<< preface

this blog is nina wenhart's collection of resources on the various histories of new media art. it consists mainly of non or very little edited material i found flaneuring on the net, sometimes with my own annotations and comments, sometimes it's also textparts i retyped from books that are out of print.

it is also meant to be an additional resource of information and recommended reading for my students of the prehystories of new media class that i teach at the school of the art institute of chicago in fall 2008.

the focus is on the time period from the beginning of the 20th century up to today.

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>> Toshio Iwai, "Tenori-on", 2001-2007t

>> tenori-on:

from the yamaha-website (for which iwai developed the tenori-on):

Tenori-on captures the imagination of so many different people. From the creative and professional media artist to non-musicians alike, this new form of musical interface is opening many new avenues of musical exploration and creativity.

A recent independent dissertation by UK-based Graham Wynne is a fascinating document as he explores the extent to which instruments such as Electroplankton and Tenori-on are overcoming barriers to creativity in modern music production. With related quotes from Toshio Iwai, Brian Eno, Steve Reich and Norman Fairbanks you can read Graham's dissertation HERE

more images can be found here: flickr.com/photos/kirstykomuso/1980268675/

"Toshio Iwai, the Tenori-on's inventor in conjunction with Yamaha, is a world renowned Japanese designer (who has also designed the Electro-plankton innovative interactive music game with Nintendo). The tenori-on device embodies visualisation of music, auditory and visual display and an intuitive interface for layering and performing sounds. Its basic operation can be sunstantially augmented by a sound expert by loading banks of your own samples, thereby enriching its auditory scope to a potentially limitless and individual set. Additional memory allows you store and record creations for later performance. As my research looks at digital means to augment conventional music devices and hyper instruments, aesthetic digital display, as well as the bimodality of auditory and visual display, this device encompasses all of those concerns. I am interested to use it, to study its usability and investigate the interaction of the visual and auditory output. It also ties into the 'gestural interaction with sound' theme of my ARC research.

Concept: Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha have collaborated to design a new digital sonic interface for the 21st century, TENORI-ON.
A 16x16 matrix of LED switches allows users to play music intuitively, creating a "visible music" interface. The TENORI-ON is a unique 16 x 16 LED button matrix interactive sound device with a stunning matrix visual display.

Operation: It is simultaneously a performance input controller and display. By operating and interacting with the LED buttons and the light they produce you gain access to the TENORI-ON's operation modes. These include Score Mode, Random Mode, Draw Mode, Bounce Mode, Push Mode and Solo Mode.

TENORI-ON layers can be thought of as “performance parts” or “recording tracks.” The TENORI-ON has a total of 16 layers. Separate notes and voices can be assigned to each layer, and all layers can be played together in synchronization.
The 16 layers are divided into six performance mode groups as shown in the illustration below. The six modes have different note entry methods and operation. Up to 16 layers created using different modes can be combined for rich, complex musical expression.
A completed set of 16 layers is called a “block.”

The TENORI-ON can store up to 16 programmed blocks (16-layer groups) in memory, and you can switch from block to block instantly during performance.

You could, for example, create a musical composition in one block, then copy that composition to another block and edit it to create a variation of the original composition. Or you can load a number of previously-created compositions into separate blocks from an SD Memory Card and switch between them to create variation during playback.
See links above for full specs and info or to watch a Youtube video demo>/i> (mine coming soon to my blog) "

Toshio Iwai - Tenori-On from watz on Vimeo.

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... is a Media Art historian and independent researcher. She is currently writing on "speculative archiving && experimental preservation of Media Art" and graduated from Prof. Oliver Grau's Media Art Histories program at the Danube University in Krems, Austria with a Master Thesis on Descriptive Metadata for Media Arts. For many years, she has been working in the field of archiving/documenting Media Art, recently at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research and before as the head of the Ars Electronica Futurelab's videostudio, where she created their archives and primarily worked with the archival material. She was teaching the Prehystories of New Media Class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and in the Media Art Histories program at the Danube University Krems.