Hacking NIMEs

Hindle, Abram

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

NIMEs typically focus on novelty but the cost of novelty is often to ignore other non-functional requirements and concerns such as usability or security. Digital security has probably not been a concern for performers due to the duration of their performances and lack of disrespectful hackers, known as crackers, in attendance carrying the appropriate equipment and software necessary to hack a performance. Yet many modern NIMEs could be hacked from smart-phones in the audience. The lack of security hardening makes NIMEs an easy target — but a question arises: if hacking can interrupt or modify a performance couldn’t hacking itself also be performance? Thus would music hacking, live-hacking, be similar to live-coding? In this paper we discuss how NIMEs are in danger of being hacked, and yet how hacking can be an act of performance too.