PORTFOLIO

 

photo: Pierre-Alain Balmer

CHAOSFLÖTE

The Chaosflöte combines wireless sensor technology, digital sound processing, and visual programming with the traditional Boehm flute. In facilitating interdisciplinary performances, the Chaosflöte challenges the artist to rethink traditional understandings of performance, composition, and improvisation.

A•I•Y•A

melody chua (2019 - present)

A•I•Y•A is a sound analysis and improvisation tool, designed for the Chaosflöte and MIDI instruments. When activated, it spins textures and melodies that are derived from what I play -- an algorithmic counterpoint based on 10 simple rules. Its simplicity is contrasted with the complexity of its musical output. The goal of its development is to dissect the often intuitive, yet opaque nature of decision-making in improvised music. Does the improvising musician also operate on sets of rules, validations, and discouragements, even if consciously, her behavior appears to be natural, intuitive, and human? What kinds of conscious and unconscious decisions does the musician make while improvising? If we attempt to replicate this complex system into electronics, can we approach the "organic" aesthetic of human improvisation?

 

To the right are two samples of solo Chaosflöte improvisations using the A•I•Y•A platform.

Below is a recording of a live performance using the Chaosflöte + A•I•Y•A platform.

 
 

BAD DECISIONS

Chaosflöte (sensor-augmented flute), Live Electronics, and Live Visuals.

Composed, programmed, and performed by Melody Chua

In collaboration with XUAN

Pitting human performer against machine improvisor, BAD DECISIONS (2019) challenges our evaluation of a machine’s emotional intelligence and its quest to appeal to the human form of play. Three different scenes within the piece attempt to describe what we consider to be the “machine” and its improvisations. We refer to it in a sort of personified way, but its formlessness eludes our attempts to describe it. As the performer navigates the virtuality of the piece, she tries to make the machine “behave”…But should this be the goal? Bad Decisions teases the notion that machine foul play and the unexpected disruptions brought on by technology can be used as inspiration for a broader palette of human expression.

diaphragma

solo improvisation for chaosflöte

diaphragma is a solo improvisation and my song of the breath, one that undulates between uncertainty, persistence, and vulnerability, while musing upon Ernest Becker's frank observation of the human condition: "This is the paradox: he is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping. breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it." (The Denial of Death)

next step (2019) is a short piece for pressure-sensitive shoes (Sounding Feet) and electronics. Our footsteps are an unavoidable, daily part of our relationship with our surrounding environment. Through simple moving geometries, this pieces asks us to reimagine our relationship with our walk. What hidden movements do we ignore, which become amplified under the scope of interactive electronics? How can this inspire us to move in different ways?

SOUNDING FEET is a programmable, sensor-augmented shoe that opens a new dimension of sound and visual control in dance performance. Developed by Daniel Bisig at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (Zürich), the shoes contain seven, distributed, force resistive sensors in each shoe. These provide high frequency, low-latency transmission of pressure data over OSC, allowing for responsive, nuanced control of performance parameters while remaining versatile in platform support. The development of both the physical shoe technology and the patches utilizing it are done in close collaboration with the dancers themselves, and the project itself causes one to re-evaluate the dancer’s relationship with foot movement, force, and balance. The result is a changed choreography and a unique movement repertoire curated through both the limitations and affordances of the technology.

 

https://stocos.com/publicaciones/SoundingFeet.pdf

next step

for pressure-sensitive shoes, interactive electronics, live visuals

music/programming/visuals: Melody Chua

choreography/dance/visuals: Jaira Peyer

shoe/electronics development: Daniel Bisig

DIMENSIONS: CHAOSFLÖTE

Abschlussprojekt, MA Music Performance, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste

Team:

Melody Chua (project lead; performance, visual programming, and sound design)

Benjaming D. Whiting (sound & transition programming)

Kay Zhang (saxophone)

NEXTION

for Sensor-Augmented Chaosflöte, Live Electronics, and Live Visuals.

Composed, programmed, and performed by Melody Chua | La Côte Flute Festival

NEXTION (2018) draws connections between seemingly contradictory aesthetics, ideas, and visual forms. Through the narrative of war and fear in the past and present, the environment of the composition walks the line between memory and present experience, peace and trauma, abstraction and literal documentation, nature and machine. 

Rehearsal
photo: Martin Fröhlich

Immersive Arts [space]

"Happy Robots"

[lead developer for interactive sound]

"Mirror, MirrOr ist eine Tanzperformance über Grenzen. Während der Performance werden die drei TänzerInnen lernen, sich von ihren Grenzen und der Sicherheit einer einstudierten Choreographie zu lösen und ihr Inneres durch die Improvisation zu befreien. Der Tänzer, eine Diva seines Metiers (Antonio Moio), betritt zusammen mit der jungen talentierten Tänzerin (Giogia D’Amico) den Raum. Antonio versucht Giorgia seine futuristische Choreographie zu unterrichten. Sie kann sich mit seinem Stil aber schlecht identifizieren. Die Probe der Beiden wird durch einen Roboter (Sophie Bertschy) unterbrochen. Nach zögerlichem Annähern erlauben die Interaktionen zwischen den Tänzern und dem Roboter ein Eindringen in neue Welten. Grenzen scheinen aufgelöst zu werden. Sicht- und hörbar für alle werden innere Gefühle nach aussen projiziert. Die Protagonisten verlieren sich in neuen Dimensionen." - I.A. [space]

CHAOS VER. 4

for Sensor-Augmented Chaosflöte, Live Electronics, and Live Visuals.

Composed, programmed, and performed by Melody Chua | Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland

HALF A HORIZON

(2017) Interactive touch/audio/visual installation. Created during an Artist Residency at the Immersive Lab

Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology | Zürich, Switzerland 

This installation presents the same scene from multiple cameras, all reflecting and feeding back into one another and stitched together into a single world. It is the idea of seeing something over and over again, from all different angles and distortions, to the point that instead of becoming more known, it becomes unknown. It is the feeling of being in between dimensions, a state of unknown flux and curious exploration, stuck in a world that does not obey the normal rules of time. And yet, interfacing with the unknown can be an experience that is not unnerving or traumatic, but instead, peaceful, ruminative, and perhaps a bit melancholic. This is Half a Horizon.


What you see is an endless array of reflections, contracting and expanding as you manipulate them with your touch. There is no end goal in this interaction, but to explore the oddly- dimensioned territory and observe your effect on the space. A cello plays melancholically in the distance, unperturbed by the strange environment it has found itself in. The low, persistent engine rumble and artificial oscillators remind you that you are not at home. And it is a good thing. Enjoy the world before you.

I would like to thank my friend, cellist Carol Tsai, for working with me to create and record the cello melodies used in this installation.
And special thanks to the ZHdK ICST for their support during this residency.

PRELUDE FOR AN AVENOIR

(2017) for Sensor-Augmented Chaosflöte, Live Electronics, and Live Visuals.

Composed, programmed, and performed by Melody Chua | Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland

 

LIVE CODING

live coding across different countries (US, CH) and different programs (Supercollider, Max)

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untitled landscapes

"Melody Chua is not your typical flutist...[she] has gone where most musicians are afraid to go."
-The Flute View
"Nie entstand der Eindruck einer von Technik bestimmten Musik. Chua verwendet die Technik als Mittel zum Zweck, setzt sich musikalisch darüber hinaus und haucht damit ihrer Performance jenes Leben ein, das direkt die Emotionen anspricht. Kopflastige Klangkonstruktionen waren bei ihr an diesem Abend nicht zu hören, alles floss in diesen kon-sequenten Improvisationen."
- Anzeiger von Uster, Züriost (on diaphragma for Chaosflöte)

)

"Die großartige Melody Chua werkelt mit Graduiertenstipendium an der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste an ihrer sensorerweiterten elektroakustischen Flöte. Mit dieser Apparatur und natürlich einem Computer untersucht sie Klänge in Echtzeit, als läge hinter den schönen Tönen so etwas wie ein Geheimnis. Die aufgeräumten, geraden Linien der graphischen Projektionen unterlaufen Gedanken an natürliche, archaische Kräfte. Es ist alles viel komplizierter mit dem Schönen. Und nicht nur ernst. Was steckt dahinter?"
- Badische Zeitung

 

"Auf erfrischend lockere und originelle Weise spielt sie damit und bezieht Elektronik, Visuelles und Szenisches mit ein."
-DISSONANCE
CONTACT

©2020 Melody Chua