Enabling Expression Through Explorative Interaction
Enabling Expression ThroughExplorative InteractionIn search of an aesthetic (co)experience Matti Luhtala 24 August 2011 University of Tampere School of Information Sciences Unit for Computer-Human Interaction
AbstractIn my doctoral research I seek to find answers to the question of how interfaces making use ofexplorative interaction can be employed for enabling audio related expression by means of aes-thetic aspects of interaction. Also, in this research I study how explorative interaction can be de-signed and implemented in novel digital and digitally embedded physical interaction devices. Inthis context the explorative interaction paradigm can be described as a phenomenon in whichinteractive performance environment, arrangement of audio, visual and physical materials forma whole, presenting a subject matter as a focus for thought distinctively fused to emotional at-titude, and the exploration of materials, continue to be possible and valuable.The objective of this research is to come up with new collaborative design methods and tools forinteractive prototyping when audio related expression through explorative interaction is understudy. These design methods and tools offer a framework for co-design and artistic experimen-tation to build graspable and virtual interfaces for creating new ways of musical expression.In particular, methodology and tools are studied in playful, collaborative audiovisual creationand performance contexts. The concrete objective of this study is to produce a sketching toolkit, Interactive Props, for creating interactive devices and new ways of interaction. As a startingpoint for this study is a research case taking place in a Finnish research institution and targetinghuman and cultural wellbeing in a music therapy context. In continuation, also other contextssuch as shared public spaces, work environments and homes could be looked at.Today lo-fi co-design tools, techniques and methods are extensively being used to drive andinspire the design of interactive artifacts through a participatory approach. For example, LizSanders’s ample research has opened up new views to users’ experience, emotion, the situationof product use, and social and cultural influences. She has created the MakeTools prototypingkit for collaboratively envisioning new product features. It is known that lo-fi prototyping toolsfunction as props in the early phase of a design process in capturing features of a future productbecause of their familiarity, accessibility, malleability and openness for diverse interpretations.In this research I make use of flexible lo-fi prototypes as a starting point and continue their re-finement by adding more structured interactive components, such as sensors, actuators, micro-processors and real time data application programming interfaces (API’s), in order to target thespecific area of explorative and aesthetic interaction.I hypothesize that co-design methods utilizing both traditional props and interactive technolo-gies could bring new insight into the design and development of novel audiovisual performancedevices specifically enabling more immediate, direct and realistic feedback. Therefore my con-tribution to academic discussion in the Design Research and HCI field lay in the possible ben-efits of using interactive components together with traditional props in the co-design of newinteractive music performance tools.
Artistic StatementI envision the future of interactive performance tools from an aesthetical interactive experienceperspective where the user is seen as an improvisator and the interaction between the usersthrough the digital environment a situation of play. By means of the explorative technologies,the users are able to participate in various creative activities. Ideally the interaction situationwould be a shared performance space allowing the performers and spectators to enhance theireveryday life; to think, to design and to create, to experiment with new performance technolo-gies and to become stakeholders in art and design projects. They are able to create audiovisualcontent and inspire others to take part in collaborative composition processes in which the style,expression and rhetoric encounter, introducing an aesthetic (co)experience (figure ). Figure 1. Aesthetic Experience: encounter of the style, expression and rhetoric.In this context the explorative interaction paradigm can be described as a phenomenon in whichinteractive performance environment, arrangement of audio, visual and physical materials forma whole, presenting a subject matter as a focus for thought distinctively fused to emotional at-titude, and the exploration of materials, continue to be possible and valuable. As Monroe Beard-sley sums up the importance of art,“-- In aesthetic experience we have experience in which means and ends are so closely interrelatedthat we feel no separation between them. One thing leads to the next and finds its place in it; theend is immanent in the beginning and the beginning is carried up into the end. Such experience al-lows the least emptiness, monotony, frustration, lack of fulfillment, and despair -- the qualities thatcripple much of human life --”“We shall not cease from exploration”,1 T. S. Eliot wrote, in the effort freely to achieve a fullymeaningful human culture, beyond coercion and the drudgeries of repetition. I believe the pro-posed research and its outcomes support these goals. Ideally they allow the performers andspectators to enhance their everyday life; to think, to design and to create, to experiment withnew technology and to become stakeholders in art and design projects.() T. S. Eliot, ‘‘Little Gidding,” in Four Quartets, reprinted in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Abrams et al., vol. ii, p. 97.