The focus of this series of experimental works is to describe the Cybernetic Monochord developed at DXARTS and to redefine a technical and historical lineage from its more traditional twin.
The monochord, at first glance is a rather pale example of the (revived) discourses of systems art, but not only has it been integral to the development, demonstration and widespread acceptance of mathematical abstraction as a way to logically analyse spatial relationships, it is also mythically significant in the demonstration, from its origins in the Pythagorean Brotherhood, of tuning in to cosmological ratios, and is even used as a tool for psychic healing and transcendence. Notwithstanding its minimalist demeanour, the monochord occupies a significant place in the resurgence of planetary consciousness as one that is to be found in the combined efforts of art, science and technology.
What indeed has changed in the digital, cosmological and ecological environments that building a monochord anew can reveal? What are new cultural positions on tuning strategies that can be, and are already aligned with new relationships of planetary phenomena? What can we learn from new strategies for music technology that interface traditional instruments with new control systems for interactive, as well as autonomous performances and installations? The monochord is a relatively simple but expansive system that through designed interaction can be reasonably coaxed into any one of these questionings. This series thus presents current research done in the Cybernetic Monochord project, including initial performative strategies, as well as proposals for subsequent iterations and expansions, while arguing for the relevance of these innovations to the antiquated function of the monochord as a revitalized symbol for the relationships between mathematical abstraction and planetary consciousness.
Prototype I – mechatronic monochord
Prototype II – Alignment and Resonance