Laboratory for New Media 7th Exhibition “Knock! Music - 4 theories of evolution from percussion through computers -”

The 3rd floor Permanent Exhibition “Laboratory for New Media” is a space which introduces the possibility of expression using cutting-edge information technology presented through periodically upgraded exhibits.
This time, which will be the 7th such event, we will exhibit the works of Novmichi Tosa / Maywa Denki where he conducts performances with instruments he created himself. The process of how various technologies developed, such as from the appearance of telegrams, invention of transistors, diffusion of computers, etc., will be experienced through the enjoyment of the live sounds of percussion and electronic instruments.

About the Knock! Music Program

It is a program that allows visitors to learn about the evolution of technology and digital technology by following through 4 steps as you experience music.

STEP1 – The era of mechanical communications –

A current flows when “TonTonKun” is knocked, and in turn a knocker located some distance away moves. Through this, two entities in different places are able to communicate with each other. It is the same mechanism as electronically transmitted communication, which can send a signal far away just by the opening of an electronic circuit.
The Morse transmitter arrived in the latter half of the 19th century, and the mechanical communications era of contact through the knocking of switches began throughout the world.

STEP2 – The era of electronic communications –

This exhibition is full of switches that move knockers using various mechanisms. The evolution of electronic industrial technologies in the second half of the 20th century led to a rapid shrinking in the size of the switches. And once transistors had been invented, they became used as “tiny switches” within digital circuits.
“MIDI-TAP” connects “a small 5-Volt switch” and “a large 100-Volt switch”, and can move a knocker with a weak signal.

STEP3 – The era of automatic machinery –

“Ele-Beat” is a memory device that records the details of the knocker movement with a “grid matrix”. The electronome is a device that produces a “constant rhythm clock” using a pendulum mechanism.
When the two “matrix and clock” devices are combined, a “sequence” that automatically moves a knocker can be made using a pre-set manual procedure.
From the 1960s onwards, the concept of sequence control to automatically move machines in factories became widespread.

STEP4 – The computer era –

“The Ele-Beat Touch” is a device that switches a mechanical sequence into an electronic sequence. It performs automatically by inputting, or in other words “programming”, the “grid matrix.”
In order to operate the program a very small switch inside the computer knocks according to a command of either “0” or “1.” In our current computerized society this micro-scale “knocking” is going on around the world, with vast quantities of data flying to and fro across the globe.


Automatic performance and exhibition of various electronic instruments “Knock! Music Instruments,” “Otamatone,” “KnockMan Family,” etc.


Special Thanks to: Hiroo Iwata (Professor, University of Tsukuba) / Sachiko Kodama (Associate Professor, University of Electro-Communications) / Takumi Iwamoto, Masatoshi Ueda, Masataka Kimura, Yuto Kumon, Masato Takahashi, Miki Hattori, Kayo Watanabe, from Maywa Denki / Tamio Hayashi (I-art design) / Hitoshi Taguchi (Ikkaku Inc.) / Yoshiko Matsumura / Atsushi Horiguchi / Ryota Kuwakubo (Perfektron.) / Yoshimoto Creative Agency Co., Ltd. / Cube Co., Ltd.

Term June 30 (Wed.), 2010 – October 11 (Mon./Holiday), 2010
Exhibitor Novmichi Tosa
April 1967, Born in Hyogo Prefecture
March 1992, The Department of Arts Study, Postgraduate Course, Tsukuba University, Awarded Master's Degree
1993, Maywa Denki is organized as an art unit.
Maywa Denki is an art unit produced by Novmichi Tosa.
The costume is designed as a typical working uniform of Japanese electric stores, symbolizing small/medium-sized enterprises that had once supported Japan's economy during its high-growth period. Its unique style is indicated by a term he uses: for example, each piece of Maywa Denki's work is called “a product” and a live performance or exhibition is held as “a product demonstration.” The products produced so far include “NAKI Series,” fish-motif nonsense machines, “Tsukuba Series,” original musical instruments. Although Maywa Denki is known and appreciated as an artist, its promotion strategies are full of variety: exhibition, live stages, performances, producing music, videos, writing, merchandising toys, stationery, and electric devices. Currently the new project called “VOICE program” is in progress. It features the theme of “Can machines sing as a human being”?