[PD] Pd performance at TED

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at at.or.at
Sat Jun 25 20:15:12 CEST 2011

On Jun 22, 2011, at 10:09 AM, Onyx Ashanti wrote:

> Thanks, it's a great pleasure to have you here.
> cheers.
> Every single note you hear, is being played, as in one at a time, as  
> a horn
> player does, into a looper which I use to layer everything very  
> quickly into
> an arrangement then deconstruct and reconstruct on a musically  
> relevant
> trajectory. There was nothing pre recorded or preconceived. Simply a
> controller, a database of synthesizers and a looper with effects. I am
> playing every single solitary note. If that sounds like it is hard  
> to do,
> you're right.
> I'm sure about it and I can imagine the training you needed to  
> undertake, possibly in the same way other complex gestural control  
> require.
> But, that's not a constrain, right?
> Things don't need to be difficult to be relevant (?)
> things "can be" very easy.  but easy was never a goal.  my goal was  
> to create a system to express "myself" the way i express myself.  i  
> love movement, i love sound. blending the two was eventually going  
> to happen but now i am getting into the mechanics of it and learning  
> as i go.  so its not easy but the difficult parts are not something  
> i would shy away from either.
> I would like an elaboration on how the system is "clunky" if you  
> don't mind.
> First off, I feel that it is pretty streamlined for a first  
> prototype made
> of cardboard that is only 3 months old. Two wireless hand units and  
> a mouth
> unit. If you have suggestions as to how I might improve it at this  
> stage,
> before my next stage or dev, I would love to hear it.
> Sure. First, I think the video and its text on TED are misleading.
> I understood that the work was a finished one and you were  
> demonstrating it.
> It's important to know it's only three months prototype.
> About the clunkyness.
> I'm also designing a wearable biosensor so I'm happy to share my  
> vision (strictly subjective though).
> Imho, the box connected to the mouthpiece which presently is hanging  
> from the front side, could be placed on your belt.
> Increase the lenght of the cable, put the cable under your shirt and  
> you're done.
> two reasons that not optimal.  first being that i have a distinct  
> dislike of belt packs.  the internals of the box around my neck are  
> to be included in a carbon fiber helmet which will also house the  
> mic, various sensors and the actual heads up display that the iphone  
> is standing in for. and two, the length of the breath tube would be  
> inefficient at that length.  the shorter the better because the tube  
> must also be vented.
> As for the phone as headup display.
> Something that works very good is haptic feedback.
> You can have the Pd system send small pulses to a tiny speaker stuck  
> to your skin.
> These could represent key points in a timeline, pattern changes,  
> instrument changes, behaviour of your sensor, or even the bpm.
> Pulses can also have different lenghts so that you can have an array  
> of signals.
> there are haptics in the the app i use in the phone.  TouchOSC  
> responds to a [vibrate< message.  the units use lilypad buzzers but  
> i must reprogram my firmata to react more quickly.  my haptics are  
> mainly used for transposition points, accelerometer positioning and  
> functions and a wonderful "wrap-it-up" button that allows the  
> promoter at my gigs, to click it and it metronomically buzzes my  
> iphone so that i know that its time to "wrap it up" and can end my  
> set in a musically satisfying manner.  they love that!  i get emails  
> because of that button!

Along these lines, I could see a long term solution being a fast  
Android or iPhone on your arm that actually runs the Pd patches,  
connects to the Arduinos, and displays on the screen.  Then you can  
use a standard wireless mic to transmit the sound wirelessly.  Those  
are very reliable and low latency, as opposed to wireless networking,  
bluetooth, etc.  But that could take a far amount of working, so I  
think it makes a lot of sense to iron out what the instrument should  
be first.  And the longer you want, the cheaper and easier the phones  
will be to use


> That would be invisible, and reliable.
> invisible is a definite no no.  people need to see things.  and  
> besides.  to me, that reactive touchOSC display is HOT!  its my  
> favorite part of the aesthetic.  i'll tell you a secret.  I dont  
> even need it most of the time! I've got all of my functions  
> memorized so far.  i just love the way it looks.  thats my sci fi  
> geek coming out.  and there are WAAAY  more superfluous aethetically  
> usefully yet not neccessary fourishes coming.
> @marco, how would you
> make this concept more "beautiful" or "efficient"? I am always a  
> willing
> student in these regards.
> see what I meant above.
> Do you have any examples of said efficiency? Being
> an instructor, I would have expected that you would have seen the  
> blog link
> on the Ted profile and researched your position before simply  
> asserting that
> my concept has no value.
> Oh wait, nobody said your work had no value :)
> No time to fire it up.
> I expressed my respect for your work since the first post, and I  
> kept doing it in later posts too.
> I only said that I couldn't agree with the bold claims "we make the  
> future" and making the music of the future.
> Now, of course, you have to promote yourself, but I felt that was  
> not coherent.
> what do you see as the future?  have you ever thought about it?  is  
> anyone doing it, it being your particular idea of the future?  then  
> you have an opportunity to do so.  in the future i see, i envision  
> musicians like super heroes/jazz giant hybrids.  one guy is an  
> unbelievable tap-dancer like musician...another is stands completely  
> still and uses his muscle twitches to control a performing android  
> in realtime.  and i can see a thousand more.  so that is the  
> trajectory toward the future that i decided to take and if i can  
> make it happen beyond just myself, i will make it my lifes work.  if  
> someone thinks they can do this better than me, all of my notes are  
> online, the project is in Make Mag in Oct. and i wll answer any  
> questions. show me!  come to one of my shows and teach me a lesson!   
> i am not joking or being confrontational...it is a dream for someone  
> to do this better than me.  that doesnt mean i'm gonna sit here and  
> be "the old guy" and let someone show me up at my own show, but i  
> find this type of musical debate invigorating.  the type of thing  
> that makes one get  up in the morning and practice.  but with sensor  
> networks and computer augmentation, its almost to exciting for these  
> words to adequately describe!
> I argue about the innovative character of the work (please note, I  
> refer to the whole work not to the system only).
> And I also do not mean that it is not innovative at all.
> It's a great system, but it lacks of directness, as Andy pointed out  
> in a beautiful way.
> And I believe that, if you are interested in this topic, your  
> performance would greatly benefit of a more direct performative  
> outcome.
> how much more direct does it need to be? i press a note, a sound  
> comes out. i move my hand, somethng changes.  you want to know what  
> sound i might be playing, watch the, noteably underpowered, lights  
> ( i have some other high powered LEDs that require a different power  
> supply and transistors.  v2).  then, as if that is not enough, the  
> goal is to create a narrative that combines motion and all of the  
> above.   sorry, but that is about as direct as my limited cognitive  
> abilites can muster at this point.  please show me a better one.
> The audience will clap their hands anyway after your show.
> However, if they don't need to ask themselves "what the heck he's  
> doing?" because your interaction with the system is transparent,  
> their overall perception of your work would be ten times greater.
> A successful performance is something to be achieved in two:  
> performer and audience.
> A performer alone (or isolated in his own world) is only rehearsing.
> the audience at TED actually stood.  so they werent simply being  
> nice to me.  and my presentation had about 60% more slides that they  
> removed from the online video so people could concentrate on the  
> performance.  when you come to one of my shows, you know what i am  
> doing because i spend a minute at the beginning just making noises  
> with each instrument so as to calibrate the AUDIENCE (ie., i show  
> that red=drums and play drums, blue=bass and play bass, etc).  this  
> is a language that is being constructed that currently, using  
> language as a metaphor, only has about 3-4 phenomes.  check with me  
> in 6 months ;-)
> As someone said already, a violin player do not need to demonstrate  
> transparency because instrumental musical performance is something  
> intrinsic in our culture.
> We, as creators of new instruments or systems, still struggle to  
> prove that we can control machines in a creative way.
> Perhaps, this happen because the technological knowledge of the  
> majority of people is still very basic.
> Although children today play with iPhones, they have no idea how  
> that thing works. And most of them will never know it. They just  
> assume it does work, somehow.
> This is the capitalistic approach to tech culture.
> A general consumer do not need to know too much, otherwise she/he  
> can start producing.
> I have no problem playing badly.  i love it.  a welcome change from  
> playing systems that make it hard to screw up.  in fact my best sets  
> ever have been after a mistake of some sort where the loops were off  
> or i just didnt like the groove.  i just stop.  i tell the audience  
> that i'm gonna go in a new direction and thats when they are like  
> "whoa...he's actually playing" and then they give you leeway to go  
> where you are going and come with you.  at that point it becomes  
> important to take them on a fullfilling sonic journey and to  
> remember that YOU are the artist, not them so dont be afraid to go  
> somewhere they havent gone.  people who come to see me, know this.   
> if they want house music or dubstep in its purity, there are better  
> places to get it.  this is beatjazz.
> on the iphone reference.  kids today should definitely know how  
> their technology works or they risk being a tool of the machine  
> rather than the other way around.  hence this being an open source  
> project as well as (hopefully soon) a commercial venture.
> One thing that I and other alternative controller artists are  
> realizing is
> that we must be in the audience. Otherwise people can not see that  
> you are
> actually playing. That is why when I play clubs I play from the  
> dance floor
> and currently monitor with the club sound system which is hard but  
> allows a
> flow of ideas that doesn't come from separating ones self from the  
> audience.
> And from there people can see your fingers and gestures carve the  
> sound.
> I have to disagree.
> I would suggest to consider that a gestural controller in a dance  
> party has a very different scope than one in an experimental  
> performance.
> Secondly, there are many other ways to make the people understand  
> that you're playing.
> We come back to the directness of a system.
> We could see in your video all the buttons you were pushing, but  
> half of people who wrote was not aware of what you were doing anyway.
> Specially because the wider gesture of your body (like "dancing",  
> keeping the rhythm as a dj does) were not affecting the music  
> directly.
> Well, i actually play from the room now and it works amazingly.   
> people come up and dance with me. and every once in a while I shake  
> my hand and start swirling a big distorted delayed mnoster sound  
> then BOOM! drop into some crazy beat that even i wasnt expecting to  
> cook up.  i think more people than you think are way way WAY  more  
> than ready to have their dance and their experimental at the same  
> time.  like i said above, in the future i see, i see no  
> distinction.  i see an ecosystem of musical perspectives, all  
> enhanced by technology.  as many genres as there are artists, the  
> the point that genres no longer apply and you can only describe an  
> artists music by his/her name.
> This form of performance blends my desire to connect with my space  
> my music
> and my movements as intimately but, it should be noted as well, this  
> is a 3
> month old prototype so that people are discussing it and I have even  
> moved
> from beta stage yet, is encouraging.
> Indeed, such discussion prove that your work is very interesting.
> That's why I'm arguing so much about it :)
> And as Andy said, please, I would love to know in detail how your  
> system works as I'm working on a similar, yet very different,  
> gestural control system based on biophysical sensors.
> If you still don't hate me :P, I would love to write you in pv and  
> share our experience.
> i dont want you to get the idea that i hate you or anyone that  
> doesnt like some aspect of my concept.  if i were so thin skinned,  
> i'd be playing RnB on sax like i did 20 years ago.  i chose this  
> path and in amongst critiques are sometime valuable information that  
> i, have and will, continue to incorporate.  definitely lets chat!
> cheers to you,
> Onyx
> -- 
> www.onyx-ashanti.ning.com
> www.beatjazz.blogspot.com
> onyxashanti.bandcamp.com
> twitter.com/onyxashanti
> facebook.com/onyxashanti
> Germany+49 176 3543 7859
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Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally  
for machines to execute.
  - from Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

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