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SCAPE 7 - Bodytok Quintet: The Human Instrument Archive

A sonicfromscratch project

Bodytok Quintet: The Human Instrument Archive is a project by artist/musician Phil Dadson with interactive software design by James Charlton, new media artist and senior lecturer in Creative Technologies at AUT University, Auckland. 
Presented in partnership with the Christchurch Art Gallery | Te Puna o Waiwhetu. 

The human body is the first instrument.

From childhood onwards we explore our physical capabilities, including our potential for making sounds.  Every one of us has the potential to create sounds as unique to us as fingerprints or facial features.

Bodytok Quintet is a sound-world filled with invention, humour and surprise.  The installation alludes to a universal, non-verbal body-music, an instantly understood sonic expression.  It also presents the human body as a site from which all communication and music stems.

The word 'bodytok' is derived from a Melanesian pidgin term, 'toktok', meaning 'to have a conversation'.  This exhibition creates a conversation between on-screen performers and viewers, aided by an interactive element.  In its passive state, the video imagery on screen ticks over at one frame per second, presenting the performers as framed portraits. When viewers approach, the 'bodytok' begins - a performance delivered direct to each viewer.  

Video credits:

Bodytok Quintet: The Human Instrument Archive, A Sonicfromscratch Project, 2013

© SCAPE Public Art & Phil Dadson


A sonicfromscratch Project

Phil Dadson is a sound and intermedia artist, working across disciplines. His work includes solo performances and exhibitions, building experimental instruments and sonic objects, video and sound installation, composition and improvisation. He is the founder of the sound-performance group, From Scratch (1974–2002), known internationally for its rhythmic and distinctive performances utilising original instruments.

Phil Dadson studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was later Head of Intermedia/Time-based Arts in 1986–2001. In 2000 he also completed an Master of Arts (Hons) in Music and Fine Arts from the University of Western Sydney. Dadson has performed and exhibited extensively around New Zealand and internationally for four decades and has released many recordings and moving image works. He has also received numerous awards and residencies, including an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2001, a Fulbright Award and an Artist-to-Antarctica fellowship. In 2005 he received an ONZM for his services to the arts. He is the principal author of the From Scratch Rhythm Workbook (1995) and co-author (with Bart Hopkin) of Slap Tubes and other Plosive Aerophones (2007). Phil Dadson is represented by Starkwhite, Auckland.