Tuning machines, interspecies interfaces and the CTM Hacklab

Image Tuning Machines

I played a short concert together with Aliisa Talja at Hebbel am Ufer on the first of February this year as a final presentation for this years CTM Hacklab. For the audience it might have looked like we were touching synthetic skin, which then creates strange electronic noise. We performed a similar concert at Leap Berlin one week later and we will further present this work at DMY Festival. How did we end up with this weird musical interface? Turn the clock back for almost half a year. Aliisa and i met at 3DMin an ongoing research project concerning »Design, Development and Dissemination of New Musical Instruments«. We were both interested in intersections of biology, organic design and musical performance.

The class also gave us the ability to explore different concepts: We looked into basic Bioacoustic, Synthetic Biology, transhumanism, body-enhancements and genetic engineering. At this time we also started to grow different organisms as material research: Kombucha and different forms of Kefir. Kombucha is an organic compound consisting of a certain type of bacteria, which creates a shell around its cells thus forming a fine and strong, chemically pure, network structure by using glucose. While growing this organisms we applied with a vague idea of what to do with them at the ctm hacklab. There we met Leslie Garcia, a sound artist who is exploring the idea of interspecies communication quite a while. She helped us prototyping a circuit and setting up software for measuring the conductivity of bacterial cellulose. By using various bacterial cellulose sensors (breath, touch, pressure) multiple digital instruments can be played simultaneously and a rich, evolving ambience can be created.

We ended up with an interspecies interface advantaging the characteristics of organic material as well as exploring the possibilities of combining natural and build organisms in sound synthesis.

The project documentation as a pdf can be downloaded here.
More photos of the Hacklab can be seen at Resident Advisor.

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