A Session with the phonetiphone

(Collaboration with Samantha Calvetti)

A Session with the Phonetiphone is a musical game for the Phonetiphone, a networked synthesizer and game controller that uses the performer’s mouth as a sonic resonator. It was invented by Samantha Calvetti and Thomas Sturm.

Both the instrument and the musical game it controls draw from a history of parlor magic and parapsychological technologies created throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The con artists behind these inventions often hid everyday electronics in mysterious housings in order to trick unsuspecting participants into believing the item provided an otherworldly enhancement to their extra-spiritual connections. The Phonetiphone, like these inventions, proposes to help participants achieve a singular consciousness by connecting them to a fourth dimensional techno-spiritual realm. Throughout each “session”, the performers use the box’s navigation controls to “find” each other in this imaginary realm. The performer’s proximities within the realm are reflected by the sounds that leave the box through a velvet-covered tube. Each performer also controls the emission of sound from their mouths freely by changing the placement of their lips/tongue/teeth. This process adds formant frequencies to the electronic sounds, as well as gives off the impression that these unworldly sounds are coming from inside of them. The piece culminates in a pleasant, harmonious moment, beguiling the physically exhausting and moderately uncomfortable experience shared by the participants.

Performed on 8/18/17 at the wulf. @ Coaxial Arts

In video: Erin Demastes, Thomas Sturm, Jesse Kenas-Collins, and Ethan Marks.

On Recording: Erin Demastes, Thomas Sturm, Iris Sidikman, and Ethan Marks.