[ISEA2002] Artist Statement: Atau Tanaka – Tibet

Artist Statement

Biosensor Performance. Developed in collaboration with R. Benjamin Knapp

Tibet is a musical concert piece for Tibetan bowls, EMG/biosensor, and Position sensors. The piece explores the interstitial spaces between acoustic sound and electronic sound, between movement and tension, between contact and telepathy. A solo performer begins the piece eliciting acoustic sound by bowing resonant Tibetan bowls. The EMG trajectories of these gestures are tracked and slowly start to electronically augment the acoustic sound. At the first critical juncture in the piece, the bowing stick is lifted off the bowls, and the sound continues – this sound is the captured acoustic sound, and continues only as long as a certain muscle tension is maintained. This space between bowing contact and gestural sonic sculpting will be explored in part two of the piece. The EMG based articulation of the sound is itself then augmented by position sensors. The position sensors give topological sense to the otherwise tension based EMG data. Similar muscle gestures then take on different meaning in different points in space. Part 3 then explores this articulatory space of complementary sensor systems. The piece finishes with a closing section that comes back to physical contact with the Tibetan bowls, keeping the EMG and position sensing in a unified gestural expression.

  • Atau Tanaka was born in Tokyo, and was raised in the U.S. He was in residency in Paris in 1993 at IRCAM. In 1995 he became Artistic Ambassador for Apple France for his work in interactive music. He mwed to Tokyo in 1997 for a project at NlT-ICC and subsequently taught at Keio, Wakayama, and Chukyo Universities. He creates a digital music in real time through bodily gestures of the performer and time perturbations of the network. He has received prizes and support from the CMD, the Fraunhofer Society, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation. He lives and works in Paris.