Jamie Thomas – The Karman Cube

Introduction

Many hardware and software solutions exist for musical interaction within computer based music production and performance, providing the user with more intuitive control and more expressive performance capabilities than the standard interfacing model of mouse and keyboard. A surge in inexpensive electronic devices, and continued research and development into new communication possibilities within human-computer interaction (HCI) are opening up new research possibilities for musical interaction within system design and instrumentation. Hardware interfaces and peripherals are physical tools and are ‘focused and definite’ (Rokeby, Link,) in their mode of operation, the interest of this paper is to outline an immersive intangible interface which addresses these problems. The main body of investigation concerns removing the physicality of objects usually found between user and outcome, and with this, creating a stronger sensation of embodiment within a system.

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Visitors to an installation interact with Golan Levin's Interstital Fragment Processor

The purpose of this research document is to explore and explain the unique affordances of intuitive intangible systems within musical interaction, concentrating on the relationships that are formed between man and machine through the simultaneous interaction and reaction of the system and user. This form of feedback interaction results in a loop where by the output effects the input, and the input the output at the same time. Immersion during interaction will also be discussed in relevance to these systems along with the implications of non-reflective interaction when dealing with interactivity as content. This will be dealt with through a phenomenological perspective on ‘being-in-the-world’ by interacting with ‘tools’ that are present-at-hand and become invisible to their user due to the altered focus of thinking and doing.

The reason for research and investigation into this area is to promote play by freeing the performer/user from the computer screen, and of any wearable technology that may distract or hinder the final outcome. This also directing attention away from the eye, the more dominant sense in favor of the ear in order to gain a more intuitive system for composition. This is also serving as a feed for the information gathered into a practical application, as will be demonstrated throughout the second chapter.

The first chapter will discuss the technological implications of the project, moving on to other artists working with the technology and the methodologies involved. Following this in the second chapter a number of videos demonstrating development are presented and prototypes of the software are available for download. The third chapter will discuss possible market revenue through development, funding and application. A conclusion of sorts will follow, that discusses the questions and problems raised throughout, and the direction that the research will take on in order to progress with the project.

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