Seth Woods trying out a feedback system for Bodied Chambers, a work-in-progress for cello and electronics (without speakers) by Patricia Alessandrini, at Huddersfield University, September 2013.
The system used here consists of a transducer and a contact microphone worn on the body of the performer.
(The 'Madonna-mic' is not part of the system, nor are the microphones on half-stands; these microphones were only used for recording purposes during the session)
Bodied Chambers is somewhat outside of the standard instrument + electronics model, as it will not involve sending electronic sound through speakers, but rather through the body of the cello itself. There may be optional amplification of the instrument for larger performance spaces, but the electronics will principally consist of the injection and re-injection of sound into the body of the cello.
After some conversations about this project and our respective research on interaction and the 'prosthetic body', we decided that in Bodied Chambers, all of the technology will be placed on the body of the performer, rather than on the body of the cello. Seth will be equipped with two small transducers strapped to his body, which he will bring into contact with the body of the cello to make it resonate over the course of the piece, thus heightening the sense of intimacy of the usual playing position and the image of the cello itself as a 'body'. He will begin sitting as usual in a chair, then move to a kneeling position, and finish the piece lying on his back with the cello on top of him, first in 'normal' position, with the strings facing up, and finally, holding the instrument with the strings facing his body. He will have a miniature microphone attached to his bowing hand, and another small microphone near his ear, so that he may 'listen' to the cello while he is playing – especially through contact with the tuning pegs - and re-inject its sound into the body of the instrument through the transducers he will be wearing. Seth will also use the second microphone to transmit his vocal sounds to the cello, as a further physical merging between his body and the body of the cello.