Summer semester 2022: Dr. Andreas Otto as a visiting scholar in the ((audio)) area

von Jan-Alexander Krause

Experimental and performative interfaces between the body and electronic sound are the focus of Dr. Andreas Otto. In the summer semester of 2022, he is a guest lecturer at Leuphana University Lüneburg and is giving two seminars dealing with interface concepts for musical instruments and sound design via software. Otto previously taught at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern and the Humboldt University in Berlin. In addition to the theory of electronic music, his courses focus particularly on practice, as the performances from the seminar “Improvisation, Sound Design, Interfaces: Experimental Mapping of Sensory Data” show.

For his dissertation project, Otto researched the Amsterdam STEIM SensorLab and published the work in 2017 under the title: “Dutch Touch. Das SensorLab und The Hands als elektro-instrumentale Pionierentwicklungen des STEIM in den Jahren 1984-2000“. He also developed the instrument “Fello”, which is at the centre of his artistic work – an electronic extension of the cello bow with motion sensors. Andi Otto tours internationally as a DJ and live musician and cooperates with musicians from different musical traditions and cultures – especially from Rwanda, India and Japan. 

Fello is Andi Otto’s unique sensor-extended cello bow. It connects the cello and the computer as one instrument, using the bow as a special interface. The bow is used to play the cello in the traditional way, but in Fello it also holds a set of sensors that measure the movement and acceleration of the bow, as well as the applied finger pressure. This data is used to control audio software that tweaks the amplified cello sound directly in relation to Andi’s hand and arm gestures. 
Fello has been developed at STEIM in Amsterdam since 2007, using their junXion software for the data-to-sound mappings. Byung-Jun Kwon and Marije Baalman engineered the sensors and the wireless receiver. CAD and 3D prints have been made by ‘chi ha ucciso il conte‘. The setup includes a MIDI Controller (BCR 2000) to change the functions of the bow sensors, two foot pedals for the same reason and the ‘NI Maschine’ Drummachine.”

Since 2004 Otto has released seven solo albums of electronic dance music (on the labels Multi Culti, Shika Shika, and Pingipung), runs the vinyl label Pingipung and composes for theatre, film and dance productions.