With my newly revised concept, I finally felt the kind of enthusiasm that I was missing for my other three ideas. I now feel like I created the outlines of a new kind of playground that I can freely shape to my liking. In the following lines I will try to paint a picture of my vision from a visitors perspective of what I now call The Emotional Space.
Your experience starts in front of a door, or maybe just a very thick curtain hiding a door opening. You might hear the tame roaring of a subwoofer from the other side of it. Before you enter, you follow the friendly instructions and put one of the provided wristbands on. Not knowing what will wait for you behind the heavy curtain, you carefully pull it aside and squeeze by it into the room. You are immediately greeted by a dreamy light composition and an immersive and calm soundscape, creating a cozy atmosphere. You realize that there is nobody else in the room yet, which makes you feel at ease – a nice chance to explore the space by yourself. The room is not too big, you could probably fit around ten people in here comfortably. There are some cushioned furniture elements standing around, melting into the light composition, looking like design elements, but inviting to sit or lie on them at the same time. The sounds and lights are coming from all directions – there is no obvious front or back of the room and the curtain has vanished into the wall again.
My first meeting with my supervisor left me very inspired and motivated – I had the feeling to be able to explore almost any direction I wanted while still receiving full support. I communicated that the walking soundscape was definitely my favorite concept and in turn received some further input and keywords to look into.
One of those keywords was RjDj. The company Reality Jockey Ltd., which was founded in 2008, coined the term reactive music, which could be described as music that reacts to its listener or the environment in real time (Barnard et al., 2009). RjDj released a number of apps on iOS, which all seemed to be able to technically do exactly what I wanted to achieve with my walking scape – just in a much more broad sense. They built a framework based on Pure Data that allowed people to create music that reacts to a phone’s sensors. Basically anybody could create music (or “scenes” as they called it) for those apps, with the help of RjDj’s open source library rjlib. Unfortunately, neither the RjDj website, nor its apps are available anymore.
In my last post I wrote about the first two of the three concepts I came up with for my upcoming project. This post is solely dedicated to the third concept, which set the direction for the further course of my project development.
I play the drums and other percussion instruments, and as soon as I have any kind of a beat in my ear, I struggle to keep my body completely still. Sometimes my fingers drum against my thighs, at other times I just wiggle my toes within my shoes. Another one of those situations is when I am walking with my headphones on and align my steps to the beat. This sparked an idea in my head. What if it was the other way around? What if the music would align itself to the steps I take?