BipedShoes: The Haute Couture of digital musical instruments for a new dramaturgy in performance
The field of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), and it’s sub genre, Digital Musical Instrument design (DMI), is a relatively young area of exploration. This is especially true of wearable DMI for the feet, the topic of this research and like each new field, wearable DMI is still taking shape.
The research explores ideas of designing aesthetic, visual and acoustic wearable DMI footwear and their impact on dramaturgy in performance. (Dramaturgy is the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage).
The BipeShoe project acknowledges past developments in footwear and looks at symbolic experiences with technologically enhanced aesthetic prosthetic extensions of the body. Acoustically and visually aesthetic, mechanical and sensorial extensions and their movements are explored and documented. The impacts of the different choices throughout the development process are considered. Theories of creativity and movement using these body-centric devices are learnt and adopted to arrive at ways this knowledge can impact dramaturgy in performance. Focussing on the body and it’s capacity for movement opens up potential to explore the body with foot-centred musical devices. Through my praxis, I demonstrate how engaging the feet with foot-worn musical instruments affects ideation, movement and associated sounds.
The research also presents a series of shoe based prototypes made by the “artformance” group Chicks on Speed and shoe designer Max Kibardin and their utilisation in experimental workshops, live art and exhibitions.
The BipedShoe project is being undertaken in academic, scientific and artist in research residencies and the collaboration includes researchers at The University of Technology, Sydney (Creativity and Cognition Studios, School of Software), The University of Western Australia (SymbioticA, School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology) and Penn State University (Kinesiology & School of Visual Arts) with funding from the European Union and Australia Council for the Arts.