Adam & Atau exploit a commonly available consumer electronics device, the Apple iPhone, as an expressive, gestural musical instrument. The device is well known an iconic object of desire in our society of consumption. The iPhone can play music as a commodity, and this is the way most listeners interact with it. Adam & Atau reappropriate the iPhone and its advanced technical capabilities to transform the consumer object into an expressive musical instrument for concert performance.
In a duo, with one in each hand, they create a chamber music, 4-hands iPhone. The accelerometers which typically serve as tilt sensors to rotate photos in fact allow high precision capture of the performer’s free space gestures. The multitouch screen, otherwise used for scrolling and pinch-zooming text, becomes a reconfigurable graphic user interface akin to the JazzMutant Lemur, with programmable faders, buttons, and 2D controllers that control synthesis parameters in real time. All this drives open source Pure Data (PD) patches running out of the free RJDJ iPhone app. A single advanced granular synthesis patch becomes the process by which a battery of sounds from the natural world are stretched, frozen, scattered, and restitched. The fact that all system components – sensor input, signal processing and sound synthesis, and audio output, are embodied in a single device make it very different than the typical controller + laptop model for digital music performance. The encapsulation in a self-contained, manipulable object take the iPhone beyond consumer icon to become a powerful, expressive musical instrument.