LO.22 Interpret a brief and deliver a product to a clients specification

AUS230 – Audio Studio 3 – Recycled Music

The concept of recycling and remixing, I believe go hand in hand.  I believe the concept of recycling is an important idea and learning tool for contemporary society. The scope of my project delivery is an interactive sound design for an installation that is entirely made from recycled materials. The aim is to display the installation as an interactive installation that promotes and transforms the audience’s appreciation of sound and recycling. What technologies can be implemented to create an intuitive interface?  The aim is to display the installation as an interactive installation that promotes and transforms the audience’s appreciation of sound and recycling through an electronic user interface and sound.

Regardless of what country one lives in, recycling as a concept can work in many different ways and forms. The objective of this art sound installation is to engage the audience with the intent to portray the valuable concept and diversity of recycling materials with the senses. The influence for choosing this project stems from coming upon an interesting and uplifting article titled “Recycled Orchestra turns trash into music and despair into hope in Paraguayan slums” http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/landfill-harmonic-turns-trash-music-their-recycled-orchestra.html and also watching the teaser to “Landfill Harmonics” – 

On reflecting upon the given brief  and contemplating what it all means, “This project aims to appeal to students who have a bit of background or have an affinity towards producing interactive installations with a focus on sound.”  Well not that i have an affinity for sound installations, i do have an interest and technical skills that align with the ‘incorporation of interactive technologies to create an immersive listening environment.  The skills I have relate to this project in many senses, which is why i decided to take that leap of faith and attempt to deliver it all in a limited amount of time. So what does all this mean to you? well probably not much at the moment, so allow me to explain further. From the inspiration and impulse to create something like an installation that shows technical and creative excellence, I have decided to build an immersive environment from recycled materials and position and calibrate speakers into it to create an immersive listening environment (i.e A hexagonal sphere).  I will be converting old recyclable materials (i.e industrial pallets, electrical conduits, stainless steel pipes, hard wood off cuts, beer bottle tops, curtain rods, trampoline frame and american pennies) to create some harmonic instruments to be recorded in a studio and then mastered into a musical composition and then connected to a hexagonal pod interface.   From there, I have decided, and after considerable research, pondering and consideration of the brief where technologies (like the makey makey) can be implemented to create an intuitive interface? So I proceeded to look into interface technologies and came across the makey makey..thanks to some powwow with my facilitator. 

Hmmmmm!  So What is an intuitive interface? “What objective qualities make a user interface intuitive? How is intuitive defined in terms of UI? Are there any studies about what objective and measurable qualities make a user interface intuitive? What design principles, patterns, or approaches are most likely to produce a UI that is considered intuitive?

Good question. Wikipedia lists intuition as “thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection” – so basically, saying a UI is intuitive is like saying it exhibits several positive attributes: it’s memorable, discoverable, easy to learn, familiar, matches expectation, and so forth. But let’s not take my word for it. Let’s refer to the experts!

  • Jef Raskin wrote the definitive article about intuitive interfaces in 1994. In it, he inspects several quotes discussing intuitive interfaces or intuition, and remarks on what they implied. “When the tools had been learned, […] they became intuitive. This is a strong clue as to the meaning of ‘intuitive’,” he says about the author of a review he read (and then proceeds to reference Star Trek IV). Later, he concludes that “‘intuitive’ in [a certain] context is an almost exact synonym of ‘familiar'”. And finally, he arrives at a definition: “Intuitive = uses readily transferred, existing skills.”
  • Jared Spool also wrote about intuitive interfaces in an article in 2005 called “What makes a design seem ‘intuitive’?“. One interesting thing he points out is that “interfaces can’t be intuitive, since they are the behavior side of programs and programs can’t Intuit anything. When someone is asking for an intuitive interface, what they are really asking for is an interface that they, themselves, can intuit easily.” Afterwards, he introduces the concept of the Knowledge Gap, which is the difference between what the user knows and what the user needs to know in order to understand how to use the software:The Knowledge Gap
  • An intuitive interface, he argues, will bridge that gap. He identifies two separate conditions for intuitive interfaces. In the first case, the knowledge gap doesn’t exist because the user already possesses all the knowledge required to use the interface. In the second case, the user doesn’t notice the knowledge gap since the software is training them to use it.Finally, he suggests what is needed to design an intuitive interface: “What do users already know and what do they need to know? To build intuitive interfaces, answering these two questions is critical.” For the first, he recommends field studies and for the second, he recommends usability testing.
  • In psychology, the Exposure effect “is a phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them”. This phenomenon was first researched in 1876 by Gustav Fechner and likely has a large impact on how people perceive interfaces from a familiarity standpoint, which affects how they Intuit them.

Now moving on to describe my design and construction of the installation and instruments made from recycled materials. On reflection of the stages , I  put the stages of my design process in point form and later put some photos of the creative manual arts process in the tool shed.

  • Choice of instruments:
    •   Pan Pipes
    •   lager phone
    •   Cajon Drum
    •   Xylophone (one wooden and one stainless steel)

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/homemade-xylophone-zmaz81ndzraw.asp

Monkey stick-shaker-thingy also  known as a lagerphone

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Bottle_Cap_Stick_Shaker_Thing

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In the man-shed preparing some tools for the task ahead.

In the man-shed preparing some tools for the task ahead.

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Joining timber together with sash clamps and glue. Preparing xylophone

Joining timber together with sash clamps and glue. Preparing xylophone

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Cutting the stainless tube for the Xylophone

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Removing and filing the sharp edge of the tubes

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Preparing and cutting the timber frame for the steel tube rack.

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Measuring and aligning the steel tube for the base and rack

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Cutting the stainless steel tubes for the Xylophone

Testing the xylophone and adding a small feature (aluminium back plate) for greater sound reverberation when played

Preparing the electrical conduit and the pennies to create the tube for the panpipes instrument.

Preparing the electrical conduit and the pennies to create the tube for the panpipes instrument.

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Plaining some timber ready for instruments.

Plaining some timber ready for instruments.

Preparing the electrical conduit and the pennies to create the tube for the panpipes instrument.

Preparing the electrical conduit and the pennies to create the tube for the panpipes instrument.

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Glueing the panpipes together

Glueing the panpipes together

Putting the pan pipes together

Putting the pan pipes together

Glueing the panpipes together

Glueing the panpipes together

securing the panpipes with wool and strips of timber.

securing the panpipes with wool and strips of timber.

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Preparing the bottle tops for the lagerphone

Preparing the bottle tops for the lager-phone

Nailing bottle tops onto the old curtain rod for Monkey-stick-thing!

Nailing bottle tops onto the old curtain rod for Monkey-stick-thing!

Stages of design and implementation of project:

  •  Contact an experienced composer (Sam Mclean) and player of an instrument made from recycled instruments (i.e Milo tin Banjo)
  • Research and design the specifications of the traditional instruments chosen, that can be made easily at home in the tool shed.
  • Draw up plans  to follow and keep to dimensions
  • Begin collecting and sourcing materials for construction of instruments and for hexagonal sphere/ listening pod installation.
  • Begin initial measuring and construction of instruments.
  • Research design methods of Hexagon construction
  • Draw plans and measurements for the pod installation structure
  • Begin cutting, welding and construction of pod installation structure.
  • Install and wire the speakers ( 2. 6″x9″ speaker and 1. 12″subwoofer)
  • Install cushioned seat into installation
  • Install speakers (2. 6″X9″ speakers and 1. 12″Subwoofer into pod
  • Install interactive interface technologies (i.e. makeymakey) into the pod structure

Driving questions How do you use non-linear audio and interactivity to encourage continuous response from the audience? Firstly, what is linear and non-linear audio

Linear and Non-Linear Editing Systems

Working on a nonlinear editing system is like working with a sophisticated word processor. Using a computer screen and a mouse you can randomly cut and past segments and move them around until you are satisfied with the result.

Working on a linear editing system is a bit like using a typewriter to type a term paper; you need to assemble everything in the proper sequence as you go along. After it’s all on paper (or in this case recorded), adding, deleting or rearranging things can be a major problem.

With nonlinear editing the video and audio segments are not permanently recorded as you go along as they are in linear editing. The edit decisions exist in computer memory as a series of internal digital markers that tell the computer where to look for segments on the hard disk.

This means that at any point you can instantly check your work and make adjustments. It also means that you can easily (and seemingly endlessly!) experiment with audio and video possibilities. (taken from  http://www.cybercollege.com/tvp056.htm on 24/4/2015) 

How can you position and calibrate speakers to create an immersive listening environment? With the help of paying attention to lectures on surround sound I grasped a further understanding of speaker positioning and calibration in 5.1 surround.  I researched further and applied the knowledge to the sound installation, but that it is a storu in another blog related to the installation itself.

How do you use sound design in an installation environment to connect with the audience?  The aim of this brief was to make the installation as interactive with the audience as possible,  the seat, the laptop, the Ui- MakeiMakei, and the recycled instruments are all to be interlinked to the overall installation for a strong connection and interactivity with the audience.

An interactive sound design for an installation that is entirely made from recycled materials. The aim is to display the installation as an interactive installation that promotes and transforms the audience’s appreciation of sound and recycling.

What technologies can be implemented to create an intuitive interface?   Apart from the technologu and skills used to construct the installation, also the technologu used to record, mix down and master the audio recording of the instruments, there was to be an User Interface attached to the entire concept, this was the  MakeyMakey018

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I am intending to record samples of the instrument notes and frequencies and develop a sample/ audio assets library that can be used in conjunction with the entire Recycled Sound Installation, and allow the audience to interact with concept of recycled instruments and sound.

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Cutting the stainless steel tubes for the Xylophone

Cutting the stainless steel tubes for the Xylophone

After much thought and scheduling and work put in, i managed to book a studio session and with the help of some novice musicians like myself , my son and Ernie, we recorded the reccled instruments and made a fun experience of it all. 015
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With a strong determined work ethic, positive attitude, problem solving skills, self confidence, and working under pressure, I feel that I had delivered my interpretation of the brief to the best of creative ability , which in reflection, I believe,  was an enormous feat for someone who had been struck by the flu twice, had to work outside of college hours and raise and maintain a son and household all at the same time.
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