Developing Ideas (Performance)

Of all the sections, the initial process of formulating creative ideas for delivering effective and interesting performance works should, in theory, be the least likely to benefit from the application of digital tools. If it is accepted that the initial intellectual creative process should be ‘ideas-led’ rather than ‘technology-led’, then the scope for using the capabilities of software or hardware as a basis for the dramatic or artistic impact of any given piece decreases. That having been said, knowledge of the up-to-date capabilities of systems may lead to a situation where an original idea is enhanced by the possibilities offered by technology, so there is a complex relationship between these two positions.

At a recent Methods Network workshop, ‘Advanced Technologies for Collaborative Performance’, ( some of the participants were introduced to a range of sensor equipment that could be used in conjunction with Max/MSP and SuperCollider software, in order to experiment with new ways of generating sound signals. This workshop was an interesting example of the way that technology and imaginative thinking can become entwined to the point where it is difficult to discern if the outcome was technology or ideas-led. An account of a project undertaken by one of the workshop groups refers to the use of an obsolete upright piano which was resurrected by the introduction of sensors, microphones and speakers into the fabric of the piano, allowing the keyboard to once again function as a signal input device and the body of the piano to act as a resonating chamber.

Fig. 1 Image from ’The Prosthetic Piano Party’ project, Cambridge Anglia Ruskin UniversityFig. 1 Image from ’The Prosthetic Piano Party’ project, Cambridge Anglia Ruskin University

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