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Art, music and new accessible technologies / 22 February 2016

Things are really happening with new arts technologies, particularly in (assistive Music Technology) AMT. Yes I am back with Drake Music Connect & Collaborate, trying to drum up, or tap out interest for London based artists/ musicians in getting together for monthly meetings, the first being in the Sackler Space at the Roundhouse, 12 – 3.30pm on 1st of March, only a week away.

Having completed my ‘Sonic Vistas’ project, like many other disabled artists I am wondering “where next and how?”  ‘Sonic Vistas’ funded by Arts Council England was a multi media project, combining music and visual arts to make a more accessible experience. I and 6 other disabled musicians performed 5 of our own songs with new music technologies including; Kris Halpin’s MiMu Gloves (in development by Imogen Heap and her team), MC Geezer’s Subpac (to literally help him feel the music), Rosie Vachat’s Soundbeam and iPad apps also used by Sophie Partridge, Howard Jacques’ linked array of Korg Monotribes and Mic Scarlet on regular synth. We were virtually an all-digital band, apart from the singing and rapping. Projected next to us was my digital imagery, making for an all-digital multi media experience. So where do I go next?

The main benefit of working with other disabled artists is that I can share in a wide melting pot of influences and ideas, find out about new technologies and extend and expand the parameters of my creativity. As disabled artists, we really can develop uses for AMT and other accessible arts technologies as pioneer the cutting edge. John Kelly’s ‘Kellycaster’ is in development. It is a digital technology to be played like a real guitar because it is actually part guitar. He will be attending our meeting at the Roundhouse, by the way. And recently filming Sue Austin (pioneer of the underwater wheelchair and the development of her 360º pop-up immersive visual display system) has been a great inspiration to me, both as a visual and sonic artist – so watch this space.

On Thursday 24th February at 11am, I will be answering questions for Decibels Twitter Q&A Unlocked - Mapping Technology for Creativity: the Twitter handle is: @Decibels.Org, hashtag for the Q&A is: #artistunlocked.

Are AMT and other new arts technologies the way forward? Definitely and defiantly yes. As a disabled artist, I embrace them and other disabled artist like me will give an imperative, vitality and visceral direction to these new technologies. We are unique in our wants and needs, with an impetus to develop and stretch our creative boundaries and now it is our time to forge ahead and be on the cutting edge.  

If you want to know more about the ‘Sonic Vistas’ project and see Kris Halpin demonstrate his MiMu Gloves and throw in a couple of his songs in to the barging, then join us at the Roundhouse on the 1st of March. After which, we can share our experiences and discuss what we want from the Drake Music Collaborate monthly meetings.