Abstract

How can we treat technological matter as yet another material from which our notions of possible future instruments can be constructed, intrinsically intertwined with, and informed by a practice of performance? We strive to develop musical-performance instruments not only by creating technology, but also in developing them as aesthetic and cultural objects. A musical instrument is not an interface and should not be designed as such; instead, new instruments are the source of new in new music. Like any traditional instrument, a new instrument's potential for producing quality musical sound can only be revealed when it is played. We present an instrument-design process conducted by a visionary and an agenda-setting musician. The resulting objects are experimental prototypes of technological matter, which allow analysis and meaning to be specified through physical and tactile interaction with the objects themselves. As the instruments evolve through various stages, their capability is continually enhanced, making them all the more desirable for musicians to play.

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