This year’s main theme of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival gave composer Marcelo Gimenes the motto and inspiration to create Embodied iSound. “Frontiers: expanding musical imagination” is in fact an invitation for reflection upon the limitless abilities of human’s musical creativeness: where we come from, where we are going to.
Another source of inspiration comes from Musicians Without Borders, an international organisation based in Amsterdam that promotes programs and activities with local musicians and groups in communities that suffer from the effects of conflict. In MwB’s own words: “using the power of music to bridge divides, connect communities, and heal the wounds of war”. Musicians Without Borders kindly authorised the use of audio taken from some of its projects as part of the Embodied iSound composition.
Embodied iSound is based on these ideas. Music is “organised sound”, of course, but it is also a medium through which we all communicate. It is therefore important to understand how this communication happens, why and what we communicate through music. The general idea of the piece is that we can only achieve a better understanding about these questions by mentally, physically and emotionally experiencing what happens when we cross (stylistic, geographical, and historical) musical frontiers. For that reason, the piece requires that members of the audience become active participants (as opposed to just passive listeners) of the musical experience, controlling the sound that is produced from the space where it is projected. Embodiment is not just about the body; it is about action and participation.
Technology is what allows this participation, mediating what happens between the physical world (the sound), our minds and personal enjoyment. To achieve that, the piece is supported by a distributed computer system called Levinsky Music which includes a smartphone app running on participants’ iOS devices and a server running on a desktop computer.
Embodied iSound was conceived as an interactive experience supported by a two-way communication between a music engine and the performers. As real instruments, smartphones become an extension of the audience/performer’s bodies. Movement and perception are intimately interconnected: what you hear influences the way you move and the way you move determines what you hear.
Welcome to this embodied listening/performance experience. Have a nice journey across frontiers of musical imagination.
Embodied iSound will be performed on 27/02/2016 at 17:30h. Venue: The Crosspoint in Roland Levinsky Building at Plymouth University.
If you want to know more about the Festival, click here.
Here you can hear a short segment of the composition (the full music will be available after the Festival):