“Marzelline’s Confessions” by Jocelyn Ho

  • ©, , Marzelline's Confessions
  • ©, , Marzelline's Confessions
  • ©, , Marzelline's Confessions


    Marzelline's Confessions

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    Winner of the 2021 International Alliance of Women in Music Ruth Anderson Prize, Women’s Labor is a feminist-activist project that repurposes domestic tools to become new musical instruments. Using embedded technologies, these household-devices-turned instruments are explored in interactive installations, commissioned compositions, and performances. Traditionally relegated to the private sphere, we interrogate domesticity through public engagement and performative spectacle.

    The new instruments are based on laundering tools that highlight gender performativity through clothing. Thefirst instrument featured in installation/performance is Embedded Iron, based on an early-20th century wooden ironing board and antique iron. Both the public and musicians can “iron” fabrics, including their own pieces of clothing, to make music. Using spectroscopy, the Embedded Iron has a color-sensing ability—‘seeing’ the color of the fabric to play different timbres. Using machine learning Wekinator, the Iron can interpolate unique sounds for any given fabric. The iron’s placement on the XY-axis of the ironing board determines pitch using LIDAR and ultrasonic technology.
    The Iron plays sounds of resistance, combining two sound modules in Pure Data: physical modeling of a violin—an instrument on which women were discouraged to be played in the nineteenth-century—and electric guitar-pedal like audio FX. Both of these modules evoke sounds that are historically associated with male musicians—put on an iron to subvert these very associations.

    Two texts chosen from an oppressive 19th-century marriage manual are mapped to a special “white apron” for ironing on the left and right side of the board, using granular synthesis. While the text may seem ludicrously outdated, the intentions behind the text are, ironically, still eeriely prevalent today.

Additional Images:

  • ISEA2022: Ho_Marzelline's Confessions
  • ISEA2022: Ho_Marzelline's Confessions
  • ISEA2022: Ho_Marzelline's Confessions


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