Macrophonics is a mediatized performance ensemble founded in 2011 and led by Julian Knowles and Donna Hewitt. Macrophonics navigates the interface between humans and machines in performance – from sensor based microphones and wearable performance interfaces, to autonomous robots, live tape manipulation, gesture controlled light environments, dronescapes and experimental electronica. When operating in expanded form, members include Wade Marynowsky and Tim Bruniges
Macrophonics has its origins in a program of sound and mixed media works for voice, electronics, video, movement and sensor based gestural controllers, curated by Donna Hewitt and Julian Knowles for the 2011 Brisbane Festival. The Macrophonics program navigated the interface between humans and machines in performance. From sensor based microphones to autonomous robots, post-rock dronescapes and experimental electronica, the program presented works by Australian sound and media artists Donna Hewitt, Julian Knowles, Wade Marynowsky and Tim Bruniges, with choreography by Avril Huddy. Each of the works foregrounded an approach to performance that integrates sensors and novel performance control devices or examines how machines can be made ‘musical’ in performance. Initial R&D for the work was supported by a range of institutions internationally, including the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland, STEIM (Holland) and the Nes Artist Residency (Iceland).
The program featured a number of works for the eMic, a new sensor based microphone stand designed by Donna Hewitt. The eMic allows the performer to manipulate their voice in real time by capturing their movements via sensing devices including pressure sensors, distance sensors, tilt sensors, ribbon sensors and a joystick microphone mount. The eMic has been attracting international attention.
The progam also featured works for guitar, sensors and electronics by Julian Knowles, live audio-visual works from Wade Marynowsky and Tim Bruniges.
Following the Brisbane Festival performance the group was established as a collaborative platform to investigate the performative possibilities of new interfaces and the shifting dialogue between new and traditional media.
Since then the group has undertaken R&D residency with Legs on the Wall, via their Open Source program, and created a new work, Ghost Ships, for live performer, wearable interface and intelligent light systems.