MARCO DONNARUMMA

Performing bodies, sounds and machines

Marco Donnarumma | peformance art and technology, sound art and body politics


MARCO
DONNARUMMA

Ominous

Ominous is an incarnated sound sculpture created and manipulated live by a performer. The piece is performed in a concert setting with a circular array of subwoofers and loudspeakers.

“In his hands, the ether itself is made of dense clay.”
Peter Kirn, CDM

About the work

The performance embodies, before the audience, the metaphor of an invisible and unknown object enclosed in the performer’s hands. The object is made of malleable sonic matter. Similarly to a mime, the performer models the object in the empty space by means of whole-body gestures. By using the new musical instrument XTH Sense, the bioacoustic sound produced by the contractions of the performer’s muscles is amplified, digitally processed and played back through eight subwoofers and loudspeakers.

The natural sound of the performer’s muscles and its virtual counterpart blend together into an unstable sonic object. The object oscillates between a state of high density and one of violent release. As the listeners imagine the object’s shape by following the performer’s gesture, the sonic stimuli induce a perceptual coupling. The listeners see through sound the sculpture which their sight cannot perceive.

The piece uses the XTH Sense  biocreative instrument. This consists of custom wearable biosensors and a digital framework for real-time processing of acoustic biosignals, both developed by the author. Muscle fibres and blood vessels produce subcutaneous mechanical oscillations (i.e. acoustic sounds). These are captured by the XTH Sense by means of chip microphones and fed to a computer in real time. The machine deploys mathematical and learning models to understand and interact with the muscular activity of the performer’s body.

The performer produces the sound material by contracting his limbs and the computer diffuses the processed sounds of the performer’s body through an octophonic audio system. All sound manipulations, spatialisation, rhythm and structure of the piece are defined in real time by the physical behaviour of the performer on stage.

Commissioned by: European Conference of Promoters of New Music (BE)
Keywords: Concert, performance, spatial sound, bioacoustics, physiological computing
Status: Touring


Ominous photo gallery

  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
  • Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art

Year of creation: 2012-2013
Technique: custom-built XTH Sense bioacoustic sensors, computer, loudspeakers, subwoofers, red par can spotlights
Duration: ca 20’00”
Dimensions: min. 8m x 8m x 4m

Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art
Marco Donnarumma - Ominous Performance Art Sound Art

Exhibitions

  1. Toulouse Hacker Space Factory

    THSF, Toulouse, FR, 2016

  2. Creative Tech Week Opening

    National Arts Club, New York City, US, 2016

  3. transmediale Vorspiel Hypernatural Sounds

    SomoS Gallery, Berlin, DE, 2016

  4. Scope Session Live

    Spektrum, Berlin, DE, 2015

  5. NEMO Biennale/IRCAM Live

    La Gaîté lyrique, Paris, FR, 2015

  6. Maintenant Festival

    Hotel Pasteur, Rennes, FR, 2015

  7. Embodied Sound

    University of East London, UK, 2015

  8. Apiary Session

    Apiary Studios, London, UK, 2015

  9. MusicMakers Hacklab

    Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, MX, 2015

  10. CTM Festival

    Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE, 2015

  11. Hyphen Hub Salon

    Red Door Space, New York City, US, 2014

  12. Dark Circuits Festival

    Spectrum, New York City, US, 2014

  13. Beyond Biennale meets Discovery Festival

    Amsterdam, NL, 2014

  14. Olematute kylade projekt / Project for Non-existent Villages

    Tartu, E, 2014

  15. Digithon Access Space Fund Raising

    World Wide Web, 2014

  16. Syndrome 1.3 Control

    FACT, Liverpool, UK, 2014

  17. Sónar+D / Opening Music Hack Day

    Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, ES, 2014

  18. Arte Performatica y Tecnologia

    ZonAutonoma, Puebla, MX, 2014

  19. 2° Encuentro Internacional de Arte Sonoro

    Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, MX, 2014

  20. STEIM Concert of Bodies

    Studio for Electro Instrumental Music, Amsterdam, NL, 2014

  21. Experimental Intermedia

    hosted by Phil Niblock New York City, US, 2014

  22. ICT & Art Connect

    Watermans Art Centre, London, UK, 2014

  23. What is Sound Design?

    University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2013

  24. RPM Sound Art China

    West Bund Biennial, Shanghai, CN, 2013

  25. TransitioMX Biomediaciones

    Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City, MX, 2013

  26. DA Fest

    National Academy of Arts, Sofia, BG, 2013

  27. Kontejner

    Sound Art Incubator, Mocvara Gallery, Zagreb, HR, 2013

  28. River 2 River / New York Electronic Arts Festival

    Schimmel Theater for the Arts, New York City, NY, 2013

  29. STEIM Summer Party

    Studio for Electro Instrumental Music, Amsterdam, NL, 2013

  30. NIME, International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    KAIST, Dejeon, KR, 2013

  31. LAC, International Linux Audio Conference

    Mumuth Concert Hall, Graz, AU, 2013

  32. POLAND Tour

    Falanster, Wroclaw, PL, 2013

  33. POLAND Tour

    Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, PL, 2013

  34. POLAND Tour

    Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, PL, 2013

  35. World New Music Days

    de Singel, Antwerp, BE, 2012

Credits

Marco Donnarumma – Concept, music, performance, programming
Ugo Dalla Porta, Stefanie Kulisch – Photographers
European Conference of Promoters of New Music (ECPNM) – Commissioner
Inspace / Creative Scotland – In kind support

Bibliography

Donnarumma, M.,
Ominous: Playfulness and Emergence in a Performance for Biophysical Music
Body, Space and Technology Journal, 14, Brunel University, 2015.