The Moirai Mask

Chloë L A Sobek

Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Article Number: 1158
  • PDF link

Abstract:

PROGRAM NOTES The Moirai Mask is an ornate mask that operates as a NIME. The mask has an integrated MIDI controller that allows the performer to play music by touching the brass and bamboo panels. In performance, the artist uses audio-montage to collage sounds of the Australian wilderness with electronics and sampled fragments of an acoustic string instrument. The mask is handmade from predominantly recycled materials; hand cut brass panels and hand painted bamboo elements adorn the front of the mask, which are sewn into the cotton paneling that covers the hand soldered electrical components. The Moirai Mask is a sonic play on the Covid-19 PPE mask. The PPE mask, like an exo-skeleton, provides an extra, augmented layer of protection from our bodies, the ‘outside world’, the virus, the Other. The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to accept our bodily limitations and embrace this prosaic form of human augmentation, the PPE mask. Furthermore, as the Covid-19 virus enters our bodies and is transmitted through our breath, we must acknowledge that we are not separate from the non-human world that we inhabit but are in fact bodily constituted through it [1]. As Deborah Lupton et al. point out ‘the COVID crisis [has] heightened awareness of our collective vulnerability to each other’s more-than-human bodies’ [ibid.]. Drawing on the concept of a NIME, here the PPE mask is appropriated as a symbolic and subversive art object, paying sonic homage to the non-human world while the artist’s voice is subtly silenced.

Citation:

Chloë L A Sobek. 2023. The Moirai Mask. Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime23-music-1158,
 abstract = {PROGRAM NOTES The Moirai Mask is an ornate mask that operates as a NIME. The mask has an integrated MIDI controller that allows the performer to play music by touching the brass and bamboo panels. In performance, the artist uses audio-montage to collage sounds of the Australian wilderness with electronics and sampled fragments of an acoustic string instrument. The mask is handmade from predominantly recycled materials; hand cut brass panels and hand painted bamboo elements adorn the front of the mask, which are sewn into the cotton paneling that covers the hand soldered electrical components. The Moirai Mask is a sonic play on the Covid-19 PPE mask. The PPE mask, like an exo-skeleton, provides an extra, augmented layer of protection from our bodies, the ‘outside world’, the virus, the Other. The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to accept our bodily limitations and embrace this prosaic form of human augmentation, the PPE mask. Furthermore, as the Covid-19 virus enters our bodies and is transmitted through our breath, we must acknowledge that we are not separate from the non-human world that we inhabit but are in fact bodily constituted through it [1]. As Deborah Lupton et al. point out ‘the COVID crisis [has] heightened awareness of our collective vulnerability to each other’s more-than-human bodies’ [ibid.]. Drawing on the concept of a NIME, here the PPE mask is appropriated as a symbolic and subversive art object, paying sonic homage to the non-human world while the artist’s voice is subtly silenced.},
 articleno = {1158},
 author = {Chloë L A Sobek},
 booktitle = {Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Rob Hamilton},
 month = {May},
 note = {Live Concert 5, Friday June 2, Centro de Cultura Digital},
 title = {The Moirai Mask},
 url = {https://www.nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime23_concert_5.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}