- PhD Creative Music Technology
- Bath-Spa University, UK
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interactive Transformation of Dance Movements into Spatial Sound Creation
"A dancer is a 4-dimensional dynamic being, not merely a moving machine. Spatial digital sound is an aural dimension created out of digital silence. The artist-technologist is the motion-audio translator in the rhythm-time-space domain." (Stan Wijnans 2007)
In dance performance sound still tends to be seen as mainly a "time-rhythm" medium with space as an unobserved and therefore insignificant element of the sound. However, experimentations with the spatial, and thus choreographic elements of sound, have been undertaken by numerous composers and instrumentalists (Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage, Eno etc) in the past.
My artistic practice investigates the creation of a four dimensional1 rhythm-time-space environment in which the spatiality of dance movements will be transformed into a 3D spatial digital sound composition. To achieve this I use wireless electronic tracking systems, interactive ambisonic2 surround sound and the visual programming environment Max/MSP/Jitter3. A ChoreoSonic4 entity within a spherical geometric environment is created emphasizing a virtual spatial sound body outside the dancing body.
"Logic brings you from A to B, imagination brings you anywhere"
"Mapping" is a general term used to describe the relationship between derived computer data and the (human) artistic output (F.E. Wanderley 2001, Mandoux & Wohlthat 2004). Computer programmers and electronic engineers in the dance and technology field are still trying to find new mathematical algorithms and more reliable wireless technology. In this way they aim to improve the logistics of the human-machine relationship. However the burning artistic question remains: what is beyond mapping the still erratic bits and bytes, how can we avoid turning the human body into a moving machine whilst at the same time precluding the spatial environment or the performative human atmosphere?DIM4 Methodology
Starting with the above outlined questions I have developed a Digital Interpretation Methodology (DIM) to try to achieve an aesthetic conceptualization within the visual and auditory artistic domain. I firstly developed an interactive synthesizer in Max/MSP to give the dancers the freedom to design the compositional digital sounds with their movements. Secondly they also triggered voice samples to add a more organic and contrasting sound source. My role as the sonic composer is to try to influence these basic relational mappings of the choreographic and sonic parameters. I therefore designed the DIM ChoreoSonic environment and brought it into the fourth dimension (fig1).Spatiality in the fourth dimension
We have to take in account that movements in a ChoreoSonic space are experienced differently when we look from the outside as a viewer than when felt from the inside by a dancer. Spatial surround sound experienced by the listener is in the same way different from the perception of the dancer who is actually directing the visible and audible movements in space. A synchronicity between the spatial experience in dance movement and 3D sound perception can be described within the geometry and boundary of both elements (fig2).
In my artistic practice I try to combine this perceptual spatial observation with the generated digital movement data errors (bits and bytes) to compose an imaginative ChoreoSonic performance environment.Footnotes
- (1)In my artistic practice space and time belong to the 4th dimension
- (2)A term coined by Dr. S. Rubidge during a research collaboration with the author in 2005
- (4)A new term as defined by the author in her (unfinished) PhD thesis
- Blauert, J. (1997). Spatial Hearing The Psychophysics of Human Sound Localization (rev. ed.). The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England.
- Laban in Ullmann, L. ed. (1966). Choreutics. London, MacDonald and Evans.
- Mandoux, F. & Wohlthat, S. (2004). "Musical Communication and Music Technology, Design of a HCI for Skipproof" [online] available from: http://www.speech.kth.se/~hansen/files/Mandoux_Wohlthat_report.pdf [accessed 03.04.2007].
- Wanderley, M. (2001). "Performer-Instrument Interaction: Applications to Gestural Control of Sound Synthesis", PhD thesis, University Paris, France.
Stan Wijnans Bio
Stan Wijnans is an interactive digital sonic artist, interactive performance developer and MAX/MSP/Jitter programmer. Her main interest is the creation of realtime digital sound transformations created by interactive live action. Her latest work entails the interactive dance- and sound performance "Frozen White" and collaborations with robotics artist Stelarc and choreographers Sophia Lycouris, Isabel Rocamora and Sarah Rubidge amongst others. She holds an MA in interactive robotics and sound performance, and received a full fee PhD bursary in 2004 to investigate the practical and theoretical potential of mapping parameters from spatial body movement into an interactive 3D-surround sound composition.