PHONIC BODIES and CHOREOGRAPHED SOUNDS
Performances with electro-acoustic clothes
My decision in the early 1980s to stop working with pigments and canvas came from a desire to interact directly with public spaces. By building loudspeakers into clothes I could intervene in any given environment in a temporary and cost-efficient way: loudspeakers and circuitboards are cheap and can be salvaged from surplus electronics and disguarded toys. My artistic tools are electroacoustic clothes: costumes and suits that are equipped with loudspeakers and amplifying systems that allow the individual wearers to react acoustically to their environment. Basically each person wears one part of a composition: the position of the individual “audio actors” and their movement within a space produces the final composition. The orchestration of the mobile sounds creates the final musical score (see AUDIO CLOTHES 1983-85). Series of different “audio clothes ” are developed in regards to a particular theme or site as “Audio Uniforms” (see AUDIO STEELWORKERS, AUDIO VACUUM CLEANERS, GUITAR MONKEYS, AUDIO CYCLISTS) or in relation to a local culture (see AUDIO GEISHAS/ Japan, AUDIO JEANS/ USA, AUDIO HANBOK/Korea.
In 1989 the AUDIO BALLERINAS started using a variety of electronic instruments in order to personally interact with their environment. Among others, light sensors that enabled them to produce sounds through the interaction of their movements and the surrounding light and movement sensors with which they could individually trigger electronic sounds. These were then collectively choreographed into “audio ballets”. A variety of other electronic instruments (samplers, contact microphones, and radio receivers) allowed them also to work with the sounds, surfaces, topographies and electromagnetic waves of the space around them.
The AUDIO PEACOCKS (since 2003) use plexiglass costumes shaped into a peacock’s fan-like plumage. They are equipped with 16 loudspeakers and 150 watts power. The “audio-plumage” is highly directional and functions like an electroacoustic radar dish. An Audio Peacock can either amplify its own electronic instruments and /or voice using a microphone and sampler, or receive sounds from outside sources via transmitter/receiver and disseminate them in a space by orienting his high-tech “plumage”.
VIDEO PEACOCK is the most recent performance project from Benoit Maubrey. An Audio Peacock costume out of white plexiglass is used as a mobile projection screen. This is an audio-visual performance where the electro-acoustic quality of an Audio Peacock is visually enhanced via a video projector. Video-taped images can be projected simultaneously to the sounds on the costume. In a more spectacular sense the Peacock’s own filmed image can be projected live onto itself in a form of “video-feedback”. The self-produced voice and sounds can also be used to manipulate the images projected onto the costume.