Can we take you off the grid? Harvesting energy from motion: we spend a lot of energy moving around. On the micro level we can harvest from blood flow, body temperature and biochemistry.
The word ubiquitous is becoming ubiquitous. It is a very active field now with lots of work being done.
The bio electric signals of the body: The nervous system as a self powered communication source. Wanting to get closer to the source, the metabolism. These energy sources are not big enough provide energy for music but we can amplify the signal and use it as input to music.
Examples of early work:
1965 Alvin Lucier “music for solo performer” [EEG, brainwaves]
1978 Dick Raaijmaker, a man get of his bike very very slowly, the EMG, EKG GSR and nasal microphone records the exertion and energy it takes to do this.
How can we measure emotional energy while playing music?
Systems for measuring CNS activity and the somatic nervous system [movement], autonomic nervous system [breathing, temperature etc], autonomic nervous system [EDA, electrodermal activity]
The ECG signal is the largest electrical signal in the body, it is almost big enough to power something.
How do we use this in musical performance?
The desire to move from pieces that use the body’s energy for power to a point where we are using the signals from the body to create the content of the music itself. Wanting to remove the physical layer and get to the point where we can make music with our thought and emotions.
“We make tools and forever after they shape us” McLuhan
The energy and the tools we use is a part of the broad ecosystem of our lives.
Musical and performance “energy” enables expression.
Energy and information [signals] are precisely the same thing.
What are we plugging into? a handful of coal is enough for burning a light bulb for 24 hours.
Example: “field” by Richard Box
We’re not talking about the kind of Sundance sustainability issues in a showbiz fashion says Jamie. What we are talking about are issues of the performer and the body. The context of the enviornment and the ecology of communities. Jamie is keen to point out that his discusion is about how to relate these issues strictly to music and art practice. Jamie points out there are three ways of looking at technology, the antagonistic approach, the folk sensibility and a third way concerned with the idea that we use energy constantly in the process of living and that the real issue is in how we route it and choose to use it. This idea purports that we are part of an ecology concerned with the use and transmission/reception of energy. As an ex-physicist this is an idea I feel worth relating to. Jamie talked about Michel’s sense of energy and exertion on stage, he was motivated to start the discussion by seeing how Michel was physically tired after performances. He had put energy into creating the music that had depleted him in the process.
Jamie’s first assertion is that energy and information signals are really the same thing and that as artists we are already concerned with the routing of this energy and signal information. Jamie talk about the importance of self-reliance, this motivated his his desire to raise the energy discussion. Jamie is also interested with the idea of exclusionary technological domains and cites artistic examples of an ethically grown leather installation and a site specific piece concerned with lighting up bulbs beneath power lines using only the energy gathered from the high intensty e.m. fields that were (freely) available there.