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In a big room with four large windows to the left. Four persons are engaged in music-making and dancing. The floor reflects light from both the windows and small house lamps that are placed here and there on teh floor. Yellow yoga blocks are piled, there are ballet beams and a blue umbrella.
A creative, playful space for the explorative work of ShareMusic TechLab with Mike Mulshine, musicians Joel Mansour and Peter Larsson, and dancer Lovisa Larsson. Photo: ShareMusic & Performing Arts

TechLab residency part 1 with Mike Mulshine

Stanford PhD candidate Mike Mulshine’s TechLab residency with ShareMusic is divided in two parts: in June 2023 he has been working in Jönköping, and in August–September, he will continue his work in Malmö. On Monday September 11, you get a chance to experience Mike’s collaboration with ShareMusic in a public sharing at Mitt Möllan on September 11 2023. Find more information about the sharing here.

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A playful and cross-artistic residency in Jönköping

In the first part of his TechLab residency with ShareMusic, Mike worked with musicians Peter Larsson and Joel Mansour, and dancer Lovisa Larsson. Mike’s goal was to create a musical performance experience that incorporated and merged all of the participants’ unique expressive interests.

– I asked each musician involved to bring whatever musical setup, props, or ideas they were currently interested in, passionate about, or attracted to, says Mike. As artists, I believe the most valuable thing we can do, for ourselves and for others, is express ourselves the way we most desire – follow our light, so to speak. Our lights merged in Jönköping, and we began to make music together.
Three people on the floor, bouncing blue balls. Fourth person by a table, playing music on the iPad
Lovisa Larsson, Mike Mulshine and Joel Mansour creating bouncing sounds with rubber kick balls. Peter Larsson, at the table, focused on working with his main instrument - an iPad.

This was the starting point for a most creative and playful process that included improvisation led by lamps turned on and off, controlled by the participants, lots of music but also dance and theater. A truly interdisciplinary exploration where Mike encouraged the participants to challenge their comfort zones. The creative space at Kulturskolan (the Municipal Music and Arts School) in Jönköping, also offered useful props like ballet beams that formed music stations, yoga blocks that became a large structure, and rubber kick balls that produced intriguing sounds. Contact mics were fastened around in the room, on furniture and on people, inspiring Peter and Lovisa into a duet where the sounds of Peter’s wheelchair and other movements were caught by the mic. Mike summarizes the experience:

– Without too much intentional effort to adhere to the theme, I was surprised that many of our decisions related deeply – striving and failing: to build, to dance, to bounce and contain kickballs, to keep up with Lovisa's movements musically, to play and then be cut off by the dimming of a light. All of this was still very beautiful, and I absolutely loved this process of spontaneous generation of performance and theater!
Peter experimenting with contact mics, sweeping a broom over the amplified floor.
Peter Larsson exploring contact mics, sounds and movements.

Can you reveal some highlights from the residency in Jönköping?

– Any time anyone was excited to offer an idea of their own... That's how you know the process is working! And the smiles and simultaneous joy and exhaustion we seemed to all share after the first complete run-through of what would become the final set for this part of the residency.

During the second part of the residency, musicians from ShareMusic’s ensemble in Skåne will join the work.

What will happen at the public sharing in September?

– The goal is to incorporate the additional musicians via a similar spontaneous, fun, agency-diffuse style as we achieved in our working process here in Jönköping, Mike explains. I also aim to find a reliable and comfortable way to incorporate the audience more directly in the work.

Could you explain the technology used during the residency?

– I used two distance sensors attached to my computer via an easy-to-use chip called a Teensy, explains Mike. They track the distance from it to an object in front of them, using ultrasonic sound. I also used three light sensors (fashioned from photoresistors), which also streamed data to my computer via a Teensy. With these pieces of data, I was able to make dynamic and changing soundscapes mapped to our movements and actions in the space using Max MSP. I want to explore this more in September.

What will happen next?

– I hope to continue to explore this workflow and develop a rigorous understanding of it in relation to how we traditionally have made music.

Black and white headshot of Mike Muslhine.
Mike Mulshine.

About Mike Mulshine

Mike Mulshine is a composer-songwriter-performer and music technologist whose work rethinks traditional musical relationships and explores themes of emotional vulnerability, identity, and group belonging. He produces interactive audiovisual works that aim to expose accessible, engaging, and empowering new modes of experiencing or (co-) creating media. Please visit his website for more information.

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