[NetBehaviour] Visceral circuitry emergent body

Marco Donnarumma lists at marcodonnarumma.com
Tue Feb 18 11:02:12 CET 2014

Hi James,

Just curious if it's also possible to get the noise of fluids moving
> around the body, such as blood and joint fluids? Also bone vibration
> pickup? (ie when wearing ear-plugs one becomes quite aware
> of how much noise (ie footsteps) is transmitted through bone, though
> perhaps you don't want to turn it into a Stomp)...

yes, you're correct. Human bioacoustics is a rich, organic sonic landscape.
The Xth Sense has a threshold system, whereby the performer/composer can
choose the instrument  level of sensitivity. In this performance, Ominous,
the sensitivity level is set so to isolate and capture mostly the muscle
sounds. By increasing the sensitivity, one can hear blood flowing, bones
crackling, and other sounds propagating through the bones. It is very easy
to capture the heartbeat as well, if the Xth Sense is positioned adequately.

You can think of this feature as a means to create a compositional sound
palette. In Hypo Chrysos [1], I use blood flow and bones crackling along
with muscle sound, and in Nigredo [2] an automatic system uses the
visitor's heartbeat, breathing, muscle and blood sound.  In [radical], a
project by Heidi Boisvert [3], we used different sounds from 5 dancers.
Each of them was a separate instrument, although their sensor data were
networked. We designed specific sensing costumes and set different
sensitivity for each dancer.

Another interesting aspect is that those sounds are "playable", rather than
being the evidence of a feedback. With adequate training one can learn how
to mediate with the body in order to achieve specific sounds which, in
turn, will "excite" the machine system. It's not about achieving "control"
over the computational technology, but rather, it is about mediation of
one's own body through a sensing, artificially intelligent machine. That's
where the emergent aspect of the performance, the system, and perhaps the
practice as well, lies.

> And curious as to whether the range of sound - new sounds (tone) come in
> roughly half way or more through, is this a software parameter changing
> or caused by the flexing of muscle not flexed until then? How many
> muscles are being sensed?
The sensed muscles are the ones of each forearm. Including finger tendons.
But the sounds produced by the tension of the limbs, the legs and torso,
propagate through the whole body and are captured by the instrument as
well. This affords for subtle whole-body interaction.

For the Xth Sense I coded a sensing timeline. At first, it looks like a
traditional timeline where the composer/performer place new events to be
triggered at a given point in time. The difference is that the Xth Sense
timeline includes a digital neural network that recognises in real time
different muscular states, namely, if I'm still or moving, moving fast or
moving slow.

The events (i.e. change from a section to another) are therefore triggered
only when the instrument recognises that the performer's body is in a given
muscular state.

wishing you well,

[1] http://marcodonnarumma.com/works/hypo-chrysos/
[2] http://marcodonnarumma.com/works/nigredo/
[3] http://marcodonnarumma.com/works/radical-signs-of-life/

Marco Donnarumma
Performer, body tinkerer, teacher and writer.
#soundandmusic #biotech #freeculture
EAVI - Goldsmiths, University of London
Portfolio: http://marcodonnarumma.com
Research: http://res.marcodonnarumma.com
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