Video of Self-reflection-machines
(including Jymmin installation) at exhibition Hygienemuseum (Dresden):



Jymmin (synthesis of "gym" and "jammin") is an installation where people can “work out” in a gym that not only keeps them fit but also lets them control a variety of sounds. The participants encounter several machines that invite them to play around. When moved, these machines produce a variety of sounds ranging from simple tonal patterns to filtered disco rhythms. Within only a few seconds of learning one can understand how body movements and sounds are associated with each other. By playing music depending on the configuration of the training apparatus, the training apparatus is effectively turned into an instrument. The participant becomes more and more able to use each fitness machine as such a kind of unusual instrument. The pleasure playing these instruments comes from several sources. The machines bypass the stereotyped movement patterns associated with conventional instruments. Instead they provide an intuitive approach to sound and music improvisation.


Playing the instruments also requires control of the whole body. The immense physical effort involved means that one has to put in real “hard work”, thus blurring the boundaries between instrument, work-out and dance. The performer is experiencing an increase in bodily arousal through his physical effort, but he is tempted to attribute this experience to the aesthetic musical actions he is operating. The high bodily arousal involved in this process is different to the usage of most "normal" music instruments that can be controlled even by tiny effortless movements, and thus create an imbalance between minute bodily involvement and the strong feelings evoked by the music.

Finally, the installation provides a space for experimentation for multiple participants (up to approx. 100) that can jointly explore intuitive sound-scapes by coordinating their body movements, share aesthetic action, and overcoming physical exhaustion in a state that is reminiscent of a musical trance. Several scientific experiements with the installation demonstrate massive psychological and physiological effects (see News section for abstracts, or click on the links to view full text):

"Musical agency reduces perceived exertion during strenuous physical performance" -

"Musical feedback during exercise machine workout enhances mood" -

"Benefits of listening to a recording of euphoric joint music making in polydrug abusers" -

"The Band Effect - physically strenuous music making increases esthetic appreciation of music" -