The recent development of Web and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies —by offering easy access to and manipulation of technologies at both software and hardware— has opened new perspectives for researchers and artists working with distributed multimedia environments and collaborative interactions. Nevertheless, the inherent complexity of such distributed systems, in particular the need for real-time, synchronized, and multimodal interactions specific to music and the performing arts, raises new questions about the design of interactions that would enable these practitioners to use and, more importantly, to appropriate these technologies in a creative sense.
Given this context, the objectives of the Distributed Musical Things for Collective Interactions (DOTS) project are twofold: 1) To understand how our experimental system could better support creative, collaborative and multidisciplinary work in real-life situations, by re-questioning the impact of technologies in such tasks. In particular, our goal is to develop a methodological framework to facilitate the learning process of users and to support their appropriation of both technological and design aspects. 2) Develop a new version of our platform to create a coherent ecosystem of modular, portable, interoperable and low-cost tools (targeting both mobile and embedded platforms) dedicated to creative and musical applications, including educational ones. Taking into account the specificities related to continuous and synchronized multimodal interactions in distributed systems, our goal is to develop new tools and interfaces that support the creative work (e.g. immediate feedback, fast trial-and-error loops) of users with different backgrounds, skills and goals.
Based on the assumption that expert artistic practices provide us with an exemplary and challenging framework to address these research questions and propose innovative technologies, we will conduct this project using an action research methodology and drawing on the conceptual framework of meta-design. More precisely - in an interdisciplinary perspective centered on the practice mixing Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Sound and Music Computing, Design and Arts - we will implement an iterative and incremental methodology alternating phases of development and fieldwork conducted during artistic residencies and workshops in art schools and universities. Thus, we will both 1) develop new tools (software and hardware) that support appropriation and creative work within musical distributed systems, and 2) produce documented case studies that allow us to better understand how expert practitioners in the arts and music interact with and creatively appropriate technological tools. We also expect that the technologies and methodologies developed during the project will foster new experimental frameworks to support research in other fields such as education or wellness and healthcare.
IRCAM's Team : Sound Music Movement Interaction