Presenting Instruments of Harmony

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We presented our concept for the first of our Instruments of Harmony series at the midterm review at CCA this weekend. I was happy to have Jon Sueda (chair), Randy Nakamura, Gustavo Fricke, and Monica Martinez there to critique my work, in addition to a huge supporting crowd of my classmates.

We presented my current project, which is to tell the story of cultures in conflict by sampling a sound from each culture, and then bringing those sounds into a relationship so that people can make music with them. The beauty of the accelerometer-based instruments is that the controls are extremely simple, so it does not take much time to learn the range of sounds that are possible. The tough part is playing nicely with another person, making joint musical decisions that satisfy both of you – this is the interpersonal harmony that my work is mainly interested in.

At a moment when a huge amount of creative energy and financial capital is flowing into the creation of the digital infrastructure that will mediate our day to day experiences, these instruments ask the question: How can we create digital experiences that create opportunities for social harmony? My argument is that experiences that allow multiple channels of physical communication to flow between people are better for us, socially. Many screen-based experiences restrict our ability to communicate clearly with one another.

Emma and I demonstrated some of the interactions that are possible between two people playing the accelerometer-based instruments. Eduardo Nauiack caught a bit of video – more to come soon.

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