had a nice little article about the performance on their website.
After an invitation from Madeleine Shapiro I had the pleasure of playing two pieces at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival June 3 and 4. The first performance was Jeu de modes featuring dancers Jossia Clement, Annika Dörr and Teoma Naccarato with coreography by Robert Wechsler.
In the second performance the same dancers performed La dance II, a piece I developed in collaboration with cellist Madeleine Shapiro and Robert Wechsler using live sampling and treatment of live cello sound along with motion tracking of dancers and cellist.
May 30 the Department of Contemporary Dance at Concordia featured a performance of Jeu de modes, with dancers Annika Dörr, Jossia Clement, and Teoma Naccarato.Jeu de modes is an interactive dance piece I composed and Robert Wechsler coreographed exploring ranges of dynamic in expressive gesture – from small discrete finger movements, medium sized "conversational" gestures, to large, energetic swipes and explosive outbursts – and how these movements can be interpreted sonically. The title plays on the composer Francois Bayle’s theoretical work regarding the phenomenology of listening and acousmatic music – music without visual sound sources. The piece utilizes TOF (time-of-flight) sensor technology and custom-built software implemented in MotionComposer. With exception of the fixed intro, the piece is entirely composed with csound. An edited video of the performance can be found at https://vimeo.com/113473411. Listen to an audio excerpt here.
2014: May the 29th me and Robert Wechsler had a workshop at Concordia University Montréal aimed at dance, music and technology professionals and students. We also had generous assistance from Teoma Naccarato (who hosted and organized the event), Jossia Clement and Annika Dörr who danced an excerpt from "Jeu de Modes" as an opening of the workshop. Robert talked about his artistic work and followed up with the more recent work with motion composer. I had a short technical session explaining the general functionality of the EyesWeb component of Motion Composer along and the csound component of the Particles environment. The fun began when we divided the group into two and let them play with each their Motion Composer system. The participants, many of them dance students, were very good at exploring the environments and they were so caught up in it that the problem was actually to make them stop moving and dancing. A lot of fun! We closed the workshop with an open conversation/discussion where many interesting points and experiences came up.
Together with Robert Wechsler, Teoma Naccarato, Annika Dörr and Jossia Clement I held a workshop at the C.A.R.E centre in Montréal using the Motion Composer May the 27th (2014). The participants from C.A.R.E were a group of great people with a positive attitude and curiosity for this strange piece of soundmaking technology we brought with us. Since they were exclusively wheel chair users they mostly worked with the chair versions of the environments of the Motion Composer. Many of them played great solos, especially Frank, who played an amazing solo on Tonality, shaping out beautiful musical phrases with nuance and dynamics, often reminding of Liszt. The picture below is taken at another event.
Ives Schachtschabel, was introduced, and we greatly enjoyed his improved version of the Tonality environment.