Musical Prosthetics are a new form of interactive media for enhancing non-verbal communication. Newly created musical instruments are attached to the human body in exoskeletal formations, wired with sensors that create sounds triggered by body movement. Every wearable sculpture can be designed to convey a different human emotion.
Three Musical Prosthetics express the primary colors of human emotion; sad, mad, and glad. The sad prosthetic, made from sewn leather, slumps over the shoulders, turning inward. The mad prosthetic is made from bronze prisms protruding outward in sharp, edgy points. The happy prosthetic has sculpted wood petals; light, joyous, and playful. As performers interact with each other, their music creates a window into the non-verbal world.
Three Musical Prosthetics exaggerate specific human emotions. The materials used in this set of three prosthetics is leather, bronze, and wood- each chosen and designed to correlate with the emotions sad, mad, and glad. The prosthetics are connected to an Arduino sensor that is matched with the body movements associated with that desired emotion. The sensor is placed somewhere on the prosthetic as it is attached to the wearer’s body. The sensor picks up the specific movements from the wearer, and sends the information to a Teensy Arduino. From the Teensy, the information goes into Max MSP where the information is then translated from numbers and data into real-time music and sound.
In live performance these prosthetics command awareness. They are magical and fantastical, each with its own personality, yet cohesive as a group. Viewers and performers get drawn into the visual and aural connection, triggering an awareness and mindfulness, strengthening an understanding of the non-verbal world. Musical Prosthetics encourage larger conversations about our movements, our experiences within our bodies, and how it feels to express this wonder to others.
This prosthetic is made with over a hundred bronze prisms protruding from the body. This prosthetic represents irritation, frustration, and anger.
This prosthetic is made from folded leather and drapes downwards off of the shoulders. This prosthetic represents sadness, worry, and anxiety.
This prosthetic is made from laminated wood veneer bent into the shape of petals. This prosthetic represents excitement, happiness, and joy.
Musical Prosthetics was supported through the Social Innovation Fellowship at the Swearer Center at Brown University.
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