FULL! Xth Sense: Make your own biophysical sensor for interactive music and video !FULL!

March 2nd, 2013 11:00 am until March 3rd, 2013

Unfortunately this workshop is totally sold out.

Marco Donnarumma - Xth Sense

This weekend course offers hands-on experience and theoretical training in the performance of biophysical music and visuals with the Xth Sense (XS). Workshop participants will build from scratch their own XS sensors, then learn how to analyze and map the data from their muscle and body movements to generate music, visuals, and do live processing of sound. Attention will also be paid to aesthetic considerations when using the XS system in artistic contexts.

At the end of the workshop, participants will take home the XS bioacoustic sensors they built, and the related software for their own continued creative use.

Some topics covered in the workshop include:

  • Theoretical background on the state of art of gestural control of music
  • Introduction to the Xth Sense (XS) framework (technical overview, capabilities)
  • Building the sensor
  • An introduction to the open source artistic programming language PureData, tips and tricks for using PureData in live settings
  • Explorations of bioacoustic sound design capabilities
  • Building audio modules and signal processing chains
  • Aesthetics of bioacoustic sensor-based performance
  • Mapping muscle energy to control values and real-time processing
  • Designing an aesthetic vocabulary for body-sensor performance


Date: 2-3 MARCH, 2013
Time: 10-17h each day
Cost: €110 (includes €25 sensor kit & parts) 
Maximum Participants: 12 
Location: STEIM Concert Space, Utrechtsedwarsstraat 134, Amsterdam


About Xth Sense
The XS is a DIY mechanomyogram-based musical instrument which allows an artist to use muscle movement to control music and visuals. In contrast with most bio-sensing technologies which are expensive and closed to modification, the XS sensor is designed to be open, low-cost, and easily implemented by anyone, regardless of past electronics experience. The Georgia-Tech Center for Music Technology (US) named the Xth Sense the “world’s most innovative new musical instrument” in 2012.



This workshop is open to anyone with an interest in sound and music. Musical background and education does not matter so long as you have a willingness to challenge your usual perspectives on musical performance.
No previous knowledge of electronics and programming is necessary for this workshop, however participants should be familiar with basic digital music creation.



Participants must bring their own laptop computers with headphones and external soundcards.* Your computer must be running Linux** or Mac OSX (10.6 or newer). You must also have Pd-extended 0.42.5 already installed on your computer. A free download of Pd-extended is available at http://puredata.info/community/projects/software/pd-extended

Musicians interested in augmenting their favorite musical instruments with body feedback are also highly encouraged to bring their instrument along for the workshop.

* STEIM also has a limited number of computers with soundcards available for participants who cannot bring their own. If you would like to use one of STEIM’s machines during the workshop please contact us no later than one week before the workshop by email at knock [AT] steim [DOT] nl.

** Those interested in using Linux for artistic purposes might want to take a look at the Apodio distribution, which we highly recommend.



New media and sonic artist, performer and teacher, Marco Donnarumma was born in Italy and is based in London. Weaving a thread around biomedia research, musical and theatrical performance, participatory practices and subversive coding, Marco looks at the collision of critical creativity with humanized technologies.

His biophysical system Xth Sense won the first prize in the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition and was named the 2012 “world’s most innovative new musical instrument” by the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, US. Recently, he curated the publication Biotechnological Performance Practice (eContact!, 14.2).

Marco has performed and spoken in 40 countries including US and South America, Europe, India, China, South Korea and Australia. His works have been selected at leading art events (ISEA, Venice Biennale, WRO Biennale), specialized festivals (FILE, Sonorities, Némo, Mapping, Piksel, Re-New, Laboral, EMAF) and major academic conferences (NIME, ICMC, Pure Data Convention, Linux Audio Conference@Stanford CCRMA, SICMF).

His projects have been reviewed on BBC, Reuters, Wired, Create Digital Music, We Make Money Not Art, Rhizome, Weave, Digicult, and appeared in the book “New Art/Science Affinities” (CMU and Studio for Creative Enquiry, US). Artist in residence at Inspace (UK) and the National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance (DK). His work has been funded by the European Commission, Creative Scotland, New Media Scotland, and the Danish Arts Council.

Currently, Marco is a ERC-funded PhD student for the Embodied Audio Visual Interaction (EAVI) Research Group at Goldsmiths University, supervised by Atau Tanaka.

Marco Donnarumma - Moving Forest