My name is Onyx Ashanti. I am an artist/inventor living in Berlin. For the last 2 years i have been working on a new artform which combines music, dance, coding, computer aided design and 3d printing called Beatjazz currently, and it is in a constant state of evolution. I have shared the fruits of this evolution here (software repository) and here (CAD files for beajazz controller v1). but now i want to design the next evolutionary stage: communal collaboration.
This crowdfunding campaign is to create a shareable, open way of creating expression with sound, motion and technology, called a Sonic Fractal Matrix-a network of beatjazz systems(click here to see what beatjazz is and how it works). In the network each beatjazz system is called a node. the 1st node is called node:0.
(the above illustration is v1 of my personal node. nodes that come with the exo-voice perks wont be robotic although they will have legs and light based parameter feedback. the plans to build the robotic elements, will be online once the design stabilizes)
Node:0 is a networked collaborative music concept; the exo-voice interface attaches to the body and is used to create "a" form of fractal music called Beatjazz. a single "pilot" can create entire musical Pattern/performance constucts, improvisationally. This is what it sounds like (this is also part of the $7 perk. it will evolve over the course of this project)
A network of pilots, called a pattern (at which point the pilot is refered to as a "patternist"), creates a decentralized system of wireless syncronization and collaborative sonic construction; a "Sonic" "Fractal" "Matrix".
The system is based on each node having two network addresses; one for interfacing the prosthesis to the avatar and one that links all nodes together to share timing and control information, loosely, meaning that each node isnt dependent on the network to operate, it simply allows everyone to have the same general information. everytime a node enters the network, they are given a number in a que that is updated for every node so every node knows every other node in the network and their number in the que.
With funding, the first complete system-node:0-will be created with a complete online repository of tutorials that will allow the idea to teach itself to anyone that is interested, starting with building a v1 exo-voice, all the way to basic playing techniques. (video explaining existing perks)
The other exciting aspect is in creating the first of many "myth constructs", having taken a cue from great myths, like star trek and their ability to teach science, inspire and tell a good story. it will be a 10 minute scifi movie and It will explain the whole concept of beatjazz and fractal music in a mythical way that my normal "video from a show" or "talk to the webcam" videos can not. it will be filmed and directed by The New Nature team who filmed and edited the campaign video and if we get funded, we already have a team of talented CGI guys ready to make the myth a reality!
What We Need & What You Get
We need approximately €85,000 to do this properly. it is possible to make something happen with less, but the depth of the impact that can be had with a budget, is much much greater.
Here is the idea, basically in this order:
- Refinement of the exo-voice "prosthesis" design to be closer to 100% printable, easier to assemble and adjustable, for workshops and educational situations, as well as robustness in varying performance situations. currently it takes 3 days to print and assemble one exo-voice system. i want to get this down to 8 hours. i plan to experiment with new elastic and conductive printing materials to make this happen. the design itself will be a low level integrated circuit.
- Refinement of the software to be instantly playable, out of the box, but still based on pure data and hackable. currently it is a nest of incomplete ideas. i hope to have a "basic" system that is stable and learnable, come out of this campaign.
- design a passive node that is more an inexpensive learning aid to teach the ideas of the system and which can, over time, be evolved into a full system node.
- My robot avatar (level0) will house 2 computers, an arduino mega, a wireless relay/router( my first one will also have 24 servo motors-18 servos for the legs. this is to investigate the symbiotic relationship between robotic manhines, digital sound and gestural mechanics.
- The exo-voice node perk will have light indicators instead of legs and is powered from an onboard battery system. making this system robust, hackable and playable is top priority.
- To pay my team, Susanne Heiden and Lars Beyer who have been working with/for me for the last 2 years, through all of these projects. they have been doing it because they believe in the idea but i will need to be able to start taking care of them a bit in return.
- An orthopedic interface that will allow musical control data from foot input. this will require new materials (nylon and elastic) and a new printer that can print slightly bigger than the 140mm x 140mm limit of my current printer.
- My latest headgear design incorporates brain stimulation electrodes(tDCS). experiments with such electrodes were very promising but i burned myself (electro-chemical burn from crappy homemade electrodes) so I'd like to investigate this technology in a safer manner and be able to enlist professionals when neccessary.
- Playing on the street more this year (I have really missed the immediate spontaneous interaction with people) and will be building the larger robot avatar (level1) that the small level0 avatar will "dock" with and have a full 5:1 speaker system and a holographic visualizer, consisting of a 3d camera on one of the arms and a projector on the other. the system will track me as i play and project visualizations directly onto my body.(this stage will allow me to move away from venues, experiment more with something between a concert and street performing for the digital age, and help to finish writing my book "the 21st century musicians guide to street performing"). And once the design is stable, all plans, designs and software will be freely available, and taught at the workshops.
- Designing the wireless mesh performance network, better known as the sonic fractal matrix (to be built in pure data and completely hackable) to link these nodes together dynamically. i am getting much better at using wireless networking technologies
- Every concert should be an opportunity to have workshops and create these systems. we will need to be able to buy, make and ship enough parts for each participant to be able to create a basic node as well as personnel to run things. Approximately 2-4 people. we hope to use this as a way of getting young AND older people into programming, 3d printing and music, all at the same time!
- We would like to be able to teach, build then leave behind things like inexpensive (possibly but not confirmed) raspberry pi based music systems and a 3d printer, in places where these things could completely transform a community. the idea of people interacting with sound, together, will make integration of the ideas that created the exo-voice systems, more "sticky".
- I'm entertaining the idea of an integrated design using conductive plastic circuit and sensor systems, with built in networking and postion sensing "slots" -for components that cant be printed. this would take significant time but would get it significantly closer to the idea of a 100% printed system.
Once all of the above has been investigated, we have been working on a short sci-fi film to convey the idea in a way similar to how Star Trek conveyed real science in a fictional "myth construct". we have great CGI artists that are interested in doing it.
What we offer to you:
For this campaign will focus on perks that also integrate into the idea of a sonic fractal matix and make use of the tools i already have, namely my 3d printer and hopefully soon, a better 3-headed version that will allow printing with multiple materials. part of the point of these stages is to get better at my chosen tools. (Video breakdown of all perks on offer)
It must be noted at this point. this is not a "product" or even an instrument. It is an "idea"...in the form of a piece of art... that can be played, hacked or both. Think of it as a kit, but in reverse; it comes in a working state and is meant to be hacked. they are assembled from widely available components and open source software and design files.
Also note that i am teaching myself all of this, as i do it. each stage makes the next stage easier, but i am as much full-time learner as i am full-time inventor.
With that said, all perks will be some variation of the existing, and now mostly stable and working, beatjazz exo-voice v1. The v2 system that will be smaller, stronger and easier to assemble in a workshop situation. i will have to see how soon it can release it based on the new materials that will go into its construction.
What if we do not reach the goal?
If we do not reach the goal, the focus remains on the goals stated above in the order they were presented. this order insures that each stage builds up to the next, fluidly. As usual, everyone will recieve the coolest perk possible, even if it takes extra time to make it super cool. Crowdfunding allows me to let the idea express itself the way it wants.
This project investigates music as a hyperlanguage. A way to say things that words can not express. this is a instrument that demands discipline on multiple levels simultaneously and can be completely deconstructed and reimagined, as part of its design. Computer aided design, 3d printing, coding, music theory and dance combine into a new art form and the mesh networking mean that it is easier "construct" music together than it is to do it alone because you have another pilot to synergize with. integrated collaborative systems will influence the ways that people interact with music and each other, simultaneously.
During the first campaign, it was me and my friend filming the campaign video(warning: super cheesy) on an iphone using pvc pipe things to demonstrate what it could be, with proper funding. Within 3 months of filming it, I was on my way to NYC to demo the first cardboard based prototypes for TED. for the second campaign presented the idea of a head prosthesis using CLAY because that was all i had. It led to discovering 3d printing and whole new world of possibilities. The addition of synchronization, robotics, open source hackability will make this project interesting enough for moderately commited persons to want to stick at it long enough to learn to play it, modify it and evolve it themselves.
In the past, an artist or inventor might go to a record label or seek venture capital, academic or grant funds to make something that could be developed far enough for it to take hold in the wider conciousness. I think crowdfunding this idea is better because everyone who has donated to my previous 2 campaigns, did so because they believed in the idea.
If you can't contribute
This project is ongoing and constantly evolving. It is a story that just keeps telling itself. If it werent for all the people who posted hundreds of tutorial videos, music, software, and and answer all my tedious questions online, FOR FREE, there might not have been a story to talk about, so i hope the story's evolution gives you as much joy as it gives me.