iMac Music


Sound and image, user intervention into 1999 iMac G3 computers using hand-held amplification probes and parasitic electronics

Supported By

Fonds Podium Kunsten Dutch Performing Arts Fund      STEIM Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music Amsterdam     

iMac Music is a series of user interventions into early iMac G3 computers. The computers begin running recognizable software on a manipulated OS X desktop. Through the duration of the performance the computers’ circuitry becomes increasingly corrupted through manipulations, visual distortions are created on-screen and sound material is tapped from the running circuitry of the computers.

The performance itself traces the process whereby a digital apparatus is reduced from function to raw material, marked by a point where the machines inevitably become unusable as intended, and rebooting into the next movement of the performance.

iMac Music has occured in various configurations, solo with percussion, percussion trio, and an individual intervention with multiple machines.

In addition to being a spectacular experience for the public, he also confronts them with the imposed superfluous consumer electronics such as televisions and mobile phones. The performance is a critical reflection on the medium and thus has a motive that is prevalent in both the media art and the contemporary art world.

Fabian van Sluijs, Are nerds the new avant garde?, Motherboard/VICE

The work demands a special kind of digital literacy: encountering visual stacks and sonic triggers that were part of our everyday activity, sometimes for years on end, heightens our awareness of the techno-ecological race we’re caught up in, making obsolescence a powerful poetic resource.
Sally Jane Norman, Senses of Liveness in Digital Times, IETM

The latest version of the instruments use a parasitic sub-circuit the backseat driver, which resembles a micro-version of the patch-bays used in classic modular synthesizers. The backseat driver allows the performer to patch various signals from within the computer’s circuitry together with signals generated by an on-board function generator in order to disrupt and change flows of digital information at the hardware level. A set of fine-tipped sound amplifying measurement probes are then used as the main interface for performers to play through the layout of the G3’s circuits.Save