A great place where I can explore the social dynamics involved in these experiences are the leisure activities we perform in our regular life, particularly the ones performed in collaboration, like dancing, practicing collective sports or playing board games. All of them have common dynamics that can be applied to my own project. These activities and their dynamics will be further investigated throughout my research process.
IN THE ART REALM
I find the work of David Rokeby very interesting and I feel it is relevant for my research. Rokeby is an artist that has explored the relationships between body, sound and physical space. Since the eighties he has developed a series of installations that make use of technology to convey these ideas. One of his most interesting pieces is Very Nervous System , an installation that uses computer vision to interpret body movements into sound, creating very complex and expressive compositions. My interest in his work relies on how he uses the body as an expressive controller. Additionally, the technical aspects of this project are relevant too. Using camera vision techniques is something I feel valuable to explore.
In contrast to my own exploration, Very Nervous System is meant only for one participant, and mainly for experts–although experts in this case would be dancers and not necessarily musicians, which is interesting too–. I also would like to differ from the experience mood he presents, I’m not interested in introspective interactions, because I feel that is not the most adequate mood that best suits a collaborative experience.
An inspiration from the realm of collaborative musical instruments is The Reactable , a tabletop synthesizer using physical objects as controllers. Although I’m sure is one of the most cited examples in these kind of research, a lot of that research con be incorporated to my own. In the Reactable project, the collaborative aspects are really well executed. The idea of a round table for instance, implies the idea of democracy, where all the participants have the same hierarchy.
Although the Reactable is pitched both as an instrument for novices and expert performers , it seemed to me–I had the chance to play it–that is more an instrument leaning towards expert performance. In the practice, the Reactable is not that easy to play o understand, and as any other traditional instrument, it requires considerable practice to be mastered. Also, the visual feedback is very seductive, making the participants be completely absorbed by the visual, not worrying too much about the human-to-human interaction.
I find the work of Theo Watson very inspiring. In particular the Vinyl Workout  and Audio Space installations. Both make a use of space and sound in interesting ways. What I find remarkable about Vinyl Workout is its simplicity. It consists on a vinyl record image projected on the floor. Users walk inside the projection in circles, making the vinyl spin and play songs in different speeds depending on how fast or slow participants walk. The beauty of the system is that although it requires a very simple gesture, it generates interesting and expressive interactions. Unlike Rokeby’s Very Nervous System, Audiospace uses the three dimensions of space, where sounds are mapped to specific locations in a room. As users walk around the room with a pair of headphones, they can hear the different sounds and perceive their virtual position, as if they were floating in space. Again, the mood of the experience is introspective and very personal (users wear headphones), which is not exactly what I’m looking for.
 “Very Nervous System,” David Rokeby, accessed September 20, 2011, http://homepage.mac.com/davidrokeby/vns.html
 “The Reactable”, Reactable Systems, accessed September 21, 2011, http://www.reactable.com
 Kaltenbrunner, M., Jordà, S., Geiger, G., and Alonso, M. The reacTable*: A Collaborative Musical Instrument. In Proceedings of WETICE. 2006, 406-411.
 “Vinyl Workout,” Theo Watson, accessed September 22, 2011, http://www.theowatson.com/site_docs/work.php?id=39
 “Audio Space,” Theo Watson, accessed September 22, 2011, http://www.theowatson.com/site_docs/work.php?id=15