The manifon is a custom musical instrument commissioned by Bus Projects & Craft Victoria for The Sound Playground, an exhibition as part of Liquid Architecture 2010. Curated by Nella Themelios & Amelia Douglas. Also featuring Rod Cooper, Ros Bandt & Albert Mishriki & Emma Lashmar.
This thing, essentially a glorified MIDI controller/’cyber-pot and pan’, had a number of sampled tunings running off a MSI Wind Netbook. An MSI Wind Netbook is a small laptop; it’s about the size of a book. I bought the helmets on eBay as a bulk lot. All the stuff was connected up with piezo triggers, a very easy DIY project if solder doesn’t give you headaches. If it does, consider asking a friend or colleague to help you. I’m not kidding – who wants a headache?
The tunings consist of pitched sounds, often idiophonically-sourced, in a minor pentatonic scale, processed through other, more soundy sounds. One of is pieces of a hip-hop track run through pieces of a fuji track. Another is an additive synth run through pieces of a movie. You can play the instrument with the supplied sticks, but you don’t have to.
As part of the exhibition, I played the instrument with Sam Szoke-Burke for three performances. See a quick snippet here (starts around 1:10) –