You Mean It’s Just Sounds? (2016)

In this performance I use two sensors developed by Thalmic Labs to capture the orientation and electrical activity of the muscles in my forearms. Through custom software, my gestures are transposed to sound in a choreography that stands somewhere between the theremin and the air guitar.

On another level, the project is invested in recreating within the digital context a gesture-sound relationship inspired by the one present in traditional instruments. For many years, gesture and sound were closely linked together and bounded in a certain way by the physicality of musical instruments. It is first with the democratization of electricity that the energy to produce sound began to detach itself from the sound output. In instruments like the Theremin, the Hammond organ or the electric guitar to state a few, musicians only “control” sound while the energy to produce it comes from electricity. This separation is even more obvious in the digital context where gestures are translated to data, interpreted by a computer and then rendered to sound.

When I build musical instruments, I usually try to wander away from the gesture-sound relationship coming from tradition. I try to build new original instruments that are works in themselves. I aim at blurring the frontiers between the work and the instrument. However, this project is different because it features a more traditional approach to gesture, sound and performance. It feeds on works by great artists such as David Rokeby (Very Nervous System), Atau Tanaka (BioMuse), Thierry de Mey (Light Music) and many others who are invested in contactless gestural controllers or, in a larger context, in using the body as a musical instrument.


General information
Audio performance
Duration : 15 minutes
Premier : 5 March 2016. In Sonora Festival, Madrid, ES
Nominations: Arte Laguna Festival (Venice, IT, 2015)

Conception et performance : Patrick Saint-Denis

Date City Venue
02/13/20 Montréal, Qc Live @ CIRMMT
Time: 7:30pm. Address: 527 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest.
02/23/19 Québec, Qc La Nef
Time: 8:00pm. Address: 190, rue St-Joseph Est.
08/15/17 Toronto, On TIES
Time: 8:00pm.
02/09/17 Montréal, Qc Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal
Time: 8:00pm. Address: 4750 Henri Julien Ave.
03/05/16 Madrid In-Sonora Festival
Time: 8:00pm.
01/27/16 Gatineau, Qc Daimon
Time: 8:00pm. Address: 78 Rue Hanson.
  • You Mean It's Only Sounds? @ Arsenal. -Crédit photo: Arsenal