shadows no. 5

Winner, 2010 Student Award for Best Submission at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC)

Program Note

Shadows no. 5 is a piece for belly dancer, RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) system, and computer-generated sound.  The movement vocabulary is rooted in tribal style belly dance, which originated in the U.S., but is derivative of Raqs Sharqi (Middle Eastern dance).  Sinuous torso undulations, controlled hip isolations, and upper and lower body layering are just a few characteristics of the dance form.  The mode of interaction between the dance and music references the improvised, meterless taqāsīm and the drum solo, two Middle Eastern genres that feature a dancer and drummer where the lines between leader and follower become indistinguishable.  The piece utilizes the RAKS system, a wireless sensor interface designed specifically for belly dance in collaboration with composer Steven Kemper.  Combined with strategic mapping in the software, the system allows the dancer’s movements to generate and manipulate the electroacoustic texture.  The piece begins with a zils (finger cymbals) solo, where each motion triggers a percussive sound.  In performance, sensors translate the dancer’s movements into subtle and salient variations of the sonic texture including filtering, delay, playback speed, and harmonization.  Shadows no. 5 experiments with notions of choreographic and musical gesture in the performance of electroacoustic music.  

Interface Design, Composition: Aurie Hsu and Steven Kemper

Electroacoustic Music, Choreography, Costume Design: Aurie Hsu

Hardware Development/Implementation, Max Programming/Live Processing: Steven Kemper

Related Publications

Aurie Hsu and Steven Kemper, “Shadows No. 4: Belly Dance and Interactive Electroacoustic Musical Performance” in Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 2010).  Shadows_no_4_belly_dance_and_interactive_electroacoustic_musical_performance.pdf

Performances

10/28/11: Semiotics Society of America Annual Meeting: Worldviews - Pittsburgh, PA

3/26/11: Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music - Silver Spring, MD

2/4/11: [ø] zerospace Conference, Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

11/6/10: Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival 2010, Booker Hall of Music, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA

6/4/10: International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Tabler Theater, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY