Studio Edwin van der Heide
NMD 2021-#1
Performed by: Sho Kubota and Edwin van der Heide

In the live networked performance NMD 2021-#1 Sho Kubota and Edwin van der Heide are fully dependent on each other: Sho provides the source material that Edwin shapes and transforms and returns to him. It is as if Sho bows and plucks the strings of a violin and Edwin presses the strings down on the neck. Following this metaphor, the instrument is stretched over the networked connection and played from both sides. While being at two different locations this creates a very strong sense of connectedness, intimacy and physicality.


Between 1993 and 1997 Edwin van der Heide has been experimenting with musical performances that were based on interconnecting two players at physically different performance locations and play together with each other. At that time, it was completely new to be able to realize such a connection yourself. The bandwidth of the used ISDN connection was low in comparison to today’s internet connections and therefore resulting in a low-quality video connection and a medium quality audio connection. Because of this the distance between the locations became emphasized and it felt a bit like making a connection to the moon.

Now, about 25 years later, Edwin van der Heide became interested in revisiting the topic and use today’s possibilities and standards for a networked musical dialogue.

For the performance of NMD 2021-#1, the following approach is used: Sho Kubota plays percussion in Kuopio, Finland. His signal is sent to Rotterdam where Edwin van der Heide processes and transforms the sound in real time using the midi-conductor, a gesture-based instrument. The transformed sound is sent (back) to Kubota in Kuopio. The online audience watches the live stream in which both performers are visible next to each other while listening to the sounding result.

A metaphor for the approach used in NMD 2021-#1 is playing one instrument by two people, not like playing quatre mains on the piano, but more like one player playing the bow of the violin while the other player touches the strings on the neck of the violin. The performers depend on each other and are together responsible for the sounding result of the piece. The performance of NMD 2021-#1 stages an improvisation focusing on parallel and contradictory musical movements and developments between the two players.

Following up on the metaphor of playing one violin by two performers, one could say that the violin is stretched out over the distance between the two locations, with the bow being at one location, and the neck being at the other location. The problem of playing one instrument with two people is being enlarged by turning it into a performance that uses different locations for the two performers.

The full performance of NMD 2021-#1 on YouTube:
concept: Edwin van der Heide
performers: Sho Kubota and Edwin van der Heide
realization: Edwin van der Heide with Kenny Kneefel and Charles Ortjens
context: Ogen/blik #4
organisor: Momoko Noguchi & Akiko Ushijima
special thanks to: V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media
keywords: sound art, new media art, live performance, imporvisation, listening, live stream, online, networked musical dialogue, gesture-based instrument, transformed sound, live electronics