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The Serendiptichord

wearable instrument for dancers

The result of a cross-disciplinary investigation spanning fashion, technology, music and dance, the Serendiptichord is a wearable musical instrument that entices the user to explore a soundscape through touch and movement.

This curious device is housed in a bespoke box and viewed as part of a performance. Unpacked and explored on and around the body, the Serendiptichord only reveals its full potential through the intrepid curiosity of its wearer. Adhering to the body like an extended limb, this device is best described as choreophonic prosthetic. Referencing the architectural silhouette of a musical instrument and the soft fabrication of fashion and upholstery, it is designed to entice the wearer to explore its surface through touch, physical manipulation and expressive movement. Although this acoustic device can be mastered alone, it also holds subtle openings for group interaction.

The Serendiptichord is a collaborative work between the artist Di Mainstone and Tim Murray-Browne.

A short film based on the Serendiptichord. Written and directed by Di Mainstone, starring Jennifer Essex, sound by Tim Murray-Browne.

Performances

  • Oct 2009 Creativity & Cognition, Berkeley Art Museum, California
  • Feb 2010 Kinetica Art Fair, London
  • Feb 2010 Swap Meet, The Barbican, London
  • Feb 2010 The Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Jul 2010 INSPACE Gallery, Edinburgh
  • Oct 2010 The Sweden National Touring Theatre
  • Sep 2010 Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • Feb 2011 Kinetica Art Fair, London
  • May 2011 Digital Shoreditch, Village Underground, London

Press

The Serendiptichord has also been featured on MAKE, Fashioning Technology, Synthtopia, PSFK, Design Indaba.

Publications

  • T. Murray-Browne, D. Mainstone, N. Bryan-Kinns and M. D. Plumbley, "The Serendiptichord: Reflections on the collaborative design process between artist and researcher," Leonardo 46(1):86-87, 2013. (pdf, bibtex)
  • T. Murray-Browne, D. Mainstone, N. Bryan-Kinns and M. D. Plumbley, "The medium is the message: Composing instruments and performing mappings," in Proceedings of the International Conference on New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME-11), Oslo, Norway, 2011. (pdf, bibtex)
  • T. Murray-Browne, D. Mainstone, N. Bryan-Kinns and M. D. Plumbley, "The Serendiptichord: A wearable instrument for contemporary dance performance," in Proceedings of the 128th Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, London, UK, 2010. (pdf, bibtex)
  • A. Otten, D. Shulze, M. Sorensen, D. Mainstone and T. Murray-Browne, "Demo hour," Interactions, 18(5):8-9, 2011. (link, bibtex)
  • D. Mainstone, "The Serendiptichord," in S. Seymour, Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology, 2010.

Acknowledgements

The Serendiptichord was created by Di Mainstone and Tim Murray-Browne and produced by BigDog Interactive. It was originally commissioned by the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London for a performance at the ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference 2009 at Berkeley Art Museum with support from the Interactional Sound and Music Group. Its development and associated research was funded by a Doctoral Training Account and a Platform Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK).

Special thanks to Dave Meckin, Rachel Lamb, Judy Zhang, Stacey Grant and Vesselin Iordanov for their assistance and to Mark Sandler, Mark D. Plumbley and Nick Bryan-Kinns for their support.