Cobi van Tonder
Cobi van Tonder is an interdisciplinary artist who has presented over 40 works worldwide, including concerts and exhibitions in Japan, Korea, USA, Ireland, UK, Germany, South Africa and Greece. Her innovative art/science hybrid projects involve the creation of new technological interfaces or software to enable artistic ideas. She explores diverse avenues of listening as art-making space that she describes as ‘expanded listening’. Works include interactive musical experiences such as sensor enabled gumboot dance (Ephemeral Gumboots); sensor enabled Bluetooth skateboards with a Max/MSP gesture recognition system that map skateboard moves to musical gestures (Skatesonic); network connected live acoustic spaces (Audio Tunnel & The Persistence of Sound) and infrasound music experienced through lying down on a bed (Infrasoundbed).
The most recent works revolve around microtonal drone music that explore difference tones and beating patterns (Gala and Mutation II), sonic illusions (Fata Morgana for female choir and computer), and recursive layers of convolution reverb in Goodbye Anthill (2018) for voice and computer to expand the textural qualities of the drone. A large section of her PhD thesis was dedicated to spatiality in sound as well as the use of acoustics as a prominent musical parameter.
Working with the acoustics of actual heritage spaces, lends a focused context and purpose to the music that she feels is often missing in electronic music. Cobi has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of York and will be based in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television (TFTV) from 2020-2022 with her project ACOUSTIC ATLAS - Cultivating the Capacity to Listen. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
She completed a PhD in Music Composition at the Digital Arts & Humanities Program of Trinity College, Dublin, an MFA Art Practice degree at Stanford, USA; and a BHons in Music in History and Society (Musicology) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Van Tonder has also produced commercially for cinema, television, radio, and mobile media before commencing academic studies.