Knowles, Julian D. & Hewitt, Donna G. (2006) Amphibian. [Live Performance (Music)]


Amphibian is an 10’00’’ musical work which explores new musical interfaces and approaches to hybridising performance practices from the popular music, electronic dance music and computer music traditions. The work is designed to be presented in a range of contexts associated with the electro-acoustic, popular and classical music traditions.

The work is for two performers using two synchronised laptops, an electric guitar and a custom designed gestural interface for vocal performers - the e-Mic (Extended Mic-stand Interface Controller). This interface was developed by one of the co-authors, Donna Hewitt. The e-Mic allows a vocal performer to manipulate the voice in real time through the capture of physical gestures via an array of sensors - pressure, distance, tilt - along with ribbon controllers and an X-Y joystick microphone mount. Performance data are then sent to a computer, running audio-processing software, which is used to transform the audio signal from the microphone. In this work, data is also exchanged between performers via a local wireless network, allowing performers to work with shared data streams.

The duo employs the gestural conventions of guitarist and singer (i.e. 'a band' in a popular music context), but transform these sounds and gestures into new digital music. The gestural language of popular music is deliberately subverted and taken into a new context. The piece thus explores the nexus between the sonic and performative practices of electro acoustic music and intelligent electronic dance music (‘idm’).

This work was situated in the research fields of new musical interfacing, interaction design, experimental music composition and performance. The contexts in which the research was conducted were live musical performance and studio music production. The work investigated new methods for musical interfacing, performance data mapping, hybrid performance and compositional practices in electronic music.

The research methodology was practice-led. New insights were gained from the iterative experimental workshopping of gestural inputs, musical data mapping, inter-performer data exchange, software patch design, data and audio processing chains.

In respect of interfacing, there were innovations in the design and implementation of a novel sensor-based gestural interface for singers, the e-Mic, one of the only existing gestural controllers for singers. This work explored the compositional potential of sharing real time performance data between performers and deployed novel methods for inter-performer data exchange and mapping.

As regards stylistic and performance innovation, the work explored and demonstrated an approach to the hybridisation of the gestural and sonic language of popular music with recent ‘post-digital’ approaches to laptop based experimental music

The development of the work was supported by an Australia Council Grant. Research findings have been disseminated via a range of international conference publications, recordings, radio interviews (ABC Classic FM), broadcasts, and performances at international events and festivals. The work was curated into the major Australian international festival, Liquid Architecture, and was selected by an international music jury (through blind peer review) for presentation at the International Computer Music Conference in Belfast, N. Ireland.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 26746
Item Type: Creative Work (Live Performance (Music))
Refereed: No
Funders: Australia Council for the Arts
Measurements or Duration: 10'00"
Location: From date: To date:
Liquid Architecture 7, Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane, Australia 2006-07-01
Liquid Architecture 7, Performance Space, Sydney, Australia 2006-07-06
Liquid Architecture 7, Arts House, Melbourne, Australia 2006-07-14, PELT Gallery, Sydney, Australia 2006-08-25
Great Escape Festival, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia 2006-04-16
Sonorities Festival/ICMC2008, Mandela Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK 2008-08-27
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Electronic Music, Laptop Performance, Gestural Controller, Experimental Music, Popular Music
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Electronic Media Art (190203)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Music Composition (190406)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Music Performance (190407)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Past > Schools > Music & Sound
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Julian Knowles and Donna Hewitt
Deposited On: 11 Aug 2009 01:36
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:31

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