Ambiguous Devices

Ambiguous Devices is a long running collaboration with Paul Stapleton.

Ambiguous Devices is a distributed musical instrument. Its construction stems directly from our improvisational and instrument development practice. As such we are interested in how a distributed instrument can extend and affect this performance practice. Ambiguous Devices is not a completed project. What is presented here is the current stage of development that is the culmination of three extended visits between SARC (Queen’s University Belfast) and Bournemouth University and several months of remote sessions between CCRMA (Stanford University) and Bournemouth University. As part of the developmental process, Ambiguous Devices has been presented in several public contexts, notably: a concert between Stanford and Bournemouth University (2012); an installation and concert at NIME 2012; a performance at INTIME 2013, Coventry; and RENEW 2013 in Copenhagen.

The physical construction of Ambiguous Devices can be described as a networked data and acoustic interaction between Paul Stapleton’s existing performance instrument (Bonsai Sound Sculpture) and a number of other instrumental elements constructed by Tom Davis. Although Ambiguous Devices is constructed from a number of modular components often spanning two sites, we argue that it is best conceptualised as one distributed acoustic instrument. Although each node is an amalgamation of digital and acoustic surfaces – the primary method of sound generation is through the excitement of acoustic bodies.

Ambiguous Devices at NIME 2012