John Richards is known for his work as Dirty Electronics and making hand-held sound devices. Many of these devices have been knobless with touch conductive interfaces with artwork etched printed circuit boards. He asks why this aversion to the knob (potentiometer). Is it the rejection of the dial and rotary control and movement/gesture: a movement of clock- and anti-clockwise and some vague association with the measurement of time? Or the focus on the etched PCB and the avoidance of hardware clutter obscuring the artwork? The knob is something to hold on to, to grasp, a beacon – a symbol of control. But what of open planes, unbroken horizons and a sense of freedom? Is it the influence of touch screens and smart devices where all external hardware is reduced as we develop a swipe culture? Finally there is the play on words question “one knob to rule”. Is a knobless instrument an attempt to seek an alternative interface, debunking gender and male stereotypes associated with technology? One knob becomes no knob or is it more anti-knob?

Neal Spowage will talk about totemic values and our relationship with objects/artefacts, and disruptive or faulty relationship with the ‘knob’. Transcendental use of the interface and the human in performance are key concerns of his discussion. And come to that “What is the knob anyway?”

Marinos Giannoukakis is interested in composition/performance as a complex dynamic process. He will discuss his ideas around trans-consistent composition, a systemic approach to trans-medial/trans-modal artwork. Here narrativity is used as an imposed or sometime an emergent characteristic to describe the complex act of composing/performing. Through this approach, composition is broken down to principle components that are encapsulated by a singular data value. This singular data holds complex information of the composition as a whole. It is not just “one knob to rule”, but one number as data.

Steve Jones
The carry principle and reductionism
One instrument
One cable
One sound
One speaker/amp (mono)

Knobless & Knitting. Sam Topley work deals with the relationships, applications and processes involved in making electronic music with electronic textiles, and exploring craft-based techniques such as embroidery, knitting and weaving as a method for sound-making and performance.

李睿(Lee Ray)is a Chinese single-child who considers herself to be a cosmopolitan. She studied industrial design in both Shanghai and Germany and became afraid of and angry about consumerism and wanted to explore something more interesting and meaningful. Lee Ray is interested in the kind of design that envisions people’s cognitively and allows us to explore the world in new ways (positive or negative). She considers a virtual plastic surgery: a discussion on our ‘aesthetic standard’. “How has this standard changed throughout history and how will it develop in the future?” The discussion will also cover issues concerning sickness of ethical plastic surgery and its deeper cultural meaning. The “one knob’ here is seen as something that represents the norm and the idea of virtual plastic surgery offers a way to re-shape the way in which we interface with the world around us.

Jim Frize will introduce the: Hyperpot: Extending The Capabilities of Hardware Control Interfaces. He reflects further on the idea of knob twiddling in electronic music and asks the question: “How can we improve on the classic pot?” and “How can we add features like velocity sensitivity and aftertouch to a potentiometer?” He views the potentiometer (knob) as limited in terms of its expressivity and, generally speaking, they give you a positional value that can only be mapped to one parameter. With a knob there’s no acceleration detection, no gesture recognition, no force sensing. They have limitations that we have all become accustomed to. The Hyperpot is inspired by the conductive sensing “hand effect” often found on old analogue radios. It is a touch and/or proximity sensitive control that provides multiple MIDI control messages from a single knob: the bastard child of a Theremin and a potentiometer.

Amit Patel. Visions of a future instrument: on the back of beer mat
Amit D Patel (aka Dushume) is an experimental noise artist/musician who is influenced by Asian underground music and DJ culture. His work focuses on performing and improvising with purpose built do-it-yourself instruments, sampling and looping techniques, and how re-mixing and re-editing approaches can shape composition. He is interested in the physical constraints in ‘instrument’ design and how imposed limitations are critical in the creative process. Lack and loss of control are central to his work.

Tim Shaw has worked internationally as a professional composer, performer, sound designer and researcher. His practice incorporates diverse approaches to sound capture and processing, and includes creating immersive and site responsive sonic installations. His compositional methods include field recordings, synthesized sounds and live electronics, providing a wide scope for creative diversity. At the heart of his work lies a concern with the auditory reflection and mirroring of real world environments through sound and technology. He is currently studying a PhD in Digital Media at Culture Lab alongside managing Newcastle based record label Triptik. Collaboration plays a central role in his approach, he has been lucky enough to make artistic work with many people including Chris Watson, John Bowers and Sébastien Piquemal. Tim has presented work in various international venues including Café OTO, NIME, CHI, NK Projekt, ZDB, CTM and FACT Liverpool.


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