MARCO DONNARUMMA

Performing bodies, sounds and machines

Marco Donnarumma | sound art and performance art, human body and biotechnology


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.

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

  • Scope Session Live, Spektrum, Berlin, 2015
  • NEMO Biennale/IRCAM Live, La Gaîté lyrique, Paris, 2015
  • Maintenant Festival, Hotel Pasteur, Rennes, 2015
  • Embodied Sound, University of East London, London, 2015
  • Apiary Session, Apiary Studios, London, 2015
  • MusicMakers Hacklab, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, 2015
  • CTM Festival, Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2015
  • Hyphen Hub Salon Red Door Space, New York City, NY, 2014
  • Dark Circuits Festival Spectrum, New York City, NY, 2014
  • Beyond Biennale meets Discovery Festival Amsterdam, NL, 2014
  • Olematute kylade projekt / Project for Non-existent Villages Tartu, E, 2014
  • Digithon Access Space Fund Raising World Wide Web, 2014
  • Syndrome 1.3 Control FACT, Liverpool, UK, 2014
  • Sónar+D / Opening Music Hack Day Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, ES, 2014
  • Arte Performatica y Tecnologia ZonAutonoma, Puebla, MX, 2014
  • 2° Encuentro Internacional de Arte Sonoro Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, MX, 2014
  • STEIM Concert of Bodies Studio for Electro Instrumental Music, Amsterdam, NL, 2014
  • Experimental Intermedia, hosted by Phil Niblock New York City, NY, 2014
  • ICT & Art Connect Watermans Art Centre, London, UK, 2014
  • What is Sound Design? University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2013
  • RPM Sound Art China, West Bund Biennial, Shanghai, CN, 2013
  • TransitioMX Biomediaciones Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City, MX, 2013
  • DA Fest National Academy of Arts, Sofia, BG, 2013
  • Kontejner Sound Art Incubator, Mocvara Gallery, Zagreb, HR, 2013
  • River 2 River / New York Electronic Arts Festival Schimmel Theater for the Arts, New York City, NY, 2013
  • STEIM Summer Party Studio for Electro Instrumental Music, Amsterdam, NL, 2013
  • NIME, International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression KAIST, Dejeon, KR, 2013
  • LAC, International Linux Audio Conference Mumuth Concert Hall, Graz, AU, 2013
  • POLAND Tour Falanster, Wroclaw, PL, 2013
  • POLAND Tour Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, PL, 2013
  • POLAND Tour Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, PL, 2013
  • 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

Publications

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