Week 10: Final Project Proposal w/ Alia

After giving our final project more thought we decided to change our idea. We took the same core ideas from our previous idea (the restriction of movement) but incorporated them in a piece that strikes the balance between individuality and universality.

One way in which the pandemic has affected our connections is by restricting free movement, as well as eliminating safe physical contact. For our project, a camera would detect the number of viewers on a screen and draw a thin green outline around each of them. When the viewers move the outline starts becoming red and distortions may be added the more and faster they move. Movement would also be met with loud beeps and alarm like sounds, all things that communicate that movement is undesirable, causing the viewer to feel most comfortable still. The camera would also detect when two people are too close together, the computer would produce an even louder and more disruptive sound and both of the peoples’ outlines would be filled red.

Week 3 – Optical Flow

For this assignment I continued to use human sounds and voices to create noise and “music”. I faced some troubles with this assignment, the sound would constantly go out of sync and would continue playing even after I ran the “hush” command but having less things running on my laptop helped fix the issue. To me the sound I made feels a bit creepy but I think it’s interesting.

Week 3: Reading (A Critical Framework for Interactive Art)

Relational Specificity

I think this reading was my favorite so far, the author introduces a new and beneficial framework through which we could methodically analyse interactive art in a more encompassing way. The implicit body framework takes analysis two steps further than “inquiry and process” and “artwork description”, and looks at the artwork’s “interactivity” and “relationality”. While reading the description of the first two areas of examination it was immediately clear how an analysis derived from just that would be incomplete and reductionist. And upon reading the explanation for the third area of examination (interactivity) I realised how, although undoubtedly helping to create a more comprehensive analysis, it is still lacking. This area substitutes experiencing the work “in the flesh” with data about how viewers interact with the artwork. The data seems to be purely compiled from visual and auditory observation, apart from allowing room for interpretation bias, the data ignores the internal feelings and thoughts of the viewers, therefore ignoring two parts of the “moving-thinking-process” that previous chapters attempt to frame as one indivisible process. The author does, nevertheless, mention “meaning-making” as a category of the implicit body thematics framework that will be discussed in later chapters. 

The “with” of Implicit Body Thematics

This part was very interesting in my opinion, the author introduces Jean-Luc Nancy and his ideas of the singular plural, that existence is essentially co-existence. I think relational theories in general are really interesting, they appear in different fields and offer interesting approaches to look at and understand things, like relational definitions of time and length in physics or relational explanations for social phenomena. I find that thinking about interactive art, or even art in general, using Nancy’s concept of the singular plural presents an intriguing set of questions like what is art without being observed, what it is without the observer, can art have a definition that doesn’t include the observer or the action of observation, and can we as humans be defined without art?

Week 2: Frame Differencing (attempting to dance)

This assignment was very fun, although I ran into many troubleshooting issue, when I got the hang of it I really enjoyed changing the sounds assigned to each section, changing the size and location of the sections and and pretending each section was a different instrument. I even tried creating very small consecutive vertical sections with sounds ascending in pitch that you could move your fingers over like a piano (which was a bit tedious in terms of coding but delivered a simple and fun output)

I had previously created the sounds in this video in my free time so i decided to assign some of them to different sections and experience what it would be like to play and stop different sounds using my body motion.

Week 2: Reading Responses (Digital Art & Meaning, Music as Mirror of Mind)

 Interactive Installations:

I think this reading offers a very insightful way to look at interactive art by highlighting the important role the physical body plays in society. Once the viewer’s body becomes an element in the art, the viewer becomes much more, a participant. I think this is the main reason interactive art has the potential to be so impactful. It is easy to overlook the significance of the body, sometimes this significance is intentionally avoided, suppressed and shamed, but many sociological theories explain the part it plays in self perception and the perception of others around us, it is the primary tool through which we experience, communicate and interact with the world around us. The reading also briefly talks about artists and the role they play in art making, which is interesting to me because the level of importance placed on the artist and the intervention by them has changed through time and different art genres. The reading also mentions a concern about physical engagement being introduced to art and how that might lead to cognitive passivity. Although, personally, I think physical engagement is actually cognitively provoking and stimulating, given the specialness of our bodies and what they can symbolise, I also think this is a very valid concern. It takes us back to the question of what defines art as art, at what point would a work have too much physical engagement and not enough cognitive activity that it is deemed as “not art”. What stuck with me the most from the reading is the quote saying that the role of art became to “be ways of living and models of action within the existing real” and while I think it’s very subjective what art you perceive to fulfil this role, it’s exciting to think about the possibilities once this role is pushed.

Music as Mirror of Mind

I really enjoyed this reading because of the thoughts and ideas it provoked. It introduces different models for thinking about and producing music, models more focused on what we know about how we experience music and cognitively perceive it, and less concerned with previous knowledge about music production and the set rules and structures. The reading teases the potential and possibilities of music that can be achieved through a process of “unlearning”. A lot of literature talks about how unlearning is essential to true creative and innovative creations and ideas, and many art movements were characterised by the complete disregard of rules or learned notions. Changes in music are discussed in the reading, how the music of today compares to pre-Baroque music in technical terms. Eventually there is a paragraph that ponders how much music will change and evolve, music being shaped by us as we listen. This idea of music reacting to the listener brings us back to the first reading, like the viewer becomes a participant, so does the listener. Interactive art doesn’t have to only reflect or engage the body visually, but also auditorily and even kinesthetically. Interactive can be a form of expression for the participating listener just as much as it is for the artist

Week 1: Experimenting With Tidal

Going into this assignment I was really thrilled because the concept of live coding music was so new to me and making my own music was something i’ve been wanting to do for such a long time.

I first started out by exploring the library of sounds on my laptop, noting down sounds that I liked, even though at the end I ended up picking random sounds that sounded right in the moment. I was specifically intrigued by the speech sounds because they reminded me a lot of the music i’m used to listening to. At first the process was a bit frustrating because I couldn’t really replicate the sounds I had in mind, and I was not enjoying what I was making. Once I let go of the visions I had and the need for perfection I started having a lot more fun. Layering sound after sound, playing around with different values and really listening to what I was making.

I think what I enjoyed the most was playing around with the pitch of voices. In the first one I play around with the a distorted voice saying “how does it feel?”. I added natural bird sounds then made very electronic high pitched squeaks that kind of complimented them. In the second experiment I played around with the sounds of letters with varying pitches to create sounds, starting with “M”s in a high pitch and “Y”s and “Z”s in a low pitch then switched to “O”s in a high pitch and “L”s and “V”s in a low pitch.

My video is longer than a minute because I included two experiments, I liked different things about each one and couldn’t choose.

I really enjoyed this assignment and I actually can’t wait to delve deeper into tidal and make some more noise!

Week 1: Interactive Art and Embodiment (Response)

In the introduction of his book Nathaniel Stern grapples with different definitions of interactive art, with a mission to present his own accurate and holistic definition. Stern talks about how a description that focuses on the technological aspects of the work and what it consists of is necessary yet shifts our attention away from what the work actually does. I think the author was able to provide a description that accurately describes and sets apart interactive art from more traditional art and other non-interactive works, specifically the concept of “moving-thinking-feeling”. When I think of art that isin’t interactive, I see it as an embodiment the moving-thinking-feeling of the artist in the creation process. Interactive art, however, embodies and frames the moving-thinking-feeling of the viewer. This is a quality unique to interactive works, meaning it’s an important factor when it comes to identifying and discussing interactive art. This distinction is even possible because of Sterns argument about moving, thinking and feeling and how he combines all 3 actions, perceiving them as one, and part of the same process.

I also found Sterns comparisons between philosophy and art very appealing, especially how interactive installations can allow us to develop and produce a sense of philosophy. This logic also applies the other way around, how philosophy can provoke or inspire art. Again this comparison is dependent on the concept of “moving-thinking feeling” and how both practices present it but through different methods.