We are developing a portable interactive musical installation called the Whimsichord. This device will react to the movement

and touch of “movicians” responding with sound.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Module Mock Up

Monday, March 28, 2011

Movician Workshop 2


Pics from another Movician Workshop with dancers Hollie Miller and Hannah Buckley. Character mapping was developed through movement and brainstorming...

Dog Leash Prototype

video

Retractable dog leash with rotary encoder attached. Mapped directly to parameters on a simple synthesiser

10) Holster

Pics from Body Mapping Workshop with Hollie Miller


We paid a visit to Mile End climbing wall. The modular climbing holds, clips, ropes and holsters are inspiring the structure and aesthetic of the instrument....

Visit to Mile End Climbing Wall...

We paid a visit to Mile End climbing wall. The modular climbing holds, clips, ropes and holsters are inspiring the structure and aesthetic of the instrument....

Storefront Inspiration

5) Movement Maps

hannah buckley 'quiet genius' character

We decided from the outset to develop the musical interface through a series of co-creative movement workshops with dancers. Each retractable module that made up the instrument would be created around a character, which would define its sound, shape and behaviour. 10 characters were devised and dancers Holly Miller and Hanna Buckley, responded to them through movement.


process of developing movement and character maps

We then gathered the both dancers responses to the workshop, and took note of our own observations, and created a personality maps for each character. These maps where used by Dave to start creating sound pallets that would begin to define the personalities in intricate detail.


Hollie Miller responding to 'inept' character

Materials

Fabrication: All of these pods will be soft and body-centric, fashioned out of high-density foam and upholstered using leather and wood veneer. Clips and powerful magnets will be used to attach each module from wall to body. The internal foam will be used to house and protect the technology. Each module will be fashioned out of lightweight materials such as foam and fabric. They will all be soft and body-centric. Unlike the Whimsichord, they will not involve technology. Some will be percussive. For some their sound will be undecided. Their shapes will be ambiguous leaving gaps for reinterpretation by movicians

Mechanics

6) Sound Mapping

di's sound mapping model

Dave used our notes and observations from the first movement workshop, to create sound pallets for each character. Starting with two characters 'Quiet Genius' and 'Smother', he used the character responses of Hollie and Hannah as inspiration to drive the composition.

movician workshop with hollie miller and hannah buckley

The 2 new sound pallets were then given to our dancers for their response during a second movement workshop. We were interested to note how the girls' behaviour changed dramatically during this process. Holly said that she became very conscious of the sound (which did not respond to her movement at this stage), saying that she felt a desire to sync here movement with the sound, which was rather disorientating. Hannah on the other hand, appeared to move through the soundscape in an altogether different way. Interestingly, when the girls responded to the sound pallets for a second time, they became more confident and the characters seemed to shine through as they had done in the first workshop.

Once again, we then gathered the both dancers responses to the workshop, and took note of our own observations, and created a personality maps for each character. These observations where used by Dave to further develop the sound pallets.

5) Movement Mapping

hannah buckley 'quiet genius' character

Di and Dave decided from the outset to develop the musical interface through a series of co-creative movement workshops with dancers. Each retractable module that made up the instrument would be created around a character, which would define its sound, shape and behaviour. 10 characters were devised and dancers Holly Miller and Hanna Buckley, responded to them through movement.


process of developing movement and character maps

We then gathered the both dancers responses to the workshop, and took note of our own observations, and created a personality maps for each character. These maps where used by Dave to start creating sound pallets that would begin to define the personalities in intricate detail.


Hollie Miller responding to 'inept' character


4) Characters

carl jung typology


In past research that was ispired by Carl Jung's Typology, Di developed the concept of building instrumental interfaces around character narratives. She suggested taking this concept forward into the Whimsichord project. Di went on to develop 10 different characters descriptions. Here is an example of one of these characters called Quiet Genius:


The Quiet Genius sits in the corner of the room. She is so plain that in certain lights we may assume that she is a texture on the wallpaper. If we seek the Quiet Genius specifically, we will never find her. We are much more likely to trip over her while seeking something or someone entirely unrelated. And this will be a fortuitous turn of events. Once in her company, we are quickly aware of her sharp powers of perception. She will gauge our mood. She will solve our problems. She will reconcile us with our past and align us with our future. All of this is done in a quiet unassuming way that only amplifies the intricacy of her genius. Now that we have met her once, we will spend the rest of our lives seeking her company for a second time. Because of this acute desire, it is unlikely that we will ever find her again.

These narratives would be used to develop the sound, shape, functionality and interaction of each instrument, through a series of co-creative workshops with dancers.

3) Workshops


Co-creative Workshops


Di has developed a technique which she calls body-centric design. This involves working co-creatively with dancers to develop structures on the body as they move within space. This enables the Movican to respond to the device in a physical way, allowing new discoveries to be made and design problems to be solved on the spot.


body-centric-working-model

We aim to utilize this technique during the development of Whimsichord through a series of co-creative workshops with Movicians for the development, testing and ultimate performance of Whimsichord.

co-creative working model

2) Inspiration

Following the workshops, Di started to research games, toys and sports that involve string or rope, such as cats cradle, marionettes or rock climbing. It was important that the string aspect of the piece be playful and interactive as well as functional (in terms of controlling the sound output).


Reverse Marionette

Di liked the idea of creating a reverse marionette. She envisaged an installation in which the user (or movician) might take on the role of both marionette and puppeteer simultaneously.

1) Concept




discover

We propose to develop a portable interactive musical installation called the Whimsichord. This device will react to the movement and touch of “movicians”, responding with sound.

play


The instrument will comprise of soft modular magnetic pods that will be attached to the wall via magnets. When each pod is plucked from the wall by a Movician sound will be released, defined by the motion of the module and the length of the retractile string. Each module can then be attached to the body, using either clips or magnets.



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Some pods will pull away from the wall on retractable strings, drawing an elegant line from the surrounding architecture onto to the movicians’s body. Others will secure to the body independently.