Manager or Musician? About virtuosity in live electronic music by Michel Waisvisz



The text that follows is the program note for a panel discussion moderated by Michel Waisvisz during NIME 2006. In Proceedings of the 2006 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME06), Paris, France

Thank you Michel for the ever inspiring words.


Do we operate our electronic systems or do we play them?

enchantment versus interaction

if our goal is musical expression we have to move beyond designing technical systems.
we have to move beyond symbolic interaction.
we have to transcend responsive logic;
engage with the system:
power it and touch it with our bodies,
with our brains.
invent it and discover it’s life;
embrace it as instrument.
an instrument that sounds between our minds.

we will have to operate beyond pushing buttons and activating sensors
beyond isolating gestures and mapping data and parameters
beyond calculating response
beyond assuming that the concept will create music

we should abolish the illusion of ‘control’
merge our intentions into those of the instrument and the audience
get inspired by change, miscalculation, invested instinct, insightful anticipation, surprise and failure

the sensors, the logic, the artistic debate, the technical debate, the circuits, the theories about perception, the new war
driven technologies, the ability or dis-ability to communicate, the conferences, the endless experimentation with system
tweaks, the touch and sound, the reoccurring state of disbelief, the craving for the stage, the difficult and great
collaborations, composing the now, the survival of the electronic music scenes, the nime, the industry, the independents,
the musical fun, the appreciation of difference, the body as source of electrical and musical energy, the bonding of
thinkers, the rapid improvisers,
… just to extrapolate some ingredients and vehicles of our quest.

it might work if we manage to express ourselves musically by moving beyond interaction,
beyond mere technical beliefs and disbelief.
by engaging, by trusting ourselves into the potential of our new instruments,
enchanting our sounds, our audience.

enchantment is not only a state of mind,
it is a technology
designing for new musical expression is casting a spell on instrumental practice.

Michel Waisvisz, Limerlé, May 2006


Michel Waisvisz