November-December, 2019: Part of class -Designing Practices/Systems
Creative Experimentations (Ideations/ Iterations, forming new schemas, and making)
Ab, Gloria, Matt M., Syashi
This project was a part of the big exhibit which we did under the part of a big banner called FUTURESPECTIVE. We took the data - documents, images, diagrams etc. and converted it into reasonable good sounding music.
An encoded schema to sonify the process work throughout the semester. Ideas for dimensions of sound data can be mapped to: Key, Instrument, Volume, Tempo, Octave, Note lengths.
This was an experimental/experiential project so major chunk of this project was ideation- prototyping- iterations. This was a group project and I was involved in coding, ideation, and making music. The idea behind the project was to make music from process data. Usually process is something we value. It's not the end product but how you reached there. We wanted this to be interaction based where onlookers passing by could play and shape music but because of limited time and budget we couldn't do it.
We had almost 600+ documents, 200+ images collected from 24 class participants over 8- 10 weeks. Our class calendar/Hub was divided into sections from 1.0-6.0 which had further sections in them. So we made section-wise music. Important thing to note here is that creating music is different from creating sound. It was easy to create sound but coming up with a schema to create music required in depth brainstorming.
You can find the audio file here. It is only for section 1.0. Soundcloud wasn't letting me upload the whole big version.
Midi Layering Explained
The Idea and the Process
Explained very clearly through the diagram below. Ignore the joke about outsourcing work. It was designed by Ab(group mate).
- Sonify started off with wanting to do something with sound. The idea of having people participate somehow by hanging letters or objects that they could touch and then produce sound, something participatory.
- This changed into taking words from sentences and assigning codes to them as an example of how the system would work. Images and graphs were put onto a grid which would then be put into google Music lab to convert to sound.
- This then evolved into taking information from the semester and running it through a program to produce midi files and eventually music. Here we also had to figure out how to denote how students would be categorized for notes in order for the music to sound less like a jumbled mess and more like actual music. The how to explains the process pretty easily, but basically we took the numbers assigned to us in the start of the semester and used those as notes for students.
- Prompts for each section and Denise(professor) formed the middle and base music respectively. Students documents taken from the semester were put through the code to make a midi then imported into garageband to make music. The three kinds of midi files- prompts, Denise's words and student documents were clubbed according to the sections to form music.
The images shown below are picked out from the booklet we designed for the end of semester salon and it emcompasses my learnings throughout the semester. As I mentioned that this was an experimental project there was a big learning curve! From knowing nothing about how to make music to actually creating music in an automated fashion. It was fun and challenging.
Sonify- Raspberry Pi and the phone
This was another part of the sonify project which I was a part of- Harrison and I worked to install this old phone into the gallery. Inside the phone was this credit size computer which we connected to the dialpad of the phone. I coded and created the connections to make the phone work as we wanted it to.
The features that this phone has are:
- It rings every 30 mins and it looks like someone is calling.
- On picking up one can hear pre-recorded conversations. One can press keys on the dialpad and hear different conversations which are already placed on it. The conversations were excerpt from the workshops we did.
I know it sounds very simple and crude but to make this work it took a long time. Electronics is hit and trial mostly. Figuring out dial pad circuit took a lot of time because the last time I looked at a circuit was 5 years back!
September-December, 2019: Part of class -Designing Practices/Systems
How will the users passing through the gallery experience Futurespective? Ways we can create an experience for the passerby be it sound, visuals etc. How to design for the unknown?
What is it?
We(Class of 24) participated in convivium by the Design Inquiry. The topic of the convivium was Futurespective. We were asked to answer the question "What does it mean to rethink the past in the present in order to point to the future?" by writing a 500 word abstract. But that wasn't it. We took it some more steps further. We planned workshops, brainstormed on what the word "Futurespective" means. The work was done mostly in small groups or in larger groups.
The First Touch with Futurespective
We were immersed in a culture where making questions, ideas, and objects, using and inventing materials, and activating experience all served to define a form of critical thinking--albeit with one's hands--i.e. "critical making."The Art of Critical Making "shows you how context, materials, thought processes, and self-evaluation are applied in this educational environment to prepare creative individuals to produce dynamic, memorable, and meaningful works.
One of the workshops I individually designed and worked on was- Prayers to technology. I documented the process for the workshop and here is the link.
- Reflecting back and thinking about everything we did throughout this semester I learnt a very important lesson on embracing the future and not be afraid of the future. Technology is changing really fast and as designers we are expected to move with this technology. Adobe suite might change, new softwares may come but the tools that will remain and be our best friend would be adhocism, improv, what ifs, etc. Thinking of future can be stressful but when for a semester you think, make, love, and hate future. You are technically embracing it.
- Designers are supposed to be in close touch with newer technology coming up and what it can become. In the section 6.0, we were supposed to create a living interactive gallery with which people can interact with. This comes under experiential design.
- I have developed immense respect for developer of every electronic item around me. It wasn’t supposed to take so much time out of my life but it did. I am not sad about it because after 4 years I let go of my fear of electronic circuits and I will try to do more projects in future.
- There was no way the whole process could be automated because documents were not in the format that we wanted. They needed to be converted so there was this extra layer which I had to tackle.
- Limited time! I knew we wouldn’t be able to convert everything and do every single bit from the schema which we made- because for a good music, we would need to play around with what sounds the best. It is ideally a semester long project which we did in 2 weeks. Very honestly we managed to convert only till 2.0.
- We didn’t do a very important part of the project which was making it interactive! I realized it but it was too late! And it was only Ab and I who were to finish it.
- When you are doing both coding and design. One of it is going to suffer. I have limited time and both take so much time. I am not a practicing coder so debugging consumes a lot of my time and the design part suffers.
- The library wordpos that we used has its own limitations because it is pre-fed with words, it can't recognize names which are supposed to be nouns. So the midi produced might not actually be accurate.
User Experience Design