TAKING SOUNDINGS A COMPOSERS` INVESTIGATIONS INTO TECHNOLOGIES OF NAVIGATION

3 03 2009

By YOLANDE HARRIS

Taking Soundings places musical composition and sound art in a space of navigation and landscape. It suggests that technologies of navigation contribute to forming our relationship to the natural environment. Through the media of sound, moving image and space, the research contemplates the artistic implications of navigation through a technological position of motion, instability and noise. This empirical approach highlights the contrasts between a bodily experience of a physical environment and technologies of invisibility and intangibility. Sound, in the meeting of its physical and musical guises, is the primary catalyst.

As a composer I advocate that musical composition can benefit from stepping outside its own formal systems in order to investigate how sound can operate within the larger context of image and space. Beginning with the musical score, which does not contain sound but encodes potential interpretations by a performer within its notation, I use this interpretative gap between image and sound to drastically expand the idea of the score. Building on my other formal training in architecture and moving image, I initially looked into sound in relation to landscape and new technologies, then focused on navigation techniques. Much like a score, these presented spatial and temporal concepts with a direct physical relationship to the person navigating. It also created a discourse around the map, chart, trace and the various levels of notated or linear images in relation to the environment.In attempting to chart as carefully as I can an illusive area between sound, image and space as we actively make it, or physically compose it, I take on the complex influences of technologies.

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“SPACE DANCE IN THE TUBE, EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESSION” – HOW TO GET BACK THE KINETIC SENSE, HOW TO EXPRESS THE UNITY IN THE SPACE

2 03 2009

By FUKUHARA TETSURO

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“Space Dance in the Tube” is an exhibition, a workshop, and a performance with a new communication based on the whole body to get an awareness about the familiar relationship between the body and the space.. Now we have 6 spaces for this project using by 6 tubes, “Space for Balance”, “Space for Darkness”, “Space for Light”, “Space for Play Tag”, “Space for Posture”, and “Space for Real & Virtual.” We think that this project is very useful for scientific education, communication, experience of art & science, new experience of rehabilitation, developing a health.

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Yuichi Takayanagi, Director of Tama Science Museum, Ex-Commentator of NHK TV

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MEDIATED PERCEPTION: TOWARDS AN EXPERIENCE OF EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS

2 03 2009

By TED KRUEGER

At a NASA sponsored conference on Human Systems I reminded the audience of the impact that a photo of the earthrise over a moonscape had on the perception of our planetary condition. The making of this image marked an important moment in the history of human experience. I suggested that a similar event may mark the first voyage to Mars when the blue planet fades into the background of stars before the red one becomes prominent. The sense of profound isolation may not be pleasant but should make for an interesting moment of reflection. One similar to, but I expect orders of magnitude greater than, when mariners first ventured out of sight of land. These experiences have value to our culture in that they shape our understanding of ourselves. Much of what can be learned about extreme environments will be in the form of data, measurements that we can compare to others that we have made in order to shape an understanding of the new in relation to the known. Some have suggested that extreme environments such as those found in extraterrestrial, undersea or polar environments require interrogation by robotic and remote sensing techniques rather than by human exploration and habitation. While these techniques are capable of providing representations that can be understood intellectually, they are incapable of providing a direct experience. Others argue that human beings are the most robust and versatile autonomous control systems available and must be included on missions for that reason. But beyond functionality and instrumentality, arguments that will be continuously eroded by technological innovation in any case, I argue for the irreplaceability of human presence in extreme environments on the grounds of human experience.

However, there is a contradiction here. Extreme environments, as noted by Louis Bec (2007) , do not exist a priori but depend upon the relationship between an environment and the organism in question. We count those as extreme that are hostile to life and are able to venture into them only by virtue of our technological interventions. We participate to the extent that we can remain within a protective technological bubble. These technologies reduce or eliminate the experience of the extreme conditions even as they protect the organism from it. But, can technologies be developed to open extreme environments to experience rather than shielding us from them? I believe that prototype devices have already been developed that show how this can be accomplished. Perceptual prostheses of the kind described here will enable the direct perception of hostile conditions from with in the technological womb. While humans are physiologically capable of experiencing many salient features of their terrestrial environment, this may not be the case for extreme and alien environments. These environments may require the immediate awareness of other spectra or conditions by means of technologically mediated perception. Prosthetic perception may become a key enabling technology for the habitation of extreme conditions in addition to providing the principle justification for a human presence in them.

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DRESS FOR STRESS WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AND THE SOCIAL BODY

2 03 2009

By SUSAN ELIZABETH RYAN

This paper considers the work of artists, designers, and activists who, since the 1990s, have worked with body covering as survival mechanism and social tool. Individually or within collectives, they call their work art, design, or activism; or all three. The result is a “body of records” of technological, biological, and performable wearables that have not received the attention they deserve, both as art and design, and as vehicles for ideas about threats to species survival and collective experience.

For example, in the early 1990s artists created wearable artworks in the form of survival attire embedded in localized performative events concerned with social connection under adverse circumstances. Lucy Orta is prominent among such practitioners, who formulate clothing the body as critical, social, and ethical practice within an ambient “culture of fear.” (Fig. 1).

1 Fig. 1) Lucy Orta, Nexus Architecture x 50: Intervention Köln 2001.

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THE CASE STUDY OF AN APPLICATION OF THE SYSTEM, ‘ BODYSUIT ‘ AND ’ROBOTICMUSIC’ – ITS INTRODUCTION AND AESTHETICS

2 03 2009

By SUGURU GOTO

ABSTRACT

This paper is intended to introduce the system, which combines “BodySuit” and “RoboticMusic,” as well as its possibilities and its uses in an artistic application. “BodySuit” refers to a gesture controller in a Data Suit type. “RoboticMusic” refers to percussion robots, which are applied to a humanoid robot type. In this paper, I will discuss their aesthetics and the concept, as well as the idea of the “Extended Body”.

INTRODUCTION

The system, which I introduce in this paper contains both a gesture controller and automated mechanical instruments at the same time. In this system, the Data Suit, “BodySuit” controls the Percussion Robots, “RoboticMusic” in real time. “BodySuit” doesn’t contain a hand-held controller. A performer, for example a dancer wears a suit. Gestures are transformed into electronic signals by sensors. “RoboticMusic” contains 5 robots that play different sorts of percussion instruments. The movement of the robots is based upon the gestures of the percussionist.

Working together with “BodySuit” and “RoboticMusic,” the idea behind the system is that a human body is augmented by electronic signals in order to be able to perform musical instruments interactively. This system was originally conceived in an art project to realize a performance/musical theater composition.

This paper is intended to introduce this system as well as the possibilities from my experiences in an artistic application.

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EXTERNALISING OUR BODY: DEVICE ART AND ITS EXPERIMENTAL NATURE

24 02 2009

By MACHIKO KUSAHARA

WHAT IS DEVICE ART

Device Art is a concept proposed by a group of artists, researchers and engineers in Japan, who currently carry a collaborative project under the same title. Project members have been involved in the field of media art for many years. Device Art is a concept derived from recent digital media art scene in Japan. Using both latest and everyday technologies and material, these media art works enable users/viewers/interactors to enjoy and understand what media technologies mean to us. In Device Art, an artwork is realized in a form of device, the device becoming the content itself. There is a sense of playfulness or sense of wonder in Device Art work – even if it involves a serious theme – which makes it possible to be shown or commercialized outside museums and galleries. The concept reflects Japanese cultural tradition in many ways, including appreciation of refined tools and materials, love for technology, acceptance of playfulness, absence of clear border between art, design and entertainment, among other issues. At the same time it shares an ongoing international interest in bridging between art, design and other related areas. Device Art seeks after a new paradigm in art, by producing artworks based on creative use of hardware technologies and opening a channel to make them more accessible to everyone. Through these activities Device Art questions the validity of traditional boundaries between art, design, entertainment, technology, and commercial products. 1

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GESTALT BIOMETRICS

21 02 2009

By HANNAH DRAYSON

Technology is not demonic, but its essence is mysterious.”
Martin Heidegger.

This paper forms part of an ongoing project, the aim of which is to incorporate physiological sensing technologies (1) into consciousness studies and creative technologies.
Physiological sensor technologies are tools that allow their users to magnify, focus upon and amplify certain aspects of human bodily function. Whilst these technologies find application in a range of domains, predominantly, their use is informed by biomedical science and medical practice.
These fields (2) incorporate a model of the human subject (Samson, 1999) which is unsuitable paradigmatically for the purposes of this work. Instruments such as the electrocardiograph and plethysmograph as tools of western bioscientific medicine may therefore also be seen to embody certain attitudes towards the human subject.
Physiological sensors have much to offer for the exploration of the reality of the human body, experience and consciousness, and also applications in the arts (Rosenboom, 1976), (Brouse et al, 2006). Applications such as biofeedback offer the subject an opportunity to experience the body in new ways or enhance perception. However, a disparity arises when phenomenological engagement with bodily experience is then mediated by medical instrumentation if it embodies a biomedical discourse which has been criticised for its exclusion of the human subject. To proceed, this paper aims to clarify the nature of this mediation by examining relevant critiques of biomedical models of the subject and their relation to instrumental technologies, suggesting possible solutions to explore in further work.

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