Chris Cousin and myself (Stu Smith) from Bathysphere along with blind electroacoustic composer David Hindmarch came to Steim for a week long residency just before Christmas 2008. The residency gave us the time and space to focus on aspects of our live improvisation technique and evalute various options for bespoke controllers and instrumentation. We each had different areas of interest to explore. Chris has been working with IRCAM’s forum software, I work in the field of circuit bending and DIY electronics and spent much of my time exploring a new circuit (Barbie Karaoke machine), David has very specific accessibility needs from software ( eg. needs to work with a screen reader). Our common area of interest is custom built controllers for composition and live performance.
We spent a lot of time improvising and “fishing for sound” which very much informs our needs for new controllers. A live controller needs to be intuitive and flexible and improvisation is a very important part of the design process. By exploring sound possibilities and thinking about how one would manipulate them helped us focus on our gestural movements and therefor the type of controls and layout best utilised on a new controller.
Chris gets to grips with the EMS VCS3
Barbie Karoke echo circuit exploration