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Thawing colours: dangling from the fuzzy end of interfaces

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysicality 2012 - Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Physicality
EditorsDevina Ramduny-Ellis, Alan Dix, Steve Gill
PublisherBritish Informatics Society Limited
Pages33-37
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2012

Abstract

In this paper we present Thawing Colours, a tactile, visual and
sonic installation, which uses suspended spheres of melting ice
to paint on surfaces, woollen strings to provide a means of
interaction, and concatenative synthesis–the stitching together
of many small fragments of sound–to provide a digitally
mediated response to motion and vibration by resynthesizing
the input sound using a corpus of pre-prepared sounds. In one
sense, it is an evolving, site-specific physical installation, a
painter or designer that produces images over the course of
several days. With some intellectual license, it can be taken as a
naturalistic interface for querying a database of sounds, or as a
particularly large and unwieldy musical instrument. It is
literally a fuzzy interface, with boundaries extending out
through the fibres of the woollen strands used to attach
coloured balls of ice, and through the supporting cables into the
foundations of the building, and through the fingers, palms, and
bodies of the participants. We argue that there is a niche for
interfaces that are whimsical, ludic and exploratory, and that as
part of exploring this niche, we can take an ecosystemic view
on interfaces: embracing their physical properties, their
situation in an environment, and the byproducts and feedbacks
therein.

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