It seems like my work and performance has centred around the AirSticks for the last year, and that 2023 is going to be even more AirStick focused. I have done two live performances using the technology now; once at JOLTED for Melbourne Design Week, and then at Burrinja Cultural Arts Centre in Upwey, where I was able to blend my original film work, dance and music compositions created with AirSticks.
One question I get a lot is “what are the AirSticks?” So maybe it’s time to get back to basics and explain a bit about the technology I am working with.
I was first introduced to the idea of a wearable, adaptable and accessible music instrument by my friend and colleague, Dr Anthea Skinner, in early 2020. We did a lot of experimentation with different versions of a wearable, I even tried the Woojer wearable haptic feedback tech for a while (it was too bulky and designed for a male body type, so was not ideal for me). My role in the project has been to use my already developed dance and movement practice, and find ways that sound composition tech can be incorporated into that.
Now I have two AirSticks 2.0 models. They use a gyroscope and connect to my laptop for programming with various sounds like musical instruments, prerecorded vocals and sound effects. Then I wear the devices strapped to my wrists and as I move, I find the sounds in the space around me. Right now, when I make big, sweeping motions, for example, I get reverberating bass drums, and when I make small, delicate movements, I can capture the harp strings.
Looking forward, I am exited about the next stages of this project. Working with the inventor, Dr Alon Ilsar as well as a team of researchers, dramaturges and choreographers, I am now learning how to program the AirSticks myself. We have all survived the grant application process for further research and were successful at some, so we have added a collaboration with the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). I am now starting a residency at VCA to continue our development and work on a 50 minute performance piece.
For a deeper look at the AirSticks tech, you can check out the AirSticks website here or stay tuned for more from me!