(Hu)man-Machine Harmonies: A Rumpus and Ruckus with Ohmies


(Hu)man-Machine Harmonies: A Rumpus and Ruckus with Ohmies



Building Contemporary Experimental Electronic Music (CEEM) Devices


Ideating, designing, and building an analogue CEEM device for an empathy jam with Cosmo Duff.


The goal of the workshop is to provide CEEM literacies and to create CEEM devices with young students. Included are the ideas that humans and machines rely on and are in relationship one another in CEEM; information about Vilém Flusser, the father of apparatus-functionary co-creative action; and expressing the idea that we can boost or lose signals/transmission depending on who/what we include or exclude.


To promote and provide greater access to and appreciation of analogue CEEM devices (-- often different from known musical instruments) for young creatives, their educators, friends and families.

To design and build musical, sound, and noise devices that need not be governed by music’s ‘rules’.

To encourage one’s abilities to invent, build, describe, and develop relationships with devices.  


Find acoustically or sonically diverse materials in your home, neighbourhood, or at school that can be built into an acoustic (--physically manipulated for sound, music, or noise) device. They should fit in a backpack or be easy to carry. All materials and physical objects are welcome.


Cosmo Duff, a music and sound hu(man)-machine invented a community of devices as he explored the City of Ohm. In many ways, Cosmo’s relationships to his devices are a strong and cherished as human friendships. They do not see devices and instruments as their tools to use at will. Rather, Cosmo values each for their unique characteristics, personalities, and abilities believing he is an equal. By thinking of inclusion and equity, Cosmo believes that stronger and more beautiful creations can come from the City of Ohm, often for the first time. Without these relationships, that signals can be limited or even lost.


On campus/in class, at least two exercises are available to educators pre- and post-workshop/demo with Cosmo. Creative exercises involve encouraging a class to imagine, design/illustrate, and describe their device’s unique characteristics, attributes, and personality before they seek materials and build their device. With this information, select materials and the device can come into sharper focus and be undertaken.

The Program:

Cosmo Duff is hosting a social event or community celebration. Cosmo will welcome students and their devices, he introducing his human-machine to theirs. Cosmo will host a game which sorts and organizes the student devices according to their sonic qualities – frequency, tonal qualities, timbre, including re-combinations. Cosmo will then spark, mobilize and prototype three collaborations based on human-machine empathy. For example, devices who are outgoing-shy, messy-neat, or grumpy-happy, etc. will be invited to join recording stations, tracking 2-3 pieces based on continued, random gameplay.


With the consent of parents, instruments can be integrated into the City of Ohm.

(C) Connor Harvey-Derbyshire

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