In plateau eleven in ”A Thousand Plateaus” Deleuze and Guattari talk about how the movements, colours and calls of the bowerbirds forms an assemblage of heterogeneous components that together constitutes a machinic statement. They also describe how stems of grass with the australian grass finches become components for passages between assemblages.

Similarly one may regard music for acoustical instruments together with electronic sounds as a special assemblage of enunciation. The combination as such – the concrete character and refined connections and flow between musician and instrument, together with the abstract character of the speakers with their invisible electrical signals and spatial rigidity – composers have tried to bring together by creating connections between the two worlds, where ”Kontakte” by Stockhausen is the classical example of how timbral and gestural similarities connect the acoustical and electronic material. Developments in the field of live electronics have made it possible to fuse the two worlds by using microphones and motion sensors together with machine learning and gesture recognition.

By utilising the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari and their concepts of heterogeneous components, rhizomatic connections, and machinic assemblage, the live electronics can be viewed in a different light. Instead of looking at the relationship between the acoustic and electronic material as a question of similarity or interaction, one may set up a perspective where all the components (musician, instrument, sounds, movements) take part of a general assemblage, where the acoustic and electronic material are not two separate worlds but together form different musical assemblages, where sensors and algorithms are about connections rather than controlling, and where data is a flow rather than a material.

With the purpose of investigating the artistic possibilities of such an approach we have been working on a piece for clarinet and electronics, where a motion sensor is integrated in the bell of the clarinet. In that sense the sensor is not an addition to the instrument, rather it makes the clarinet – just like the stem of grass with the australian grass finches – a component for passage between different musical assemblages within the general instrumet and electronic assemblage. The embodied action becomes a part of the musical assemblage, and the tactile and choreographic dimensions also become a part of the electronic sounds.

Our proposal consisted of a piece for clarinet and live electronics and a paper proposing a possible philosophical base for live electronics and motion sensors with Deleuze as a starting point.

Components of passage

Nine passages for clarinet and electronics by Fredrik Hedelin.

Our proposal consisted of a piece for clarinet and live electronics and a paper proposing a possible philosophical base for live electronics and motion sensors with Deleuze as a starting point.