Research Plan Abstract – Auditory Interfaces for Interactive Exploration


In my doctoral research I seek to find answers to the question what kind of sound and musical tools should be developed and implemented in order to design for aesthetic experiences. In particular, I study how components of aesthetic experience materialize in the models of procedural audio and generative music. I take a constructive research approach to the subject of the study, including theory and methods from computer science, sound art and pragmatist aesthetics.

The objective of this research is to come up with new tools for procedural sound design when aesthetic experience through generative sonic and musical structures is under study. The concrete objective of this study is to develop a modular programming library called ‘AIE-Studio’ (Auditory Interfaces for Exploration). These design tools offer a framework for a sound designer to work on a meta-level as she designs a sound system patching together the ‘AIE Modules’ composed of rules and algorithms. Also, she then conducts the concrete sound composition by exploring through parameter values used in the system. These software artefacts offer ways for better taking the aesthetic aspects into account when constructing interactive systems for everyday use. In particular, methodology and tools are studied in collaborative and playful audiovisual creation contexts. These contexts can be situated in shared public spaces and urban environments.

In this research aesthetic acceptance is studied in two ways, as follows: 1. the ‘AIE-Studio’ will be tested with professional sound designers and 2. the interactive systems employing artefacts created with the ‘AIE-Studio’ will be tested with end-users. For the first user group, the focus is on observing aesthetic acceptance regarding expressivity and creativity the ‘AIE-Studio’ enables. For the second user group, the aim is to capture the participants’ experiences of exploring the interaction space through sonic and musical feedback.

According to pragmatist aesthetics view it can be stated that the aesthetic experience emerges in the shared process between creators and users. I hypothesize that the aesthetics-oriented approach allows us to improve the way we design and build sound design tools and audio technologies for people’s personal, emotional and creative needs. In particular, I build upon the hypothesis that in creating novel sound design tools, the designer-user relationship essentially contributes to aesthetic experience. Therefore my contribution to academic discussion in the human computer interaction field lies in the possible benefits utilizing procedural sound when designing for aesthetic experiences.

Keywords: aesthetic experience, audiovisual media, embodied interaction, exploration, expression, generative music, procedural sound design, prototyping, sonic interaction design.

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