Research Prior Work - Due 1/13

Homework due by Wednesday, 1/13: Research prior work.  Find 4 examples of art/music inventions that are similar to the work you are interested in creating.   This should be an exploratory exercise meant to help you with techniques for building your own creations.  You should make note of useful technical details, novel creative choices, and ideas for improvement for each example.   Links and accompanying observations should be posted on the class blog.  I will also post this homework on there today.


Marisol Jimenez

None of these examples below are exactly like the project I have in mind ( I am very relieve for that), but they have some similar aspects and are cool works.
This Floating Spires installation is very simple and the sounds are nice. I am interested in creating interactive chime like objects with metal keys. I would like to have more variations to the sound than the ones explored here.
This one is the closest to one of the elements in my project that I called
"Arborescent portal"  I also want to use branches to create a forrest of shadows in a space, however the installation in this video called "Thinking tree"  is not interactive and the focus is stasis  while I am interested in continuous flow of movement and change. I am also interested in the sound being produce in realtime.
This one is by Pipilotti Rist, is a good example of projecting video into a large area where people are literally inside the image projected. I would also like to use video to immerse the audience into an environment only the visual aesthetic and the surfaces of projection I want in my project are entirely different from this example.

Again not exactly what I want to do for my own project  but I am also interested in creating rhythmic structures of light and video images.

I also want to explore the sound of sand falling, however in this installation they use the sand to trigger midi piano. It really sounds so boring. I am actually interested in amplifying the sound of the sand falling into various objects and process it in real time. More like a processed large rain stick.


Adam's Prior Research

Haaken Continuum Fingerboard


The Haaken Continuum embodies the essence of the tactile experience I hope my project will provide.  That is, it is an array of linear faders that sense position and pressure, but most importantly the surface of the fingerboard deforms under pressure.  The materials used in the mechanical construction and the fabric that covers the fingerboard yield a kind of haptic feedback that lends itself well to synthesis algorithms that can be learned intuitively.  However, the Haaken Continuum is an expensive commercial product, and is designed with the keyboardist in mind.  Moreover, it lacks any kind of visual feedback from the device itself.  My controller will (hopefully) arrange the touch sensitive strips on the surface of a sphere (thus breaking any ties to traditional instruments), and will provide some form of visual feedback using LEDs.  The last point I will make about the continuum is that it is a heavy, free-standing unit.  It is not an object you can pick up and play.


Buchla Thunder / MIDIMan Surface One


The Buchla Thunder is an early example of 'alternative' MIDI controllers.  It uses linear touch pads to sense pressure and, to a lesser extent, position.  What makes this product similar to my idea is it's completely un-traditional layout and design.  It looks like something an alien might use to drive a flying saucer.  I hope my project ends up looking like some artifact from outer space.  Like the Continuum, it is not designed to be picked up while being played, and the visual feedback is a boring textual display.


The MIDIMan (now M-Audio) Surface One was a project announced in 2001 but was cancelled in 2003 before ever going to market.  It is very similar to the Thunder but designed for mass manufacture (and had rotary pots or encoders).


Monome 40h + accelerometer addition


The Monome 40h is a compact device that can be played with the fingers upon a tabletop, held with two hands and played with the thumbs, or held with one and and played with the other.  I intend for my sphere for be used similarly.  With the accelerometer addition, the device will respond to its physical orientation, which I also wish to employ in the sphere.  Other than those aspects, the monome is a very different product.  Its grid arrangement of buttons evokes loops and step sequences.  Without the accelerometer, it has no interface for continuous gestures whatsoever.  The buttons are satisfying to the touch, but do not respond to velocity.


iPhone + TouchOSC


An iphone running TouchOSC provides an interface for linear sliders, visual feedback, and accelerometer control.  It's crowning feature is perhaps the ability to design custom user interfaces.  But there is no haptic feedback, and the device is small.  Furthermore, it is the least visually impressive of the bunch.  If iPhone performance ever catches on (and I don't think it will), people will quickly tire of it as they have of laptop performance. 

Prior Work Research: Interactive and Performance Video

 I have found a few good examples of work going on in the field of performance video editing and interactive video installation.

First, Camille Utterback's "Come to Pieces" is an interactive video installation in which fragments from different perspectives of live video cameras are assembled for participants to see on the wall.  This shows a good example of alpha-mask mixing, in addition to processing live video feeds.

Quicktime Documentation,


Second, The emergence exhibition called "sniff," uses live video processing to asses the mood and aggressiveness of participants, and a projected dog responds to user interaction.


Third, we have an example of how performance video can take on an activist role.  This video was produced by the British Council India to help annunciate the emerging trouble from climate change.  This was produced by a VJ performance, namely using new ways of organizing and managing media to "perform" a final video.


Finally we have an example of stop motion music.  This was obviously produced using a move traditional video editing modality, but I have devised essentially a way for someone to "perform" a video like this.

 Also, here is one more example of how time-based video manipulation can create unique motion effects:

So really I'm looking for some kind of combination of all of these:  Unique mode of live interaction to control activism-oriented stop-motion video.  Sounds good.


Assignment 1/13

My current idea for a project is modeled on Guitar Hero and Rock Band guitar controls - Specifically, movement in the guitar creating changes in the sound. Changing the guitar's position so the neck is vertical would create more vibrato in the sound. Changing the guitars position along the other axis (twisting the guitarists body) would create a tremolo effect (with the volume going up and down at a constant rate). I would want the device to be mounted on the body of the guitar in a way that does not distract or getting in the way of the knobs, strings or fingers that are needed for playing. I would find a way for the cords connecting the accelerometer to the computer would beconnected to the cords connecting the guitar to the computer (which it would have to be to be effected by the software that would power the accelerometer). 


I have a found a few other examples of guitars either having effects mounted on the body of the guitar (instead of being on the ground for the guitar player to work with his/her feet) or having effects controlled by accelerometers. They are:




A $5 effect that is made by the guitarist (not sold as a product), this FX module informs my project by showing a good design for how to mount something like this to the body of a guitar without getting in the way of the players hands, the strings, or the knobs that are already on the guitar. THe problem that I have with this project is that it doesn't use any computer software, the way that I see mine using. 




THis is a description of an accelerometer that is used by the guitar player to manipulate wahwah effects. The accelerometer is worn on the fingers of the players right hand, and the sound is manipulated this way. This is a different way than I plan to use an accelerometer, and it is one that is absolutely more complicated than the way that I plan to use it, but it is a very cool way of using one that can absolutely inform how I use mine. 


3) Guitar Hero (obviously)


In this videogame, the movements that I plan on using to control changes in the guitar's signal are similar to the ones used here. The jerk up movement (pushing the head of the "guitar" up in the air to make the guitar vertical) activates special abilities for the player. Another use of an accelerometer in a guitar-type activity. 





A acoustic guitar pickup with an accelerometer used to adjust tone. The accelerometer in this case is used to small automatic changes or improvements in tone while the guitar player plays, creating "excellent dynamic and frequency response". This is simply another use of the accelerometer, one that could impact ways that I may be able to upgrade my device if I ever get beyond version 1.0. 

Interactive Dance Performance

Examples of Interactive Dance Performance

My project, titled Fell, is a dance performance piece inspired by my work in gravitational physics.  The work questions the theater of falling and interrogates our complicity with bodies that fall.  I plan to use interactive tracking to manipulate recorded sounds of bodies falling and control the theatrical lighting system.  The following are a few examples of work I have found conceptually interesting in addition to two more technical articles about interactive tracking and sensing for dance performance.

1) .MOV

.MOV is a performance piece by Milan based AIEP (  Radio frequency accelerometers attached to the performers amplify the sonic qualities of the movement and create a sound score for the piece.  The use of technology is simple and elegant; as viewers we easily understand the ‘rules’ of the piece, i.e. that the sounds originate in the dancer’s movements.

2) Bullitt
Bullitt is a dance-performance piece that involves an interactive neon light panel.  I found this work interesting because the panel is programmed algorithmically and used interactively.  The simplicity and austerity of the aesthetic (light and dark) was also appealing.  Unfortunately, I could not find any documentation on how the interactive tracking of the dancer’s movement was executed.

3) Horizontal Vertigo
Horizontal Vertigo by Recoil Performance group involves movement tracking via video sensor.  These movements are then manipulated by computer to create still graphic images projected behind the dancer.  Again, I am not sure how this was executed, but I am mostly interested in how this work deals with gravity as this is the main conceptual framework of my work.

The following are two technical articles concerning interactive dance performance.  I included these since I could not find much technical documentation on the work above, which I chose primarily for conceptual and artistic value.

4) Movement-based Interactive Dance Performance
Written by researchers in the Arts, Media and Engineering Program at Arizona State University, this article has a particularly nice discussion of how to approach choreographing for interactive performance.   In addition, it outlines the conceptual background and technical specifics behind Lucidity, an interactive dance work performed at ASU.

5) A Wearable Wireless Sensor Platform for Interactive Dance Performances
This is a less interesting article out of UC Irvine focusing on sensing and using the specific example of the performance project Dreams in the Forbidden City.

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