when two
hands touch
how close are they?*

"Nie entstand der Eindruck einer von Technik bestimmten Musik. Chua verwendet die Technik als Mittel zum Zweck, setzt sich musikalisch darüber hinaus und haucht damit ihrer Performance jenes Leben ein, das direkt die Emotionen anspricht."​

-Anzeiger von Uster, Züriost
touch for the shortcut to the other dimension

*karen barad "On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am (v1.1)"

//short about:
Melody (Melo) Chua
(b. 1994) (she/they) is an international, transdisciplinary artist who orients herself towards sensitive listening, expansive empathy, and finding alignment with one's inner truths.

Melo merges classical flute training with sensor-augmented instruments, AI improvisation machines, and future-fiction soundscapes. She created a sensor-augmented flute (Chaosflöte) and improvisation machine (AIYA) as confrontational mediums within her artistic practice where she asks, “How can we give voices to the ‘othered’ and give form to the invisible? How do we navigate the delicate borderlands where we are not only sovereign entities but also vulnerable extensions of each other? How can we subvert a system while being entangled within the system?”

Melo’s work can be seen in both institutional and underground contexts across Europe and the U.S. As both an artist and IT professional, freelancer and PhD candidate, cyberpunk cat in a posthuman mindbody, as well as a meeting point of Asian and American cultures, Melo prefers to jump between worlds rather than to call herself a citizen of any one in particular.


>>more about

featured

//chaos theory:
within apparent randomness of a chaotic complex system lies underlying interconnection, patterns, feedback loops, repetition, and self-organization.

to full portfolio

calendar

8 Mar. 2024 @12:00-16:00 | 9. Mar. 2024 @10:30-14:30

Les Complices | LiberAiya Multimedia Installation | Zürich, CH

LiberAiya: Interactive Audiovisual Installation

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA sonic improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive audiovisual installation and a set of performances.

In the installation, visitors are invited to explore and play with a musical improvisation machine created by Chua, called AIYA. The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

March 8th 12:00-18:00 @Les Complices*
March 9th 10:30-14:30 @Les Complices*

Anwandstrasse 9, 8004 Zürich

Event Page

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8. Mar. 2024 @18:30 & 20:00

Les Complices | LiberAiya Concerts | Zürich, CH

LiberAiya: Performances

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA sonic improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive audiovisual installation and a set of performances.

The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

In the evenings, performances with the AIYA improvisation machine and members of Petersen’s LiberA ensemble will take place.

March 8th 18:30 @Les Complices*
Anwandstrasse 9, 8004 Zürich

18:30 Fabian Arends (percussion) + AIYA
20:00 Song Yi Jeon (vocals) + AIYA

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9. Mar. 2024 @20:00

LiberAiya Concert at Notenpunk | Zürich, CH

Ensemble LiberA along with  artist Melody Chua and her improvisation machine AIYA warmly invite you to their concert.

The LiberA sextet is a formation grounded around the idea of freedom of expression – personal, civil, musical and creative – and music as a way to transcend categories, by blending different musical lineages into one body of sound.

LiberAiya is a collaboration between the ensemble LiberA by the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua. This concert's featured guest is AIYA, an improvisation machine driven by AI and movement.

March 9, 2024, 8 p.m
Notenpoint, Zurich
Oberdorfstrasse 9, 8001 Zürich

Max Petersen – composition and piano
Melody Chua – flute and electronics (AIYA)
Song Yi Jeon - voice
Fabian Arends - drums
Kolja Legde - bass
Cosima Bodien - violin
Isabel Gehweiler – cello

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23. Mar. 2024

M4 Music Festival AI Open Session | Zürich, CH

One of four featured artists, Chua's AIYA improvisation machine will be shown at the M4 Music AI Open Session as an interactive installation.

"The topic of generative, artificial intelligence is also present everywhere in the world of music. From viral TikTok hits to AI-generated video clips – artificial intelligence is no longer just a gimmick, but has fully arrived in everyday music. The phenomenon extends from simple plug-ins to fully generated tracks. In the AI open session, artists give an insight into their creative process at various stations and show how they use artificial intelligence in practice. You can listen, discuss and give things a try. The AI open session is free to attend during opening hours, and no prior knowledge is required.

in collaboration with Think & Do Tank Dezentrum."

More Info

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6. Apr. 2024

Kunstmuseum St. Gallen | Experimental Ecology Exhibition | "Plankton Imaginary" | St. Gallen, CH

"Was kann Kunst zur immer drängenderen Umweltdebatte beitragen? Das Projekt Experimental Ecology bietet eine zeitgenössische Plattform für die transdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit von fünf Künstler*innen und fünf Wissenschaftler*innen im Bereich der Ökologie. Im Geiste der berühmten Organisation E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology), in der Künstler*innen und Ingenieur*innen im Jahr 1967 zusammengebracht wurden, initiiert Experimental Ecology einen Austausch zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft im laufenden Diskurs über die Beziehung vom Menschen zu seiner natürlichen Umwelt. Ein Projekt der KBH.G Stiftung, Basel." -Kunstmuseum St. Gallen

Team of Riikka Tauriainen and Meike Vogt:

MEDIUMS: Two-channel video installation, multi-channel sound, 12:10 min and 11:53 min, loop, hand-dyed textiles with wooden panels, interactive sound and light, PET sculptures with zooplankton cultures (Artemia) in glass.

FILM: Script: Meike Vogt, Riikka Tauriainen, Ruby Rose Bader; Editor: Laura Rodriguez; Sound design and composition: Kay Zhang; Camera: Riikka Tauriainen, Meike Vogt, Marta Musso; Microscope: Meike Vogt, Marta Musso; Field recordings, Lerici Italy: Riikka Tauriainen; Voice-over: tracy september; Colorist: Laura Rodriguez; Scientific support: Marta Musso, Thibault Pollina, Fabio Benedetti, Hedy Aardema, Andrea Von Rosen, Joel Wong, Urs Hofmann Elizondo, Ruby Rose Bader; Calibration PlanktoScope: Thibault Pollina, Meike Vogt, Joel Wong, Jamil Islam, Edina Gashi; Support Lerici Italy: Marta Musso; Filmed at: Lerici, Italy.

INTERACTIVE AUDIOVISUAL INSTALLATION: Interactive technology, visual projections, and sound design: Melo Chua; Assistance, textiles: Ruby Rose Bader

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13-14. Apr. 2024

LiberAiya: Konstanz Edition | Interactive Installation | Konstanz, DE

LiberAiya: Interactive Audiovisual Installation

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive installation and a set of performances. The "Konstanz Edition" of LiberAiya features an very unique installation of AIYA inside a 5m-wide clear dome by the Lake of Konstanz.

In the installation, visitors are invited to explore and play with a musical improvisation machine created by Chua, called AIYA. The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

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13-14. Apr. 2024

LiberAiya: Konstanz Edition | Concerts | Konstanz, DE

LiberAiya: Performances

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA sonic improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive audiovisual installation and a set of performances.The "Konstanz Edition" of LiberAiya features an very unique installation of AIYA inside a 5m-wide clear dome by the Lake of Konstanz.

The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

Duo performances with the AIYA improvisation machine and the following members of Petersen’s LiberA ensemble will take place during the afternoon and evening:

Melody Chua, chaosflöte (sensor-augmented flute)
SongYi Jeon, vocals
Max Petersen, keyboard

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2-3. May 2024

LiberAiya: Winterthur Edition | Concerts | Winterthur, CH

LiberAiya: Performances

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA sonic improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive audiovisual installation and a set of performances. The "Winterthur Edition" of LiberAiya features an intimate installation of AIYA underneath a 10m-wide gazebo within the Dialogplatz (Lokstadt Winti)

The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

Duo performances with the AIYA improvisation machine and the following members of Petersen’s LiberA ensemble will take place during the afternoon and evening:

Melody Chua, chaosflöte (sensor-augmented flute)
SongYi Jeon, vocals
Fabian Arends, percussion
Max Petersen, keyboard

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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2-3. May 2024

LiberAiya: Winterthur Edition | Installation | Winterthur, CH

LiberAiya: Interactive Audiovisual Installation

Through the act of play, LiberAiya confronts visitors with a core challenge of liberal societies: sustaining communication among the unfamiliar and the oppositional.

A collaboration between the German-Australian pianist and composer Max Petersen’s LiberA ensemble and the American transdisciplinary artist Melody Chua’s AIYA improvisation machine, LiberAiya takes the form of an interactive installation and a set of performances. The "Winterthur Edition" of LiberAiya features an intimate installation of AIYA underneath a 10m-wide gazebo within the Dialogplatz (Lokstadt Winti)

In the installation, visitors are invited to explore and play with a musical improvisation machine created by Chua, called AIYA. The work considers playing with the improvisation machine as a way of engaging with the unfamiliar and the “othered.” What do we do if AIYA confronts us with the uncomfortable and oppositional? Instead of shutting down, do we have the capacity to continue the dialogue? How can we adapt to new ways of expression, where one is not suppressed by the other?

By interacting with AIYA, indeterminate narratives are told through video footage of protests from around the world and from different political positions, recognizing that holding space for opposing views of social change is vital for a pluralistic society. The footage, paired with texts selected and composed by the artists, offer varied glimpses into the possibilities of peaceful protest, tolerance, and expression beyond reactionism. Not only raising fists, but also holding hands.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

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16-18. May 2024

SoniFy! Festival of Artistic Research | Graz, Austria

World premiere of a persistence machine for improvisation machine (AIYA) and keyboard performer (Maryam Mehraban) by Melody Chua on 17. May 2024 at the SoniFy! Festival of Artistic Research.

This work is part of a series of composed improvisation systems for the artistic research project "Developing a Visual Framework for Musical Improvisation Machines: Investigating Impacts on Human-Machine Interaction, Posthuman Identity, and Performance Narrative".  Featured in the research project is an improvisation machine (AIYA, developed by the composer), which by itself is a software and has no inherent physical or visual form. The machine is given a visual form through each of the compositions in the series—different for every piece. Each piece is therefore an investigation into how the different visual and physical representations of the machine impact the communication between human and machine performers.  

Thematically, performing with the improvisation machine is a practice in "getting to know an 'othered' being." What discriminations and hierarchies arise and how can we navigate them? One learns new forms and systems of communication and empathy, doing so in a way that does not sacrifice one's own original identity, but rather augments it in order to co-create a cohesive performance.

persistence machine (2024, world premiere) is the sequel to insistence machine (2023), both created for improvisation machine, midi keyboards, and live electronics/visual projections. Here, the improvisation machine draws its text from interviews between the composer and her grandmother. The machine tells the story of her grandmother’s emigration from the Philippines to America, her challenges of being a single mother of three in the new country, and the discrimination she faced as a young woman of color striving to be the first doctor in her family history. Her story is told in a nonlinear fashion, where the text fragments of the interview are mapped to the sonic decision-making of the improvisation machine. Therefore, performing with the machine is not only a sonic investigation, but also a personal interaction that unveils an intimate story of migration and perseverance against being ‘othered.’

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Jun. 2024

STUDIO ZYKLOS German Tour

Details TBA: STUDIO ZYKLOS Concerts in Berlin, Bremen, Hannover

German premiere & adaptation of afterdust//afterglow for sensor-augmented human-machine quartet:

“When she died, I thought I saw her everywhere.”

The phenomenon of phantom pain is when an individual experiences pain to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the individual’s body, but perhaps once was and was removed—or was never even there in the first place.

In a radical empathy–turned hallucination, afterdust//afterglow makes allusions to the coping rituals we create around phantom pain, mourning, and death—the literal and the metaphorical, the overlooked witherings that occur within and between us and those right in front of us. Bright, blinding eulogies amidst unwavering resilience. It is the obsession of revisiting a memory in an attempt to find more life inside of it—even as we distort the memory with each access, and these distortions become our truths.

How to escape? How to implode?

How to subvert? How to explode?

no answers

only the dust of residual kindness,

and the alternate universes

that hold us together.

.

.

Concept/sound/visual composition/performance by STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik, Aiii, AIYA)

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21. Jun. 2024

STUDIO ZYKLOS at Strom am Mittag | Concert | Zürich, CH

Full concert: Sensor-augmented artists Chi Him Chik (Bremen/Hong Kong) and Melody Chua (Zürich/USA) layer dense textures together with their self-created improvisation machines (Aiii, AIYA). From melancholic waves of fury to glitch ghosts and crunchy timbres, listeners are invited to immerse themselves in the rich soundscape of STUDIO ZYKLOS.

At the Kulturhaus Helferei

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Aug. 2024

Immersive Arts Space | STUDIO ZYKLOS Residency | Zürich, CH

STUDIO ZYKLOS Artist Residency at the ZHdK Immersive Arts Space

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18. Oct. 2024

STUDIO ZYKLOS at the Immersive Arts Space| World Premiere | Zürich, CH

Massive new work from STUDIO ZYKLOS  coming soon, premiering at the ZHdK Immersive Arts Space

Details to come...

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past events

28. Oct. 2023

Collegium Helveticum

Concert of works from the Dr. artium candidates of the Kunstuniversität Graz/Zürich University of the Arts.

World premiere of insistence machine for the AIYA improvisation machine and midi keyboards, premiered by pianist Maryam Mehraban.

Full video documentation

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21. Oct. 2023

MAD Festival | Kornhausforum Bern

Lecture: "River Oracle – Water Bodies as Guiding Beings"

with Paloma Ayala

at the Design and Magic MAD Festival HKB | Kornhausforum Bern

"The River Oracle is an art project meant to be a tool to situate ourselves as humans in our relationship with water bodies. As a methodology of thought, the River Oracle is a way to develop artistic work in a situated practice that emphasizes our connections to the more-than-human. Created by visual artists Paloma Ayala, Anne-Laure Franchette, and Riikka Tauriainen and sound artists Melody Chua and Kay Zhang, this project situates on river shores, hydroelectric plants, and various ports along the Rhine River."

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25. Aug. - 29. Oct. 2023

Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger

Exhibition: Experimental Ecology - Art and Science in Dialogue

Collaborative installation

concept lead, video: Riikka Taurianen (Artist, Zürich), Meike Vogt (Biochemist, ETH)
sound:
Kay Zhang (Artist, Zürich), Melody Chua
interaction design, sensors: 
Melody Chua

"In the spirit of the famous E.A.T. – Experiments in Art and Technology, an initiative launched in 1967 pairing artists with engineers, thus enabling a new sense of exchange, the project Experimental Ecology offers a contemporary platform for collaborations between artists and scientists in the field of ecology. Five teams will develop novel ways to re-think our impact on the biosphere. The encounters and the resulting ideas will be presented in a symposium with workshops, an exhibition, and a book to spearhead new ways to understand our relationship with our environment."

https://kbhg.ch/en/1287d/Exhibitions-Experimental-Ecology

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10. & 11. Aug. 2023

Immersive Arts Space Zürich | premiere of new work by STUDIO ZYKLOS

STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik, Aiii, AIYA)

World premiere of afterdust//afterglow for sensor-augmented human-machine quartet:

“When she died, I thought I saw her everywhere.”

The phenomenon of phantom pain is when an individual experiences pain to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the individual’s body, but perhaps once was and was removed—or was never even there in the first place.

In a radical empathy–turned hallucination, afterdust//afterglow makes allusions to the coping rituals we create around phantom pain, mourning, and death—the literal and the metaphorical, the overlooked witherings that occur within and between us and those right in front of us. Bright, blinding eulogies amidst unwavering resilience. It is the obsession of revisiting a memory in an attempt to find more life inside of it—even as we distort the memory with each access, and these distortions become our truths.

How to escape? How to implode?

How to subvert? How to explode?

no answers

only the dust of residual kindness,

and the alternate universes

that hold us together.

.

.

Concept/sound/visual composition/performance by STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik, Aiii, AIYA)

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31. Jul. - 11. Aug. 2023

Immersive Arts Space | STUDIO ZYKLOS Residency

Working residency for STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik) at the Immersive Arts Space Zürich, developing a new work for two humans and two improvisation machines (human-machine quartet).

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Jul. 2023

PLATEAU

Publication: "The machine is your mirror, but do you recognize yourself?"
Chaosflöte – Improvisation: Wie ein musikalisch/künstlerisches Projekt Fragen zu Identität und zur Interrelation zwischen digitalen Medien und analogem Spiel aufwirft – ein Erfahrungsbericht

2023 PLATEAU | HfM Trossingen

"Die Entscheidungen, die wir bei der Entwicklung der Improvisationsmaschine getroffen haben, sowie das Verhalten der Maschine in der Praxis artikulieren auf unheimliche Weise Teile unserer Identität, die nicht explizit benannt oder offengelegt werden können. Die Praxis des Erschaffens und Aufführens mit unseren Maschinen wird zu einem Weg, Teile von uns selbst zu verstehen, die normalerweise unter den Filtern unserer alltäglichen Wahrnehmung verborgen sind, aber durch ein klingendes Gegenüber offenbart werden. Passivität, Impulsivität, das Tempo unserer Ideen, unsere Toleranzen für Unannehmlichkeiten und auch unsere Nachsicht werden in klanglicher Form reflektiert.

Es wäre jedoch eine verpasste Chance, wenn die Improvisationsmaschine lediglich ein verklärter Spiegel der Künstler*in wäre. Stattdessen könnten Maschinen eher als Sparringspartnergesehen werden, welche Begegnungen mit Facetten unserer Persönlichkeitermöglichen, die wir vielleicht übersehen: Konfrontationen mit unseren musikalischen Gewohnheiten, Manierismen, Ungeduld, intuitiven Impulsen. Warum programmieren wir unsere Maschinen so, wie wir es tun? Welche Besessenheit von Kontrolle, Macht und Überfluss offenbart dies über uns selbst? Könnten wir zu mehr Empathie gelangen, wenn wir mehr darauf achten würden, wie wir unsere Maschinen programmieren und mit ihnen spielen, wie wir sie behandeln und betrachten und wie wir daher Beziehungen zu Menschen aufbauen, die anders sind als wir und aus anderen Welten kommen?"  

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16. Jun. 2023

Stäfa | "when we walk"

World premiere of when we walk

performance for chaosflöte (Melody Chua), improvisation machine (AIYA), dancer (Jaira Peyer), live visual projections

"The Ocean says 'on earth we are briefly gorgeous'
And in our improvisation, we are briefly kind.
No heroes, no villains, only joy in
quiet days and silent spaces,
filled with gentle intentions
that shine like the brightest of stars."

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14-16. Apr. 2023

Windler Stiftung, Stein am Rhein

River Oracle Residency | As guests of Romy Rüegger @ Windler Stiftung, Stein am Rhein

Field recording, oracle-making, exchanging ways of knowing water bodies...

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19. Mar. - 11. Jun. 2023

Kunstmuseum Appenzell | Echos I-III | Tina Omayemi Reden with Melody Chua and Ursula Vogel

Exhibition of Echos I-III by Tina Omayemi Reden
winner of the Vordemberge-Gildewart Stipendium 2023

Ceramics: Ursula Vogel, Tina Omayemi Reden
Sound, sensors: Melody Chua

------

Can I create an intimate touch
a connection between the margins of my voice
and the permeable beginning of another body?

-Tina Omayemi Reden

------

The Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation annually awards a work grant to artists under thirty-five years. In cooperation with exhibition venues, the award competition has been held in various European countries since 1983. The award, which comes with a prize money of 60,000 Swiss francs, is one of the highest endowed scholarships for young artists in Europe. The grant was initiated by the founder Ilse Leda, the wife of the artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899–1962).

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17. Mar. 2023

The Factory | Contemporary Art Music Project Festival (CAMPGround23) (Tampa, USA)

U.S. premiere of dragonfly (for sensor-augmented flute and improvisation machine)

"Dragonfly" is a stereo, single-projection adaptation of "Escher's Dragonfly," a work originally calibrated for hanging transparent screens and four overhead projectors at the Zürich University of the Arts Immersive Arts Space. Although the differences between the two versions are pronounced, the core of both is the preoccupation of the performer's sonic, spatial, and temporal relationship with her improvisation machine. There is a palpable tension between the machine and its various fluid identities, among which include: an environment, a sonic extension of the human performer, and a distinct improvisation partner in counterpoint with the human performer.

The text fragments, a fleeting glimpse of the machine's narrative identity, flicker in response to the performer's playing and also freeze when the performer moves too wildly, almost as a protest from the machine to re-balance the audience's attention from its normally biased focus on the human performer. Yet, in this preoccupation of "who is in focus," one steps back and asks themselves, why do we struggle to escape dualistic references when describing this posthuman system? No concrete answers, but as one such text fragment describes:

"When speaking of the machine as a gradient being fading into its human counterpart, we speak of an 'almost,' we speak of an approach, like the feeling of getting so close to the sun as to feel its heat but not close enough to burn completely--the feeling of being almost alive. In this comfortable distance, we can imagine flesh and metal as two sides of the same coin, chance encounters. Like Schroedinger's cat, to make a concrete observation is to forfeit the possibility of an alternate reality. So we choose to preserve the ambiguity and the "otherness" of the situation. Indeed,  there is an assumption of difficulty engulfing it all--difficulty as distance, difficulty as trance, and also despite that, the continual forward-motion that all time arts exhibit, like the force of walking underwater."

Composition/programming: Melody Chua
Performer: Julianna Eidle
Improvisation "machine": AIYA
Audio recording: Sean Hamilton
Video recording: Brendan Sweeney
Post-production: Melody Chua

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zydLQwkFDzU

Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P8Ruzb4dLg

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24. Feb. 2023 | 12:00-16:00

CHO – centre chorégraphique | Urgent Paradise | From Island - Surface to Gravity

An oracle-making and sound workshop: This performative process addresses the concepts of liquid bodies and hydrofeminisms, emphasizing touch as a horizon.

RIVER ORACLE is created in and by the Rhein river with visual artists Paloma Ayala, Anne-Laure Franchette and Riikka Tauriainen, with sound artists Melody Chua and Kay Zhang. RIVER ORACLE started as a cyanotype series printed in the Rhein river basin, in which diverse narratives of care in rural land, in riverine ecology and industry, are told through a speculative approach.

This project is meant to be a tool to situate ourselves as humans in our relationship with water bodies. As methodology of thought, the RIVER ORACLE is a way to develop artistic work in a situated practice that emphasizes our connections to the more-than-human. As a research and pedagogical approach, the project connects to feminist speculative practices: the oracle becomes mediator and facilitator of communication between diverse feminist discourses of Earth care, of inter-dependencies, of anti-colonial thinking, and water bodies. Ultimately, we want to focus on how significant and necessary it is to shift our anthropocentric thinking in order to develop different relationships with planetary beings.

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