Sharing a Taxi with Strangers in Northern Swedish Rurals – a Travel Report from Audiomostly 2013 Conference

I participated to Audiomostly this year. The conference took place at Acusticum and the Department of Music and Media Luleå University of Technology, in Piteå, Sweden in September 18 – 20, 2013. You may see more info of the conference from here.

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Keynotes

The conference started with a keynote by Karen Collins. In her keynote – The Revolution will Be Personalized: The Future of Interactive Audio – she discussed the possibilities of app/system personalization through sound and music in the context of game design. The practical outcome of her latest research is Veemix for Unity Game IDE. The Veemix is currently in beta state and it is available as a freeware through www.viimix.com.

The second day’s keynote was given by Frédéric Bevilacqua. His research interests extend towards New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME). In the keynote Bevilacqua presented various projects he has been involved while working at IRCAM. I really like the way he approaches designing NIME instruments by focusing on designing new ways of interaction. Also, the concepts are well defined and the conceptual videos are very polished. You may read more of his work from here.

Presenting the Paper

In the conference I presented our paper ‘AIE-Studio’ – a Pragmatist Aesthetic Approach for Procedural Sound Design [1]. The conference included one track and our paper was allocated in the Tools for Design and Presentation slot. You may look the presentation through the Prezi below.

Conference Presentation: ‘AIE-Studio’ – a Pragmatist Aesthetic Approach for Procedural Sound Design.

This was my first time I presented a conference a paper, thus it was pretty exiting. The best part of participating to a conference like Audiomostly is having an opportunity to meet similar minded people. The event offered a lot of possibilities to share and reflect ideas. A colleague of mine, Daniel Hug, provided a valid point regarding the research outcomes of our paper as quoted below.

“– How the Pragmatist Aesthetics approach is evident in your software? Further, how the design approach can be stretched to the software artefacts and media they produce? Later he grounded my research into practice by asking have you realized a requirement lists for your software – what it should do? –“

This is something I will really look into during the fall. In particular, I will go through the methodology that would be feasible for revealing aesthetic aspects already in the early phase of the software design and development. The challenging part will be how to realize those ideas through code. But my Ph.D would be ready now if I would know the answer : )

Sonic Interaction Design Workshop

The last day offered traditional Audiomostly workshop. This year the task was to sketch sounds for an office chair. The participants were divided into small groups. The groups had hour and half to invent a background story for the chair, design interactions, augment interactions with human sounds and finally present the outcomes to other teams. I think the results were kind of similar. This is perhaps due to limited interaction possibilities the physical chair affords. However, all the groups were able to find their own style and expression for producing soulful sounds for the chair. I find the design method feasible when struggling with lack of ideas. Perhaps the most challenging task is to choose right kind of sketching tools in order to create something meaningful and unique.

The Most Interesting Papers – My Choice

The conference had 13 presentations all in all. They all reflected phenomena of interaction with sound through various research disciplines, e.g. Art, Cognitive Psychology, Design, Engineering and HCI. My choice for three most interesting papers are as follows.

– Pires, D. et al. 2013. The Blindfold Soundscape Game: A Case for Participation-Centered Gameplay Experience Design and Evaluation. Audiomostly 2013, Luleå University of Technology, Piteå, Sweden.

– Fagerlönn, J. et al. 2013. An Auditory Display that Assist Commercial Drivers in Lane Changing Situations. Audiomostly 2013, Luleå University of Technology, Piteå, Sweden.

– Weinel, J. 2013. Visual Patterns of Hallucination as a Basis for Sonic Art. Audiomostly 2013, Luleå University of Technology, Piteå, Sweden.

At the time of writing the proceedings is not available. I will add the link soon.

This concludes my travel report. In sum, Audiomostly offers and excellent forum to meet people, show your best work and get feedback for it. This year the event was in Piteå, thus I was able to get acquainted to Northern Swedish traditions. For example, sharing taxi with strangers in rural dark lands is really an experiment. Also, I learned to enjoy my cup of tea with a spice of lemon (that might be more like English tradition though). Next year the conference will be held in Denmark, Aarhus. Let’s see what that might bring about.

[1] Luhtala, M, Turunen, M, Hakulinen, J & Keskinen, T. (2013). ‘AIE-Studio’ – a Pragmatist Aesthetic Approach for Procedural Sound Design. Audiomostly 2013, Luleå University of Technology, Piteå, Sweden.

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