Self-Sabotage Workshop: a starting point to unravel sabotaging of instruments as a design practice

Teodoro Dannemann, Nick Bryan-Kinns, and Andrew McPherson

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Papers
  • Pages: 70–78
  • Article Number: 9
  • PDF link

Abstract:

Within the music improvisation and jazz scenes, playing a wrong note may be seen as a source of creativity and novelty, where an initially undesired factor (the mistaken note) invites the musician to leverage their skills to transform it into new musical material. How does this idea, however, translate into more experimental scenes like NIME, where control and virtuosity are not necessarily the performance's aim? Moreover, within NIME communities the addition of randomness or constraints to musical instruments is often an intended aesthetic decision rather than a source of mistakes. To explore this contrast, we invited four NIME practitioners to participate in the Self-Sabotage Workshop, where each practitioner had to build their own sabotaging elements for their musical instruments and to give a short demonstration with them. We gathered participants' impressions of self-sabotating in a focus group, inquiring about control and musicality, and also the strategies they developed for coping with the self-sabotaged instruments. We discuss the emergent ideas of planned and unplanned sabotaging, and we propose a starting point towards the idea of self-sabotaging as a continuous design and musical process where designers/musicians try to overcome barriers that they impose upon themselves.

Citation:

Teodoro Dannemann, Nick Bryan-Kinns, and Andrew McPherson. 2023. Self-Sabotage Workshop: a starting point to unravel sabotaging of instruments as a design practice. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_9,
 abstract = {Within the music improvisation and jazz scenes, playing a wrong note may be seen as a source of creativity and novelty, where an initially undesired factor (the mistaken note) invites the musician to leverage their skills to transform it into new musical material. How does this idea, however, translate into more experimental scenes like NIME, where control and virtuosity are not necessarily the performance's aim? 
Moreover, within NIME communities the addition of randomness or constraints to musical instruments is often an intended aesthetic decision rather than a source of mistakes. To explore this contrast, we invited four NIME practitioners to participate in the Self-Sabotage Workshop, where each practitioner had to build their own sabotaging elements for their musical instruments and to give a short demonstration with them. We gathered participants' impressions of self-sabotating in a  focus group, inquiring about control and musicality, and also the strategies they developed for coping with the self-sabotaged instruments. We discuss the emergent ideas of planned and unplanned sabotaging, and we propose a starting point towards the idea of self-sabotaging as a continuous design and musical process where designers/musicians try to overcome barriers that they impose upon themselves.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {9},
 author = {Teodoro Dannemann and Nick Bryan-Kinns and Andrew McPherson},
 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 = {9},
 pages = {70--78},
 title = {Self-Sabotage Workshop: a starting point to unravel sabotaging of instruments as a design practice},
 track = {Papers},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_9.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}