Skip to main content

Ambiguous Devices: improvisation, agency, touch and feedthrough in distributed music performance.

Stapleton, P. and Davis, T., 2021. Ambiguous Devices: improvisation, agency, touch and feedthrough in distributed music performance. Organised Sound: an international journal of music and technology, 26 (1), 52-64.

Full text available as:

ambiguous-devices-improvisation-agency-touch-and-feedthrough-in-distributed-music-performance.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF
OSstapleton_davis_RoundTwo_Rev1_final.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1017/S1355771821000054


This article documents the processes behind our distributed musical instrument, Ambiguous Devices. The project is motivated by our mutual desire to explore disruptive forms of networked musical interactions in an attempt to challenge and extend our practices as improvisers and instrument makers. We begin by describing the early design stage of our performance ecosystem, followed by a technical description of how the system functions with examples from our public performances and installations. We then situate our work within a genealogy of human-machine improvisation, while highlighting specific values that continue to motivate our artistic approach. These practical accounts inform our discussion of tactility, proximity, effort, friction and other attributes that have shaped our strategies for designing musical interactions. The positive role of ambiguity is elaborated in relationship to distributed agency. Finally, we employ the concept of ‘feedthrough’ as a way of understanding the co-constitutive behaviour of communication networks, assemblages and performers.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Technology; resistance
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35230
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:01 Mar 2021 10:13
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:26


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -