Homo Electromagneticus II: Paradigms and Paradoxes
An "After the Media" Musical Performance
Keywords:Music, technology, Performance, After the Media, Arduino
Homo Electromagneticus is a musical performance realized in 2022 through a set of original instruments created with open-source and low-cost technologies. Arduino microcontrollers, sensors, brainwaves, MIDI, algorithms, and the interaction with plants’ capacitance provide digital, acoustic and mechatronic sound production forms. Cognizant of the material and energy dump that is the signature of the Anthropocene, the piece thrives on a commitment to the conscientious and responsible production of waste. Thus, in addition to original musical instruments, I also utilized old bottles, kitchen tools, electronics equipment taken from the dump, obsolete musical instruments, human gestures and brain waves as research and performance tools.
Homo Electromagneticus reacts to the exclusivity of digital sound production, choosing instead to revitalize and promote acoustic sound production. Thinking along with Zielinski (2010), the piece helps us to consider art “after the media,” meaning that it foregrounds the production of acoustic sound mediated through electromagnetic interfaces. The technological aspect of production is prevalent, but digital and electric sound production does not dominate the performance of the work as a whole.
The performance relies on the emergence of a mix compositum in which the distinction between performer and composer becomes blurred. Each performance of the piece requires the players to generate sound anew. Additionally, the very definition of musical “instrument” undergoes a transformation since the performer becomes, in a sense, a necessary instrument in the production of the piece.
Zielinski, Siegfried. 2010. “Thinking About Art after the Media – Research as Practised Culture of Experiment.” In The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, edited by Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson, 293–312. London, New York: Routledge.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Alexandre Bento
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal, provided it is for non-commercial uses; and that lets others excerpt, translate, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).