Beyond Physical Gesture: The Search for Human Bandwidth

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The paper discusses an innovative theory detailing how musicians will interface with modern digital performance technologies in the future and how this will radically alter the performing arts. The theory discusses technical, philosophical, and aesthetic issues associated with the evolution of performance technology and suggests that participation in the performing arts will soon include non-physical interfaces. While the paper investigates interface issues in the performing arts, the discussion is relevant to a variety of applications in which physical gesture plays an important role. By capturing and analyzing the subtle electrical signals sent to the muscles from the brain, it is possible to predict a performer’s physical intention prior to the actual movement of the muscles. The theory proposes that once the electrical signals have been sent from the brain they can be intercepted and interpreted by sophisticated algorithms and digital music technologies. The actual physical gesture may no longer be required to accomplish many performance tasks. Reducing a performer’s dependency on physical gesture is a radically new approach to the performing arts. The reduction of physical gesture will result in an increase in human bandwidth through the reorganization, reparsing, and more parsimonious organization of the brain’s finite processing resources.


Keywords: Interface, Musical Interface, Physical Gesture, Virtual Orchestra, Human Bandwidth
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Frederick Bianchi

Professor of Music, Director of Computer Music Research, Department of Humanities and Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Composer and researcher in the area of Music Technology and Interactive Media. Bianchi’s creative and experimental work in music composition and technology began with reel-to-reel tape recorders and first generation analog synthesizers. His early work utilized electronically generated sounds integrated with large acoustic ensembles in real-time. During this period, Bianchi also began his initial experiments with large-scale, multi-channel sound installations. With over 100 compositions from that period, Bianchi has received international recognition and numerous awards and honors for his work and innovations. By the mid 1980s, Bianchi’s ideas had evolved significantly, and he began working on interactive music performance and virtual orchestra design. That groundbreaking work has resulted in over 30,000 performances world-wide including work on Broadway, London’s West End, Cirque du Soleil, and numerous tours in America and Europe. Regarded as a pioneer in interactive performance technology, Bianchi’s influence, while controversial, has been a shaping force in the performing arts.

Ref: T08P0299