The BioSynth—an affective biofeedback device grounded in feminist thought

Erin M Gee

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Papers
  • Pages: 479–485
  • Article Number: 66
  • PDF link

Abstract:

This paper presents the BioSynth, an affective biofeedback device for generating electronic music developed over a decade as part of my research-creation practice. The BioSynth has facilitated the creation of work involving performers from a variety of ages and professional experiences, contributing to knowledge regarding emotional performance, exposing the differences between perceived and felt emotion within biofeedback art, extending emotional quantification techniques to notions of emotional performance technique, emotional labor, and what feminist Alva Gotby calls emotional reproduction. The design of the BioSynth privileges relational and real-world interactions as well as feminist thought regarding gendered hierarchies between body, mind, musical notation, social context, emotion and reason, and the division between performers and composers. This feminist inquiry has led to the development of alternatives to traditional frameworks for biofeedback music that rely on metaphors of musical instrumentation. After an introduction presenting two lived scenarios, this article is divided into three sections: hardware, software, and wetware. The hardware section describes the BioSynth through its design, which privileges ease-of-use for non-expert users. The software section describes mapping considerations based on feminist principles of measuring the emotional subject only against itself. Finally, in the wetware section I describe a feminist-inspired approach to emotional performance that embraces artificiality, irony, play, pleasure, and performance in biofeedback art, implying novel models for composer-instrument-performer relations.

Citation:

Erin M Gee. 2023. The BioSynth—an affective biofeedback device grounded in feminist thought. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_66,
 abstract = {This paper presents the BioSynth, an affective biofeedback device for generating electronic music developed over a decade as part of my research-creation practice. The BioSynth has facilitated the creation of work involving performers from a variety of ages and professional experiences, contributing to  knowledge regarding emotional performance, exposing the differences between perceived and felt emotion within biofeedback art, extending emotional quantification techniques to notions of emotional performance technique, emotional labor, and what feminist Alva Gotby calls emotional reproduction. The design of the BioSynth privileges relational and real-world interactions as well as feminist thought regarding gendered hierarchies between body, mind, musical notation, social context, emotion and reason, and the division between performers and composers. This feminist inquiry has led to the development of alternatives to traditional frameworks for biofeedback music that rely on metaphors of musical instrumentation. After an introduction presenting two lived scenarios, this article is divided into three sections: hardware, software, and wetware. The hardware section describes the BioSynth through its design, which privileges ease-of-use for non-expert users. The software section describes mapping considerations based on feminist principles of measuring the emotional subject only against itself. Finally, in the wetware section I describe a feminist-inspired approach to emotional performance that embraces artificiality, irony, play, pleasure, and performance in biofeedback art, implying novel models for composer-instrument-performer relations.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {66},
 author = {Erin M Gee},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Miguel Ortiz and Adnan Marquez-Borbon},
 issn = {2220-4806},
 month = {May},
 numpages = {7},
 pages = {479--485},
 title = {The BioSynth—an affective biofeedback device grounded in feminist thought},
 track = {Papers},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_66.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}