Yesterday was a marathon day, consisting of 8 hour-long student meetings
and lectures in two classes.
I don't know how useful it is to report our individual work with the
students, as it was in fact fairly similar from person to person. Our main
focus was implementation. In the typical scenario, the student would
arrive, they would tell us their idea and their proposed sensor/output
combination, and I (Mark) would implement the necessary interactive
programming. After the programming was finished and tested, the student
would then spend the remaining time (about 1/2 hour) moving inside their
environment, and Dawn would work with them on the relationship between
their movement and the resulting event on their chosen output device.
The level of interest ranged from moderate to strong over the range of
students that we have worked with so far. None were entirely apathetic,
although some whose interest might have been in the moderate category
became much more interested when they started moving in their environment
and felt what was possible.
There was one interesting situation that I had not encountered before. One
student was using the MidiDancer to control the playback of audio. The
setup had one sensor on each elbow. Bending the right elbow started one
piece of music, straightening the elbow triggered another. The left elbow
was the same, but with different music. Once we set this up, and the
student started to move, she became temporarily overwhelmed by the
responsibility of simultaneously moving to make dance and moving to make
music. Dawn addressed this problem by helping the student to focus on her
movement first, and to let the sound that she produced with her movement
inform her movement choices. This helped tremendously but left me
thoughtful about what it means to be a mover and a controller of media
Dawn and I talked about it later, and this it is actually is something she
had herself experienced but not articulated previously. Part of the
problem, in her estimation, was that the music that the student was playing
was complex (pop music from a CD) and so the result was less clear than if
each movement triggered a single note or some other discrete event. We
realized that over the years we had made this progresion gradually, and
that we had actually allowed the student to a go directly to a fairly high
level of complexity in terms of the sonic result that she was conjuring up.
Today we finish up with the student meetings and, during class, try out
everyone's project as it stands so far.
Mark Coniglio, Artistic Co-Director | email@example.com
Troika Ranch | http://www.art.net/~troika