The Spine

The Spine was designed for music/dance performance as part of the collaborative project “Les Gestes”, it was intended to be worn by dancers performing the piece composed/choreographed for the project. The design extrapolates from my previous design for the T-Stick instrument, which we had already used in the performance “Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur” with the same collaborators.

The motivation for specific design decisions included exploring the implications of making the T-Stick deformable, and blurring the line between wearable and hand-held interfaces — the Spine can be gracefully added to or removed from the performer’s body during performances by the performer. We refer to this type of instrument as “prosthetic” as it is intended to modify the performer’s body rather than functioning as an interactive costume.

Mapping from movement/gesture to sound was developed with the composers during intensive workshops, supported by several other tools we have developed: libmapper and a graphical mapping interface.

Credits: Joseph Malloch


Ian Hattwick, Joseph Malloch, and Marcelo M. Wanderley. “Forming Shapes to Bodies: Design for Manufacturing in the Prosthetic Instruments”. In Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME2014), pp. 443–448, London, UK, 2014.

Project Page

Joseph Malloch – Personal Website