New Instrument Uses Tattoos As A Score


Reader Dmitry Morozov – a Moscow-based media-artist, musician and ‘engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms’ – has created a new instrument that uses a tattoo for a score.

Morozov creates experimental electronic music and advocates for circuit bending and DIY electronics in Russia, under the moniker ::vtol::.

Here’s what Morozov has to say about his instrument, ‘Reading My Body’:

this is a special instrument that combines human body and robotic system into a single entity, that is designed to automate creative process in an attempt to represent the artist and his instrument as a creative hybrid.

The device consists of a railing with comfortable hand holders and two parallel, but offset from each other black lines’ sensors that move along the arm using a stepper motor. It is equipped with a 3-dimensional Wii remote controller that uses the OSC protocol in order to give a possibility of additional expression achieved by moving hand in space.

Morozov use of tattoos is part of a trend that we anticipated in our 10 Predictions For Electronic Music Making In The Next Decade in 2010 – musical body modifications. 

Here’s a video overview of Reading My Body:

“The tattoo is designed to contain the maximum number of variable time slots between triggers. It is possible to manually control the velocity of sensors’ movement, direction and step length, that altogether gives an infinite number of variations of reading patterns from hand,” notes Morozov. “In addition, all control parameters and sensors’ movements can be programmed to operate autonomously.”

Here’s a demo performance of Reading My Body:

Technical details:

  • hand controller + Nord Modular G2 and Symbolic Sound Kyma X + OSCulator
  • black line sensors
  • stepper motor
  • arduino nano
  • wii remote

6 thoughts on “New Instrument Uses Tattoos As A Score

  1. Unless I’m missing something, this could just as well be a piece of paper? There is something interesting here, but it might be better suited to using a kinekt or some such camera system monitoring a dancer with pattern-recognition technology in a full-body performance.

    1. But you won’t look bitchin rad cowabunga… or whatever tattoo culture zealots will consider this over like you say a piece of paper.

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