Hybrid Resonant Assemblages: Rethinking Instruments, Touch and Performance in New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Bowers, John and Haas, Annika

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper outlines a concept of hybrid resonant assemblages, combinations of varied materials excited by sound transducers, feeding back to themselves via digital signal processing. We ground our concept as an extension of work by David Tudor, Nicolas Collins and Bowers and Archer [NIME 2005] and draw on a variety of critical perspectives in the social sciences and philosophy to explore such assemblages as an alternative to more familiar ideas of instruments and interfaces. We lay out a conceptual framework for the exploration of hybrid resonant assemblages and describe how we have approached implementing them. Our performance experience is presented and implications for work are discussed. In the light of our work, we urge a reconsideration of the implicit norms of performance which underlie much research in NIME. In particular, drawing on the philosophical work of Jean-Luc Nancy, we commend a wider notion of touch that also recognises the performative value of withholding contact.