Melody Chua (b. 1994) is a pioneering force of her generation in the development of interdisciplinary performances with new technologies. Her portfolio includes works with 360° touchscreens, 360° videos, Ambisonics, motion capture systems, live-coding, pressure-sensitive shoes, real-time projection visuals, and sensor-augmented instruments, while at the same time reflecting critically on the multifaceted issues surrounding human-machine interactions. Her current research at the Zürich University of the Arts focuses on the development of an improvisation machine (AIYA) that takes inputs from a sensor-augmented flute (Chaosflöte), and she examines the human-machine relationships, shifting posthuman identities, and forms of agency that manifest within performances with this machine. She is fascinated by the potential of new electronic interfaces to act as both vehicles of narrative expression and as opportunities to destabilize the normatives present in one’s relationship with technology. She believes that the nature of human-machine relations is in fact a reflection of how we relate with ourselves. Therefore, her work with technology represents a humble call to reflect on the state of empathy and understanding within and among ourselves. The aesthetics of her work gravitate towards immersive future-fictions with undertones of nostalgia and introspection, pulling audiences into intimate worlds.
Awarded a Fulbright-Swiss Government Excellence grant for the development of the Chaosflöte, Chua's performance works have been selected by various prestigious festivals and conferences, including the Zürich Digital Festival (CH), Zürich Design Biennale (CH), New Interfaces for Music Expression (NIME) Conference (CHN), Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (ZKM) Next Generation Festival (DE), Geneva International Film Festival (CH), Network Music Festival, La Côte Flute Festival (CH), Swiss Digital Day (CH), Kleintheater Luzern (CH), PAM-Hörmal Festival (CH), Immerse: Creative City Project (USA), IGNM Zürich (CH), and the USF New Music Festival (USA). She has also had engagements at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology Zürich (artist residency), Immersive Arts Space Zürich (diploma residency), University of South Florida (artist residency), Atlantic Festival Future Music Lab (fellowship), Montreal Contemporary Music Lab (as a performer), Performing Media Festival (as a featured guest artist), Radius (installation), Shedhalle (installation), Kein Museum (solo installation exhibition), and the Timucua Arts Foundation (artist residency), among others. As an educator, Chua has given lectures on electroacoustic music, improvisation, and interactive music programming at institutions such as the Zurich University of the Arts, University of the Arts Bern, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, Wayne State University, The Melrose Center, and the Atlantic Music Festival. She has studied classical and contemporary flute under Matthias Ziegler, Dr. Jonathan Keeble, and Shanna Pranaitis.
Chua is the co-founder of Null-state, a performance ensemble committed to advancing the development of sensor-augmented instruments, live coding, and electroacoustic music education.