Saturday, 24 October 2009

Double bass and toy music

Curcuit Bending_Telephone toy

I have done a bit of circuit bend in this amazing phone toy from Jumbo BEBE store. I have used two light dependent resistors (LDR) with different values to control the curcuit flow. This was done as a part of a piece that me and Sebastiano Dessanay are working on called- Double bass and toy music.

Wirelles switch box

I have also built a wireless switch box using the Arduino Bluetooth board. The box will also be used to control a simple MAX/MSP patch that will record,playback and transform the sounds form the toys and the double bass.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Friday, 2 October 2009

Sirenes (2009)

This was the fourth and final piece from the concert.


Και πρώτα ταξιδεύοντας θα φτάσης στις Σειρήνες,
που όλους μαγεύουν τους θνητούς που λάχουνε κοντά τους·
όποιος σιμώση απ' αγνωσιά κι ακούση τη φωνή τους,
από γυναίκα και παιδιά χαρά να μην προσμένη
μήτε πατρίδα πως θα δη, τι με γλυκά τραγούδια
αυτές τόνε μαγεύουνε μες απ' τη λιβαδιά τους.

Tom Martin Soprano Sax
Spyros Aristeidou Electirc Guitar
Michael Valentine West Wiiremote 1
Tychonas Michailidis Wiiremote 2

Skylla & Harivdi (2009)

This was the third piece of the concert. Skylla and Harivdi page 143


Κει μέσα η Σκύλλα κατοικεί και φοβερά γαυγίζει·
έχει φωνούλα σκυλακιού νιογέννητου, κι ως τόσο
είναι κακότροπο θεριό, κι ούτε θνητός κανένας,
κι ούτε θεός θα χαίρονταν θωρώντας το αντικρύ
του.Έχει και πόδια δ
ώδεκα, που ξέκρεμα είναι όλα......


Τόν άλλο χαμηλότερο, Οδυσσέα, θα δης το βράχο·
κοντά 'ναι οι δυό τους, θά 'φτανε η σαγίτα σου να ρίξης.
Μεγάλος είναι ορνιός εκεί, μυριόφυλλος, και κάτου
η θεία η Χάρυβδη ρουφάει το μελανό το κύμα.

Τη μέρα τρεις φορές ξερνάει, και τρεις φορές ρουφάει·

να μη σου τύχη και βρεθής την ώρα που ρουφήξη,

τι δε θα σε ξεγλύτωνε μηδέ του κόσμου ο σείστης.

Chris Smith Trumpet

Spyros Aristeidou Guitar

Sebastiano Dessanay Double Bass

Monday, 28 September 2009


Cyclopes (2009)
Improvisation for Double Bass and live electronics

This is the second piece from the concert. Few mouths ago we try an experimental improvisation approach between Sebastiano Dessanay on double bass and me on live electronics. After that we realize that the outcome was good material and we decided to develop it further. Here is an extension of this collaboration with Sebastiano were the bass is taking the form of the Cyclops.

I am recording live, improvised fragments from the bass and then I am feeding the sounds back to the audience through a surround system. The recorded fragments are layered (up to three for now) and automatically looped and processed live through the Wii remote accelerometer that I am holding in my right hand. The surround distribution is controlled through a custom made sensor glove the I am wearing in my left hand.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Performance at Custard Factory

The following videos are the pieces from my concert that took place at Custard Factory theatre in Birmingham on the 2nd of September 2009. The concert was a part of my final dissertation for the MA course Digital Arts in Performance.

The first piece of the concert was Paddling which resembles the Oddyseas 10 year journey in the sea for his way home after the Trojan war few thousands year ago.

This is the program from the concert.

Paddling (2009)
Tychonas Michailidis

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The MA performance concert on the 2nd September

For my MA Digital Arts in Performance degree I have to produce a 45 minutes concert. This is not a part of MA program but my suggestion that I have made to Greg since the program is very flexible in terms of creative outcome. This is the beginning of a journey toward the realisation of this concert from the practical and conceptual point of view.

In addition to the concert I will produce an interactive installation that will be placed at the Vaad Galery, which is next to the theatre and then at Margaret Street on Friday.

The concert will be at the Custard Factory in Birmingham on the 2nd of September at 18:30. There will be one big rehearsal on the 1st from 16:00 until 22:00. The theatre is small (100 seat) with a small stage and a surround system. There is also a fitted projector screen 3x4 that I can use. I will come back to this later on since I have to figure out the equipment that I will need in order to book it from the conservatoire.

The concept of the concert will be the Journey of Odysseus. I will come to this all as soon as I decide which episodes I am presenting. Also I am waiting for the final draft of the poster to put it on

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Proposal for the MA Digital Arts in Performance

This proposal, for the MA Digital Arts in Performance final show, will aim to explore human interaction and communication within the digital technologies. Sound examination through human digital interaction will be the main outline of this exploration.

Music, as a performing art, has distinct approaches for realisation and audience perception in relation to other forms of art like painting, sculpture, video installations e.t.c. There are two main reasons for this differentiation. The first is, as the world indicates, a performing art that takes place in a continuous time space. There is a real-time creation and experience of the art rather than a static and unchangeable, through time, experience like painting and sculpture. The second reason is that, music making, comprises a medium (instrument) in order to produce the outcome. Before the digitalization of sound and electronic equipment, there was a closer human communication and relation with the sounds. The production of sound was associated with the performance of the human body and the mechanical properties of the instrument. For example, a piano key will produce sound that depends on the force that it is applied to. This is also true beyond any musical instrument experience. Hitting two sticks together, or throwing a rock on the ground it is expected to produce sound. However, with the formation of electroacoustic music the last 60 years there was a deliberate attempt to disconnect the onstage causality of sound. With no performers in concert halls there was no direct relation of the causality of sound. This is debatable since electroacoustic music exists within the technology and there is no need for performers. Thus, abandoning any prior reference outside technology can help the formation of a new relation. However, live electronic music has a relation that lies outside the technological aspect and that is the live/real-time human performance interaction. Abandoning prior relation of any performance aesthetic practice, such as the causality of sound, will not form any new performance relation. On the contrary, will suggest unrelated causality of sound and will loose aesthetic values related to the performance.

The outcome of this proposal will aim to establish and suggest a digital causality of sound through digital means and instruments.

1. A 45-minute concert/performance that explores the relation of human interaction between digital instruments and sound. This exploration will take the form of improvisations and compositions with traditional and digital instruments. Various digital instruments and custom made controllers will allow this exploration. This will take place at the Custard Factory Theatre
2. An interactive installation that responds and reflects the audience interaction to discover sound and visual through interaction. This will take place at the Custard Factory Vaad Gallery.
The outcome of this exploration will help me to form a better practical understanding about how and why live electronic music and human interaction can blend a successful aesthetic performance. It will contribute to my professional development as a digital performer since the concert will take place in Custard Factory. This will force me to consider performance problems and solutions. It will provide me with experience and knowledge to continue this practical research at a PhD level.

  • Collins, Nicolas. 2007. Live electronic music. In N. Collins & J. d’Escriván, eds. The
  • Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Classen, C. 2005 (Ed). The Book of Touch. Oxford: Berg.
  • Cox, C.& Warner, D. 2004 (Eds). Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. London: Continuum
  • Chion, M. 1994. Audio-Vision Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Collins N. 2006. Handmade electronic music: the art of hardware hacking, New York: Routledge.
  • Davies S. 2004. Recordings. In Davies,S . Musical Works & Performances: a philosophical exploration, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • Emmerson, S. 1986 (Ed.). The Language of Electroacoustic Music. London, The Macmillan Press LTD.
  • Emmeson, S. 2000 (Ed). Music, Electronic Media and Culture. Hamshire, Ashgate
  • Emmerson, S. 2007. Living Electronic Music. Hamshire, Ashgate
  • Ghazaa, R. 2005. Circuit -bending: build your own alien instruments, Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
  • Holmes, T. 2002. Electronic and Experimental Music. 2nd Ed. London: Routledge
  • Howes, D. 2005. Empire of the Senses. Oxford: Berg
  • Mirana, E. R. &. Wanderley, M. 2006. New digital musical instruments: control and interaction beyond the keyboard, Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, Inc
  • Nattiez, J.-J. 1990. Music and Discourse Towards a Semiology of Music. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Pateson, M. 2007. The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technology. Oxford: Berg
  • Road, C. 1996. The Computer Music Tutorial, Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Winkler, T. 2001. Composing interactive music: techniques and ideas using Max, Cambridge, : MIT Press
  • Wishart, T. 1996. On Sonic Art. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publisher

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Latency experiment Stage 1

Hardware and Software.

As a starting point for this experiment it is wise to lay down all the hardware and software available. Working with the equipment that is already there at the VRU labs will be beneficial in two ways:
  1. No money will be spend
  2. It will save time as well since there will be no alternative root for thinking the usability of different equipment. For example, an old and slow wireless rooter is possible to give a different outcome that a fast and new wireless rooter. However, this debatable approach might take place in future, since it is not under the scope of this experiment.
  3. By using the same hardware and software it will show easier any dysfunction in the experiment be more apparent. Also, it will be easier to monitor the outcome since the hardware and software relation will be the same and out of any concern.
The next stage is to write down the possible needs for the experiment and to find out if there are available.


There are four locations so far that the experiment can take place.

1. VRU lab(Margaret Street)
2. VRU Studio (Digbeth)
3. Conservatoire
4. Tychonas House

There is an uncertainty about the functionality of these locations since I have to make sure that there is a possibility to undertake the experiment. So things to do this week are:

1. Write down all the hardware and software needed.
2. Make sure what is the availability of each location

Monday, 4 May 2009

Music Technology Concert, 21 April 2009

Study Approach No.1

This is the video from the performance that took place in the Music with Technology concert at Birmingham Conservatoire 21 April 2009. It is a series of performances exploring improvisation and digital causality of
sound between live electronics and the double bass (Sebastiano Dessanay)

Photos by Jonathan Green

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Latency experiment. Start 29-04-09

This is an extract of the suggested performance mentioned in the essay.

“Four laptops are placed in two different locations, Birmingham‐ Athens. Laptop 1 and 4 are based in Birmingham and laptop 2 and 3 in Athens. There is a performer between laptop 1 and 4 that is called Red and the performer in Athens is called Blue. Laptop 1 is connected via Internet network to laptop 2 as well as 3 to laptop 4 via Internet. Laptops 1 and 4 are not communicating together as well as the laptops in Athens. The piece is similar to Steve Reich’s phase musical approach. Instead of having the performer phasing the music in and out the network latency will phase the music in and out as natural effect. Two same instruments, pianos, are located in each location. Red and Blue will have the same score, 8 bars of music or 16 seconds of music at 120 (bpm). A clock will be needed to count the seconds and beats. There will be an ON/OFF situation between the two. When the Red is ON Blue is OFF and vice versa. The ON signal means that the performer will play the 8 bars of music. The OFF signal means the pause for 16 seconds. Red will start as ON by playing the 8 bars. As soon as Blue hears the first note from Red that is the signal to start as OFF, so counting the 16 seconds of rest before setting to ON. After this Red and Blue have to play on time and count with the watch in order to be as strict as possible. Laptop 1 is the input of sounds from Red and laptop 2 the output of Red and the input of Blue. Laptop 3 is the input of Blue and laptop 4 is the output of Blue and the input of Red. Anti‐clockwise circuited starting from laptop 1.The network latency in relation with the strict timing from Red and Blue will phase the music. A close set of headphone will be needed so that latent sounds and notes coming from laptops 2 and 4 cannot affect expectations and the performances of Red and Blue. The piece will stop when the two locations are in phase playing the 8 bars in unison. The outcome of the piece is based on the amount of latency that exists between the two locations.”

There are three stages in this experiment that need to be explored:
1. The design (hardware, software, place, instruments, score e.t.c)
2. The process (the way to put all this together and how they will work, interact with each other)
3. The outcome, the actual performance, what it is expected, the hypothesis of the experiment and the desired outcome.
I the third stage, the hypothesis and the assumption, is a good starting point since it has a major reflection on stage one and two.

The outcome of this experiment, as mentioned earlier, is to allow latency to phase in and out the music from two separate locations in order to experience similar music phases. A general outcome that the experiment will be based on is the following:


The debate between Greg and me in a small chat was whether
(a) this will work in the first place and if so,
(b) the 16 seconds of silence will become 32 as they will play along (Greg’s suggestion)or
(c) they will start towards unison direction from the very beginning (Tychonas suggestion)

There are also many other questions to be answered but let’s take some of them since more questions will appear during the process. There is an ON/OFF situation between the two locations. When Red is ON, Blue is OFF and vise versa. There will be latency within the two locations that will be added every time that Red or Blue is ON.
1. Is there added latency between the two locations and how much is it, how it can be measured?
2. How long it will take to have a noticeable effect?
3. How Red audience will listen in relation to Blue’s?
4. Is there a direction towards unison or a separation of the two leaving 32 seconds of silence and 32 seconds of music?
5. How to synchronize the two to know that there is a reference point to study the experiment.

The next step is to shape the design so that it is possible to know the equipment, place and time, instruments and performers.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

What was done so far

It is being a long time since I made the effort to write in this blog but I have the best excuse, I was busy…….

So to catch things up to the present, in concert with my MA course, I have to mention the presentation and the 5000 word paper under the Contextual Research Presentation module. In a few words what I had to do for this semester are the following:
1. a 45 minute presentation on a subject that reflects digital creativity and practice
2. a 5000 world essay that will be discuss the aesthetic arguments of creativity and the practical reflection mentioned in the presentation

In a way, the presentation was bad and inconclusive. Major features of any aesthetical approaches where missing. However, it was a good approach in technicalities. The subject of the presentation and essay was the aesthetics of latency, in networks. It is a part of the paper presentation that Greg and me will present in Keele University in the 4th of July. In the presentation, I have approached the subject, latency, from the technical point of view leaving out the aesthetic part. I mentioned what and where is latency and the way it is experienced thought the human body. I had also present, not well; the way latency works in networks. The inconclusiveness of the presentation was because I did not mentioned how latency can be used as an aesthetic feature in networks. The presentation took place on the 11th of March 2009 at the lecture room in Margaret Street. I will upload soon a small video from the presentation.

I believe the essay covered the missing parts of the presentation giving emphasis on the aesthetical approach and how network latency may suggest creativity. I am waiting to be marked on this essay. As an essay it is an easy reading, making clear arguments and points why and how latency must and should be approached creatively in the digital arts. The essay was handed in the 21st of April 2009.

Another part of this semester assignment is the Digital Arts Practice( C-DAP1). The aims of this, as mentioned in the guidebook are:
• To enable you to experiment, develop, synthesise and resolve your practice at an advanced level.
• To encourage experimentation with digital technology with a view to developing a major practical theme for the MA stage.
• To explore the possibilities for improvisation through digital media.
• To enable you to investigate and develop alternative media and/ or related skill(s) where relevant.
• To enable you to enhance your knowledge and understanding of professional practice through your engagement with it.

In a few words is to experiment with technology to discover, understand, explore and develop a different a digital approach to creativity. What I am planning to do is a performance piece suggested in the essay about latency creativity. It will take the form of an experiment simply because Greg theoretically suggest a different outcome from what I had mention in the essay. I have a deadline until the 25th of May that I have to be able to describe any findings from the experiments. This blog will be my digital notes for this experiment. It will help me with the documentation of the design, process and the outcome of the experiment.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Putting Your Foot Down: the Aesthetics of Latency

Paper presentation proposal, Dr. Gregory Sporton & Tychonas Michailidis, Visualisation Research Unit, Department of Art, Birmingham City University.

It will be presented at the Sixth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900
2-5 July 2009, Keele University

Traditionally, latency is considered as a problem in performance contexts, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the use of the Internet for networked-based performance. The absence of latency in stand-alone computers contrasts with the experience of networked performance, creating ambivalence about the role the network can play in computer-based sonic and visual art.

This paper suggest that rather than being a problem for the digital artist, latency is an inherent property of the network, and as such is one of the determining features of the creative space. This demands that creative practitioners account in their work for latency as a creative and aesthetic aspect of digital arts practice.

The opportunities are more apparent when it comes to live performances or interactive installation using technology. Hardware communication, long cables and networking produce significant latency that does not respond instantly to the performance or installation situation. We discuss, through practical demonstration, not how to reduce latency to the minimum but rather how to use latency as a creative and aesthetic property within the presentation structure. Creativity through latency is exploited by suspending the expectations of what we experience visually, aurally and sensually.

We approach the aesthetics of latency in two ways. Firstly we examine the effect of different latencies by delaying the audio from the visual and vice versa. Secondly, we look at the effects of latency in audio-haptic domain. By examining the areas above we present some alternative approaches in digital creativity practice, experiencing latency from an audience perspective as well as the challenges for the performer.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Attractor Performance 06/01/2009

The performance took place at the recital hall of Birmingham Conservatoire on the 6th of January 2009

The program notes

The poster

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Rehearsals comments

I think now is time to cover all that happened since the last time I wrote in this blogg.
Few things from the last update:

1. I had to decide about the artistic outcome of the project since my previous idea (about the audience interaction) did not work.
2. Problems with the performers or to be more precise, I didn’t know if they would show up since I had never worked with any of them in the past to know them and trust them.
3. The piece needed to be polished and ready for the performance

Since the last update 8/12/08 I had 3 rehearsals and the performance on the 6th of January. The three rehearsal was at the 16th and 20th of December and on the 5th of January.
I will start with describing what happened in the rehearsals:

16 December 08-Rehearsal 1 14:00-17:00

This rehearsal, as the other two and the performance, happened in the recital hall at Birmingham conservatoire. I had only three hours on my disposal so I thought that the best rehearsal would be to test if all the equipment works without the performers. We took all the equipment (me and Julia) laptops, soundcards, cables and more cables and tried to put everything together. Julia is the other MA student that she had a film installation performance on that day, 6th January 2009. After three hours and with a lot of help from the conservatoire technician (Matthew O'Malley) everything worked. The 8-channel setup was ready. I had to write down most of the setup configurations (cables, soundcards inputs outputs etc) because we had to unplug everything by the end of the rehearsal. This rehearsal was very important to found out if the technology works and any possible problems.

20 December 08- Rehearsal 2 10:00 -16:00

That day only the saxophone player came and that made me worried more about the other performers. After setting up again all the equipment I had to make sure that everything works. Even though I had done the same thing few days earlier I had still a few things that did not worked as planed. I was though confident because everything had worked the first time, and I had plenty of time to found out how. Again this rehearsal was more about testing the equipment rather a piece rehearsal. What I have gain from all this, is that technology and equipment need to be performed without the performers in advance. I believe this is something that electronic composers and performers start now to realise (at least I did).
Since the piece was not even close to any traditional performance I knew that writing down (on paper, notes) the whole performance would not worked. The 4 Wii players had to move in the three-dimensional axis, in space, and push different buttons on the Wii. For that reason I tried to approach this composition with a different technique. Instead of writing what they had to do, I saw what they could do and then wrote it down on paper.
At the rehearsal I had worked the way the saxophone and the Wii remote could work as one. What I did eventually was to allow the Wii remote to manipulate the sounds of the saxophone by controlling the amount of different effects (from Abelton Live) through the Wii remote. After knowing what the saxophonist could do I wrote a twelve bar melody in 3 different keys. The saxophone player could choose to play for any number of times any of the twelve bars. The Wii performer had all the twelve bars(sound files) pre-recorded and stored in advance so that he could recall randomly any of them. There are more details that I am not going discuss now.

5th January 09_Rehearsal 3 10:00- 17:00

The same process was done in this rehearsal as well. Set up everything, make sure that everything works and finish the composition. All the performers finally showed up ☺. I had to explain them what I have done in Max and how it worked with the Wii remote. I tried to do this as simple as possible for the reason I explained above, if it was too complicated then the performers could not play with it. Since the Wii remote is a new instrument that you can control and manipulate sound, I had to approach it in a way that could feel right and logical from the first time. Same thing happened with the actual Wii remote for gamming; it felt right from the very beginning. The piece was actually composed on that rehearsal, the setup, the sections, and everything else was decided with the performers at that day. For example the idea of the 3 performers sitting in the audience and then coming on stage was decided because the performers were very interested in doing this. Bass and saxophone player decided what they wanted to do as a group, change of keys, tempo etc. Finally this was the idea from the very begging, how group see themselves in other groups and other individuals in a group.

I had 7 groups.

1. The bass player
2. The Sax and the Wii that controls the sax sound
3. 1 and 2 together
4. The 3 Wii players
5. The Sax Wii and the 3 other Wii players
6. 1, 2, 4 together
7. 1, 2, 4 and me the Conductor

I can go further by saying that also the audience form a group since the 3 Wii performers were sitting in the audience.
I will post soon some picture and videos form the rehearsals. I will also comment of the actual performance soon.