CAL Invited Talk: Brian Bridges - "How to Dispose of the Body? On Musical Problems and Bodily Solutions"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 ( 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm )

Location: Kidde 350

The human body is, obviously, at the center of music production, whether in the originating performance or in its recording and manipulation using digital technologies. However, until relatively recently, consideration of bodily structures did not feature in the mainstream of Western music theory. Similarly, for much of the history of computer music, the lack of available processing power for ‘real–time’ responses meant that direct gestural interaction (what we normally think of as ‘performance’) could not be a priority. Yet, even as the increase in available processing power has provided for real–time interactions in computer music, this problem still persists. A fundamental ‘body–blindness’ is a legacy ‘feature’ of many music software interface designs. In failing to consider the body, they may ultimately hinder us in creating satisfying musical performances, in spite of their sonic power!

A key problem for contemporary music technologists is how to provide uncomplicated control over complex processes. Placing bodily structures and ideas at the center of the design process may help us to more easily understand and, more importantly, perform with, our new digital musical instruments. 

Brian Bridges is an experimental composer and music and technology researcher from Dublin, Ireland, and is currently based at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, where he has been Lecturer in Creative Arts/Creative Technology since 2008. A particular focus for his research is the interaction between theories of auditory perception/cognition and composition and performance systems. His creative work spans the fields of spatial sound-based installations, audiovisual pieces and electroacoustic and instrumental music. His compositions have been programmed in Europe, the Americas, and Asia with support from Culture Ireland. Brian is also a founder of the Dublin-based Spatial Music Collective, which presents electroacoustic and mixed-media works by Irish and international composers.

Bridges completed his M.Phil. in Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin and his Ph.D. on the theory and practice of microtonal music at National University of Ireland, Maynooth.