[Video] Week 7 Pt. 1 – Intro to Shaders

IMPORTANT – before watching this video make sure you have read these sections in the P5js shader tutorial (they all go in order so no need to keep clicking):

Code for this video is located in our repo here. This video covers examples 01 & 02.

Week 6: What is Somatics? Response and Analysis

This was a really interesting reading for me, that was dense so I had many thoughts (and some areas of confusion; so I will break it down.

  1. The distinction between Soma and Body

Where the author describes how the body is perceived from within the first-person perception, it reminds me of a few things I learned growing up. I used to always think about how I have no idea what I truly look like. I only see myself through a mirror, or a camera, or photos. It reminds me of the time I read that humans think they are 5 times more attractive than they actually are. I remember thinking how ugly am I then? The last thing I pieced together was a campaign that Dove made, where they asked people to describe themselves to a sketch artist, then have others describe them, and the side-by-side results were shocking. I encourage you to read it: link.

The Third-person viewpoint was also interesting to me because it was stressed how third-person views are used for psychology and medicine. This is relevant to some recent conversations I had where we criticized the eligibility of most medicine and psychology because of their inherent biases. Things like Autism, ADHD, heart attacks, and many more topics in medicine and psychology were studied on men. Where women don’t have the same symptoms, they are very often misdiagnosed and suffer their lives. This issue is more prevalent in Women of colour (such as how in the UK, women of colour are 5 times more likely to die of childbirth).  The author touches upon this slightly, when he says ‘to ignore essential data, either willfully or innocently.’

  1. The soma is self-regulating and self-sensing

“When we play the role of scientist and observe a rock, nothing changed for the rock. But the soma that is being observed is not only aware of itself through self-observation, but it is also simultaneously in the process of modifying itself before the observer’s eyes. ” Somas are not bodies, and self-awareness is only the first several distinctions of the human soma. Humans are said to be self-aware, and engaged in it, constantly reacting to their first-person point of view, as well as reacting to how they are perceived in third person point of view. Forgive me if I’m taking this in a different context, but I can’t help but thinking of identity politics when I consider this. I took a course in Identity politics, and so I consider ‘self-regulating and self-sensing’ to be very interesting interconnected with ideas like Confirmation Bias, situating self in relation to who others are around you, and herd mentality.

  1. Consciousness and Awareness

“Human consciousness is, in fine, the instrument of human freedom.”  The author describes consciousness are a learned function, an instrument to human freedom, and awareness as mostly negative, but focused. But what happens when they go hand in hand for a long period of time? For example, being a woman, I was taught to always be aware of strangers, more specifically men around me. Over years and years of practicing this awareness, it became involuntary. It is involuntary when I walk into a space, scan the room, count the people, check the exits. I don’t do it consciously anymore, but if you ask me at a random moment how many men are in the room, I will know. I can sense when someone is looking at me even if they are out of my peripheral vision. I know when someone is following me, and I know when someone is just walking behind me. Are these all involuntary somatic events, or were they development of being conscious and aware, that lead to it becoming involuntary?

  1. Somatic learning and Sensory-motor Amnesia

Here is where I get confused. I know conditioning neither requires focusing of awareness nor does it result in the learning of conscious somatic actions and that it attempts to reduce the repertoire of voluntary consciousness, so is that what my reaction to stranger danger has become? Was this self-conditioning? My second question is, how voluntary is conditioning? Yes, technically, I chose to be aware and (borderline) paranoid of strangers, but was this so much as my choice as it was an environmental development?

When it comes to sensory-motor amnesia, I don’t understand it at all: would love it if someone could give me an example to help them think through it!

Week 5: Teensy and Prop Shield

I really enjoyed this week’s assignment, though I encountered a lot of difficulties along the way. After meeting with my Professor, I was able to solve a lot of these problems and get through the assignment.

This week, I was a lot more intentional when creating music using TidalCycles. In contrast to how I have approached using TidalCycles previously, this week, I had an idea of what kind of music I wanted to create, and experimented with a lot of sounds in the library until I found sounds that were close to what I wanted. My aim was to create music that you would hear once you enter a mythical but frightening forest. I used three sounds: kalimba, koy and tink. I tried to use what I have seen in movies as well as my own imagination to guide me when creating the sounds. I really enjoyed using the orientation of the prop shield to control the speed and volume of the sounds.

I attached the prop shield to my arm and tried my best to dance with the music. Since my vision was a scary, mythical forest, I tried to imagine being a mythical creature in the forest dancing majestically, though that is not what it looks like (I’m sorry). I find it really interesting how the sounds we hear influence our moving-thinking-feeling. My movements were definitely affected by the sounds I was hearing, which ultimately affected what I was thinking and feeling in that moment.

While dancing, I found it difficult to rotate my arm in a way that would make the ‘koy’ sound more audible. This gave me an idea of a possible interactive installation piece, where hidden messages could only be heard by those capable of moving their bodies in a very specific (and difficult) way. I’m sure if my arm was more flexible, I would have been able to hear the ‘koy’ sound better. I’m not sure if there is an installation piece like this that already exists, but I’m definitely interested in finding out!

NOTE: I was unable to record both the localhost:8000 window and myself dancing, so I have attached both below.

Week 6 // What is Somatics?

(Thomas Hanna)

Thomas Hanna defines somatic as the study of the body as perceived from within by a 1st person perception and highlights that both the 3rd person and 1st person perspective on the body are equally valuable but whereas an outsider can online observe the body, the soma (inside perception) involves immediate proprioception, meaning immediate reactions to the observation. There is constant self-regulation. Thomas Hanna thus proposes to change Descartes’ philosophical statement to “I am self-aware, therefore I act” to incorporate this element of reciprocity. He describes consciousness as a skill that can be expanded through focusing awareness on the unknown to learn and know it. This, he describes as somatic learning which is somewhat opposite to conditioning which aims to create an automatic response outside of voluntary consciousness. These so called reflexes, he expands, can eventually lead to a state of sensory-motor amnesia where the ability to consciously control our musculature is lost. Society often regards this as symptomatic of old age but actually somatic learning always allows allows to regain sensory awareness as response to such amnesia. Even more beneficial would be to make it part of one’s lifestyle to build and preserver a highly differentiated repertoire of response possibilities to environmental stimuli. Thomas Hanna calls a soma with such high voluntary control and minimized involuntary conditioning a free soma in a ‘fair state’ which from a 3rd person perspective would be seen as a body in optimal physical and mental health.

I was surprised to read about Moshe Feldenkrais in this IM course but it is appropriate when talking about self-perception and awareness / consciousness of the own body. As my family works with his teaching, I am relatively familiar with the effect his practice can have on the body from my own 1st person perspective.

Week 5: Prop Shield

I’ve noticed that every time I go through the built-in sounds and beats to try them out, I end up choosing sounds for like a movie scene rather than a dance scene.

I imagine a situation and I apply the sounds accordingly. For this assignment, I pretended that it is a scene from a haunted house where the sound increases if you get closer to a room and decreases when you move away. The third sound I had, for the heading, would speed up and slow down, this was my way of trying to make it more suspenseful.

The Haunted House – working with Prop Shield.

The first half of the video shows all three sounds played at the same time and the different combinations that can occur. The second half displays each sound separately to know which one is doing what exactly.

I found the calibration on MotionCal very interesting for some reason so I wanted to attach an image of it below haha.

I am still having trouble figuring out how to use the internal mic from the laptop rather than the whole MacBook with the external sounds. The trial I did ended up not recording sound at all so I need help in that.

I also wanted to make it more interactive by showing what I am doing but I didn’t know how we can add a video of ourselves and display it at the same time. I tried using my phone to record but still couldn’t add the recording of myself to the screen-recording.

Week 5: Teensy Prop Shield

What is the relationship between me, my body, my mind, the sounds, and the technology? Music makes us feel a certain way, makes us remembers, makes us want to move, so how does this relationship change when a one sided reaction becomes a possibility of interaction?

For this weeks exercise I wanted to incorporate some voice – something very human – but using the – not so human? – French Siri voice of my phone. Can you understand what text is read out loud?

I am then using “pitch” to change the volume/gain of the spoken words, “roll” to change the room and “heading” to change the speed of the drum breaks.

Playing with my ‘whole’ body (limited by the cable length it was only my left arm in this case) I realized that I was tempted to move my fingers a lot event tough only the position of my arm would change the Tidal sound but this makes sense since my arm movements follows somewhat the movements of my fingers. I think focusing on this body – tech / human – computer interaction and starting with what feels right for the body/human is a good step in creating systems that work. On the other hand, starting with the technical side and then exploring what is possible within this ‘restrained playground of possibilities’ through moving our body to explore different areas and positions that affect the sound (or whatever medium we work with) is also an interesting, experimental approach.

In another trial, I attached the Teensy PropShield to a marker and experimented how different writing positions and and ways of holding the marker change the Tidal sounds. This could be interested to adapt sound to writing. The sound could slow down when writing and being ‘in a flow’, but when holding up the marker when having a ‘writer’s block’, the sound could be faster, more complex and possibly inspired new ideas.

Experimenting how the writing and pen position change the Tidal sounds.
Here you can see how the movement changes volume/room/speed of the Tidal sounds.

Week 5: Teensy and Prop Shield

This was a really fun assignment for me. I didnt have too many bugs or obstacles, and really liked how the sounds played in together. (I would say its one of the most ones that ‘worked for my ear.’ I found i so entertaining to keep playing (with the touch readers especially, i felt like an offbrand DJ).

Initially, I had a hard time getting Tidal Cycles to play from the Prop Shield. Thanks to Aaron, he helped me reboot atom and Tidal Cycles and got it working. Making the sounds was so fun. When I was watching this weeks’ videos, I heard the exact sounds I wanted to piece together (it was like my music stars aligned) and i was so happy how it turned out.

After I got that, I wanted to challenge myself a little, and add two touchHandles to the propshield. It didnt take me too long to figure it out, and i quickly found sounds i thought matched it. Then I had (a lot of ) fun playing with that:

Prop Shield and Touch Readers

Unfortunately, I found that when I connected the touch Reader, the detection of the prop shield was really slow, and lagged a lot. I couldn’t hear the change in sounds as nicely as I wanted, so I also did a take without the touch readers.

I tied the prop shield to my wrist with a scrunchie, and as you can see, I also had a lot of fun with this, and started doing a tiktok dance at the end to see what kind of sounds that dance would make.

Prop Shield Only