The Spine

The Spine is a “prosthetic” digital musical instrument developed for the collaborative project Les Gestes, in which we endeavoured to design new instruments for dancers.  The new instruments would extrapolate from the T-Stick, which we had already used in the performance Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur with the same collaborators. Starting with foam prototypes, the Spine and its companion instruments the Rib and the Visor were developed iteratively using participatory design through frequent workshops, parallel problem solving, and digital fabrication methods. The current models are fabricated from laser-cut transparent acrylic, transparent PVC tubing, and PETg rods. The entire structure is assembled using interference fitting rather than any glues or fasteners.

The Spine tracks and reports it’s orientation and shape in real-time, accomplished through the use of inertial and magnetic-field sensing at each end of the structure. Sensor-fusion algorithms run on-board the instrument.

I have previously blogged some teaser photos and a couple of videos showing a demonstration of the orientation and deformation sensing I developed for the Spine and a promo for the upcoming shows.

Video: Les Gestes (en creation)

Here’s a promo video for the project Les Gestes, posted by our collaborators Van Grimde Corps Secrets. The prosthetic digital instruments worn by the dancers were conceived and developed by myself and my colleague Ian Hattwick in the IDMIL.

The project is still underway, but the touring schedule has been established:

  • Montréal (Canada) – March 13-16, 2013, Agora de la danse, in partnership with live@CIRMMT
  • Lennoxville (Canada) – March 19, 2013, Théâtre Centennial
  • Arnhem (The Netherlands) – April 10, 2013, Schouwburg
  • Blanc Mesnil (Paris, France) – April 13, 2013, Forum du Blanc Mesnil
  • Bruges (Belgium) – April 18, 2013, Concertgebouw

Labo / Les Gestes

Another project I am working on:

Labo/Les Gestes

HORS LES MURS
VAN GRIMDE CORPS SECRETS
19 février 16 h
GRATUIT! Laissez-passer disponibles à la billetterie

Imaginez une nouvelle génération d’instruments de musique numériques. Ils se grefferaient au corps humain pour en devenir des extensions; ils réagiraient aux variations de mouvements et à toutes sortes d’autres paramètres de manipulation. Ils permettraient aux danseurs autant qu’aux musiciens d’agir en direct sur la partition musicale d’une œuvre chorégraphique. Cette vision futuriste se concrétise déjà dans les recherches que mènent la chorégraphe Isabelle Van Grimde et le compositeur Sean Ferguson avec le chercheur Marcelo Wanderley du Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Musique, Médias et Technologie (CIRMMT). S’inscrivant dans la continuité de la pièce Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur, où la musique live était captée, transformée et spatialisée par les interprètes grâce à un instrument de musique baptisé le T-Stick, cette collaboration aboutira, en 2013, à la création d’une œuvre scénique intituléeLes Gestes. En attendant, l’équipe artistico-scientifique nous ouvre les portes de son laboratoire pour une présentation interactive des instruments en cours de développement; venez tester en personne les incroyables possibilités créatrices qu’offrent ces instruments d’avant-garde.
Présenté à la salle multimédia de l’École de musique Schulich de l’Université McGill
527, rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal

Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur

From CIRMMT:

Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur is an artistic collaboration between choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde and composer Sean Ferguson. Featuring cellist Chloé Dominguez and dancer Elijah Brown, this event is presented by CIRMMT and Van Grimde Corps Secrets Dance Company, in partnership with the Schulich School of Music, the McGill Digital Composition Studios and Agora de la danse.

The work is for cello with live electronics and a dancer who performs with a gestural controller called the T-Stick, developed as part of the McGill Digital Orchestra Project in the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory. This presentation marks the initial stage of a planned long-term collaboration. The work will be preceded by a discussion of artistic and technological aspects of the work by Isabelle Van Grimde and Sean Ferguson.

October 21 at 1:00pm, and from October 22 to 24 at 7:30pm.

The performances will take place in the Multimedia Room (-2 level) at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, 527 Sherbrooke St. West.

Seating is limited.  Please reserve in advance by emailing: reception@cirmmt.mcgill.ca

This version of the T-Stick is wireless, transparent, and can sense direction in addition to touch, tilt and acceleration. The dancer uses the T-Stick to control processing and spatialization of the cellist’s sound. Here are some screenshots from tonight’s performance: