It’s technology that gives a sensory fusion of sound and light using AirSticks and it’s got us wondering if this is the music of the future? Developed by Dr Alon Ilsar, an Australian-based drummer, composer, instrument designer and Researcher at SensiLab, the AirSticks may look like simple controllers, but are a unique audio-visual instrument that allows the performer to produce sound and graphics out of thin air.
SensiLab, which is part of the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has been investigating the many practical applications of the technology within AirSticks, including music therapy and real-time online mixed reality collaborations to cutting-edge live performances.
Audio-visual artist and researcher from UTS’s Animal Logic Academy, Matt Hughes, digitally visualises Dr Ilsar’s music live through his custom built interactive audio-visual software. This allows Dr Ilsar to seemingly pull shapes, colours, and textures out of thin air with hypnotic, pulsing beats, using his body as an invisible drum kit.
So far Dr Ilsar has performed with the AirSticks at New York’s MET Museum with actor Alan Cumming as well as Splendour In The Grass alongside The Thundamentals. Dr Ilsar has also collaborated on a number of new shows with local artists living with a disability.
“AirSticks allow everyone the opportunity to unlock their creativity with this innovative technology. Whether you’re an experienced percussionist, music lover living with a physical disability, or a child exploring music making for the first time, AirSticks are a fantastic tool to get started with,” says Dr Ilsar.
You can watch a performance called Trigger Happy ‘Visualised’ at the Toff in Town, Melbourne, on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
“The performance will not only demonstrate the technology we’ve been developing, but it will also give audiences the opportunity to experience the possibilities of this technology first-hand, and challenge their notion of what can be achieved between movement and sound in live performances. In the show I purposefully keep the audience guessing as to what is real and improvised, and what is predetermined and composed,” said Dr Ilsar.
Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn's tech company produced the augmented reality app for Sydney's Vivid Festival in 2018 and the retail app Sweep. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.