Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Experimental Music & Digital Media

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Circuit bending—the act of modifying a consumer device's internal circuitry in search of new, previously-unintended responses—provides artists with a chance to subvert expectations for how a certain piece of hardware should be utilized, asking them to view everyday objects as complex electronic instruments. Along with the ability to create avant-garde instruments from unique and nostalgic sound sources, the practice of circuit bending serves as a methodology for exploring the histories of discarded objects through activism, democratization, and creative resurrection. While a rich history of circuit bending continues to inspire artists today, the recent advent of smart musical instruments and the growing number of hybrid tools available for creating connective musical experiences through networks asks us to reconsider the ways in which repurposed devices can continue to play a role in modern sonic art.

Bendit_I/O serves as a synthesis of the technologies and aesthetics of the circuit bending and Networked Musical Performance (NMP) practices. The framework extends techniques native to the practices of telematic and network art to hacked hardware so that artists can design collaborative and mediated experiences that incorporate old devices into new realities. Consisting of user-friendly hardware and software components, Bendit_I/O aims to be an entry point for novice artists into both of the creative realms it brings together.

This document presents details on the components of the Bendit_I/O framework along with an analysis of their use in three new compositions. Additional research serves to place the framework in historical context through literature reviews of previous work undertaken in the circuit bending and networked musical performance practices. Additionally, a case is made for performing hacked consumer hardware across a wireless network, emphasizing how extensions to current circuit bending and NMP practices provide the ability to probe our relationships with hardware through collaborative, mediated, and multimodal methods.

Date

7-9-2020

Committee Chair

Allison, Jesse

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