"dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. This vision is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people. (C. Christov-Bakargiev)"
"In this way the puppeteers would be part of the development of the prototypes for the virtual puppets as well as the characters for the play, before the actual rehearsals would begin two month later. ...
The value of the actual meetings and workshops can not be emphasised enough. This gave the participants hands on experience with the constraints in the actual equipment and a chance to meet the team that would be responsible for operating it. It is not until the artist has a very physical and intuitive impression of the material and the involved people the creative process takes off for real – before this everything is abstract ideas. ...
In the planning of the research project and the actual production the division of labour within and between each field of activity were specified as outlined in section 3.
As the process went on the borders became more blurred exploring the new field between creative production in theatre and animation and methods from computer science and systems development. One of the big challenges was the development of a common language between the artist and the programmer/technicians and to define and invent new methods that were necessary to carry out the production.
I tried to explore the numerous reasons for this in the evaluation phase of the project. This was done by conducting qualitative interviews with the participants and by reviewing the large body of video documentation from the process. The footage was edited to a 50 minute documentary about the project on which the following assumptions are based (Callesen 2001)."
(Jřrgen Callesen, 2003, p.15,18,30)
Callesen (2001) Virtual Puppets in Performance, Proceedings, Marionette: Metaphysics, Mechanics, Modernity, International Symposium, University of Copenhagen, 28. March - 1. April, 2001
Callesen, J. (2003) "The Family Factory - Developing new Methods for Live 3D Animation" in Madsen, K.H. Production methods: behind the scenes of virtual inhabited 3D worlds. Springer-Verlag, London.
"The NOW:THEN method aims to establish a basis for coordination of experience with practical artistic research and to share innovative ideas, technical skills and ressources. This is achieved by articulating needs and demands for new standards and tools through the development of actual experimental work in socalled 'Test rooms' or 'Media Labs'.
The principle is simple. To gain some actual practical experience it is important to produce artistic prototypes with the technology that is available NOW. These artistic prototypes are not meant for an audience or for a commercial market - they are research prototypes helping to articulate what you want to achieve in the final production THEN."
(Practice driven Research in Art and Media)
"In order to determine how people might use Sonic City in everyday life, we have conducted a short-term user study with a variety of people using the prototype in their own familiar environments. Focusing on considerations of musical performance, embodied interaction as well as engagement and control, this study helped us to understand how people approach Sonic City and interact musically with the city, revealing emerging urban behaviours and music creation processes integrated into everyday life.
Process: the study took place during winter of 2003-04. It consisted of observing how a set of participants used the prototype in their own everyday environment during a limited period of time, and in collecting their feedback about it.
The study participants had various backgrounds, activities, ages, music tastes, and perceptions of the city of Göteborg.
In order to gain insight into their everyday environments, the type of path they would take, and their perception of them, we started by giving them cultural probes (individual self-contained small packages handed-out to users in order to gather information about their everyday life) prior to the testings. This also helped determining where the test sessions would be conducted, as they had to take place in the users' everyday environments. Participant were each given a cultural probe for a few days, with instructions to only open it and proceed when taking a path they would have taken anyway. The probes contained the assignment of documenting a single everyday path with a digital still camera, taking pictures of obstacles, resources and what would catch their attention. Then, they would write down answers to both clear and ambiguous questions about their path, draw their own map of it, put stickers where the pictures had been taken, and locate themselves on a larger city map (see user pages - links below user pictures in results' part).
Eventually, we let each participant use the prototype in the documented area. The users were told how the system worked but not where to walk or how to behave. Each user was video-filmed in action and the music produced recorded on a MiniDisc. This enabled a close study of paths and behaviours during use. Each session was completed with in-depth interviews about the experience.
We then synchronised the videos with corresponding sounds for analysis purposes. This allowed us to get a deeper understanding of the details of interactions by linking interactions with musical results, and repeating playbacks. The videos were first watched together with each user in order to collect their own comments and analysis of the sessions, and followed by complementary interviews. By synchronising these comments with the videos, we could compare the users' feedback with an objective analysis of their behaviours, while avoiding misunderstandings about their intentions.
Results: the study showed that mobility could indeed become a musical interaction between a user and her urban environment, enhancing her perception of and engagement with these everyday settings.
The study also opened the question of how to improvise and adapt one's musical interaction when confronted to a lack of control due to unpredictable and uncontrollable factors encountered in urban environments. The city was perceived to be more in control of this interaction than the user. However, she was able to actively influence how the music was created through different tactics and through situated interventions, all of them related to how the system was designed, what it highlighted and thus how it encouraged her to act.
In terms of interaction, the users were engaged on the level of the global path and of local interactions. Both levels were managed in an ad hoc, rather improvised way. Paths were most often planned in advance by the users but were sometimes randomly or intentionally modified during the course of a session in order to look for more interesting contexts and test how they would sound (e.g. a noisy construction site for [A.S.], a dark corner next to an electricity chamber for [D.R.]). Participants looked around themselves to seek local interactions opportunities, which they also found by accident (e.g. metallic objects). Some had favourite inputs, such as human voices for [M.K.] or noisy traffic for [F.M.].
On a local level, the users actively directed sensors with their body. In order to produce input, they often got closer to fixed artefacts at hand such as metal or walls. They also turned their body and thus the sensors towards or against diffused sources of input in order to amplify respectively shadow them, thus modulating the city's input. [D.R.] turned his back on traffic to reduce the impact of the sound level for example. Paths could thus be considered as a score articulated by ad hoc local bodily interactions."
(Future Applications Lab)
6). Gaye, Lalya, Mazé, Ramia, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003). Sonic City: The Urban Environment as a Musical Interface. In Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME-03). Montreal, Canada: 109-115 [http://www.ears.dmu.ac.uk/spip.php?page=artBiblio&id_article=1973].
Sonic City is a collaboration between Future Applications Lab (Viktoria Institute) and PLAY Studio (Interactive Institute), in Göteborg, Sweden. Project members include: Lalya Gaye (FAL) - engineering, electroacoustics, Ramia Mazé (PLAY) - interaction design, architecture, Margot Jacobs (PLAY) - product & interaction design, Daniel Skoglund (ex-8Tunnel2) - sound-art. Lalya's supervisor at Future Applications Lab: Lars Erik Holmquist. Participating Master's students (IT-University Göteborg): Magnus Johansson (HCI / interaction design) + Sara Lerén (cognitive science). This project is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) through the Mobile Services project, by the European Union IST program through the Smart-Its project, and by VINNOVA through the IT+Textiles project.
"To McCullough, computer animation, geometric modeling, spatial databases – in general, all forms of media production or design – can be said to be 'crafted' when creators 'use limited software capacities resourcefully, imaginatively, and in compensation for the inadequacies of prepackaged, hard-coded operations' (21).... Again, as Sennett suggests, we 'assert our own individuality' against the prepackaged, predetermined processes and limitations of the tools we're using. Craftsmanship, says aesthetic historian David Pye, is 'workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment [sic], dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works' (45).
'Workmanship engages us with both functional and aesthetic qualities. It conveys a specific relation between form and content, such that the form realizes the content, in a manner that is enriched by the idiosyncrasies of the medium' (McCullough p.203). '[E]ach medium,' McCullough says, 'is distinguished by particular vocabulary, constructions, and modifiers, and these together establish within it a limited but rich set of possibilities' (McCullough p.230). Similarly, each methodology, or each research resource, has its own particular vocabulary, constructions, modifiers, obligations, and limitations. We need to choose our tools with these potentially enriching, and just as potentially debilitating, idiosyncrasies in mind. Do we need advanced software, or will iMovie suffice? Do we need to record an focus group in video – or will the presence of the camera compromise my rapport with my interviewee? Will an audio recording be more appropriate? Do we need to conduct primary interviews if others have already documented extensive interviews with these same subjects? Do we need to conduct extensive, long-term field-work – or can we accomplish everything in a short, well-planned research trip? How do I match my problem or project to the most appropriate tool?"
(Shannon Mattern, Words in Space)
Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).