Cobi van Tonder is a South African composer, producer and performer who specialises in interactive electronic music and other digital media. She has worked with various dance choreographers, video artists and actors. She also produces commercially for cinema, television, radio, and mobile media. Cobi has a BHons in Music in History and Society (University Of The Witwatersrand), a National Diploma in Light Music (Technikon Pretoria) and a National Certificate in Musical Theatre (Technikon Pretoria). She was born in Pretoria and grew up in a small town in the North Western countryside of South Africa.
Cobi has studied classical music since the age of five. Trained as a pianist/violinist and possessing a keen interest in theatre, she has written and staged numerous electronic and multimedia solo musicals, played keyboards and sung for Nothing, Freedom’s Children and Kaolin Thompson. Her first interactive work Ephemeral Gumboots won a Digital Pluralism – UNESCO Digital Arts Award in 2003 and uses sensor-equipped rubber boots to explore digital variations of a traditional South African dance form. This project was inspired by the desire to take historical or traditional art forms (in this case Gumboot Dance) and transform them into the Digital realm, creating a gateway between old and new and enabling dialogue between these two worlds.
Cobi is in residence at Lucas Artists Programs as part of the ISEA2006 Symposium/Zero One San José: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge, to be held in August 2006 in San Jose. She is here working on a collaborative project with IDEO.