A mobile multimedia performance with Awa Odori dancers (Tokushima/ Japan) wearing Obon costumes equipped with sound-to-light LED systems. and wireless receivers. Their accompanying musical instruments (shamisen, drums and flute are played through their costumes. Their wearable LED lighting (using sound-to-light sensors) light up the costumes i a three-tier system according to the sounds (bass, midrange, and treble).
Benoît Maubrey is the founder and director of DIE AUDIO GRUPPE a Berlin-based art group that build and perform with electroacoustic clothes. Basically these are electronic clothes and dresses (equipped with amplifiers and loudspeakers) that make sounds by interacting with their environment. The first prototypes in 1982 and 83 were created from second-hand clothes fitted with loudspeakers, batteries, and a small amplifier that played pre-recorded casettes via portable cassette decks (also known as “Walkmans“). In 1985 during an outdoor arts competition for the BundesgartenSchau in Berlin I developed the idea of “audio uniforms“: custom-build suits and costumes that combine various thematic articles of clothing with site-specific electroacoustic equipment. The costumes are worn by performers who interact with the environment as mobile
and multiacoustic sculptures.
In 1989 I started building the first “audio tutus” for the Ballerinas. At this point the Walkmans were replaced with samplers chips (from the surplus electronic supply catalogs) which enabled the dancers to spontaneously record, play back and manipulate sounds from their environment (the DIGITAL MEMORY piece). Eventually I also equipped the costumes with an assortment of electronic instruments that allowed me to orchestrate/choreograph them into various interactive musical compositions or “audio ballets” — for example light sensors that enable them to produce sounds through the interaction of their movements and the surrounding light (PEEPER choreography). Via movement sensors they can also trigger electronic sounds that are subsequently choreographed –or “orchestrated“– into musical compositions (YAMAHA choreography). A variety of other electronic instruments (mini-computers, samplers, contact microphones, cassette and CD players, and radio receivers) allow them to work with the sounds, surfaces, and topographies of the space around them in a variety of solo or group choreographies.
Primarily Die Audio Gruppe‘s work is site-specific: the main emphasis of the work is to adapt electronics into entirely new “Audio Uniforms“ or “sonic costumes“ that reflect local customs, themes, or traditions (AUDIO PEACOCKS/ Brandenburg 2011, AUDIO BALLERINAS 1990-2016, AUDIO GEISHAS, NTT-ICC Tokyo 1998).