Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gestural Electricity

Tod Machover, from MIT's The Media Laboratory, created instruments and software that are helping people to create music. It's a magical combination of electrical stimuli and interactivity in the case of the Beatbugs and Shapers. The instruments measure sound, muscular movements and electrical current from the body to create music in response to the player's feedback. It seems improvisational. Gestural electricity is the essence of the Hyperchair. Penn n Teller were involved in the development of the Hyperchair, which happens to look like a magic prop, actually.

Learned that some researcher has discovered that simple repetition of singing songs to a stroke sufferer does nothing to help regain speech. Melodic Intonation Therapy uses half-tone variations and percussive movements to help retrain the brain in speech. No wonder so frustrating results-wise, but at least a humane, connective act.

The Hyperscore requires only the ability to read and draw a line. I was struck by Machover's comment at Carnegie Institute tonight that kids under 8 yrs and older folks over 70 yrs were most responsive (creative?) with the instruments. The Brain Opera, an interactive music creation experience using both these instruments and software resides in Vienna, Austria. Now I need a residency in Vienna!

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