New Book: “A NIME Reader”

I am happy to announce that Springer has now released a book that I have been co-editing with Michael J. Lyons: “A NIME Reader: Fifteen Years of New Interfaces for Musical Expression“. From the book cover:

What is a musical instrument? What are the musical instruments of the future? This anthology presents thirty papers selected from the fifteen year long history of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME). NIME is a leading music technology conference, and an important venue for researchers and artists to present and discuss their explorations of musical instruments and technologies.

Each of the papers is followed by commentaries written by the original authors and by leading experts. The volume covers important developments in the field, including the earliest reports of instruments like the reacTable, Overtone Violin, Pebblebox, and Plank. There are also numerous papers presenting new development platforms and technologies, as well as critical reflections, theoretical analyses and artistic experiences.

The anthology is intended for newcomers who want to get an overview of recent advances in music technology. The historical traces, meta-discussions and reflections will also be of interest for longtime NIME participants. The book thus serves both as a survey of influential past work and as a starting point for new and exciting future developments.

The ebook (PDF/epub) is a free download for all institutions/libraries affiliated with Springer Link.

New paper: “NIMEhub: Toward a Repository for Sharing and Archiving Instrument Designs”

At NIME we have a large archive of the conference proceedings, but we do not (yet) have a proper repository for instrument designs. For that reason I took part in a workshop on Monday with the aim to lay the groundwork for a new repository:

NIMEhub: Toward a Repository for Sharing and Archiving Instrument Designs [PDF]

This workshop will explore the potential creation of a community database of digital musical instrument (DMI) designs. In other research communities, reproducible research practices are common, including open-source software, open datasets, established evaluation methods and community standards for research practice. NIME could benefit from similar practices, both to share ideas amongst geographically distant researchers and to maintain instrument designs after their first performances. However, the needs of NIME are different from other communities on account of NIME’s reliance on custom hardware designs and the interdependence of technology and arts practice. This half-day workshop will promote a community discussion of the potential benefits and challenges of a DMI repository and plan concrete steps toward its implementation.

Reference
McPherson, A. P., Berdahl, E., Lyons, M. J., Jensenius, A. R., Bukvic, I. I., & Knudsen, A. (2016). NIMEhub: Toward a Repository for Sharing and Archiving Instrument Designs. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression. Brisbane.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{mcpherson_nimehub:_2016,
    address = {Brisbane},
    title = {{NIMEhub}: {Toward} a {Repository} for {Sharing} and {Archiving} {Instrument} {Designs}},
    abstract = {This workshop will explore the potential creation of a community database of digital musical instrument (DMI) designs. In other research communities, reproducible research practices are common, including open-source software, open datasets, established evaluation methods and community standards for research practice. NIME could benefit from similar practices, both to share ideas amongst geographically distant researchers and to maintain instrument designs after their first performances. However, the needs of NIME are different from other communities on account of NIME's reliance on custom hardware designs and the interdependence of technology and arts practice. This half-day workshop will promote a community discussion of the potential benefits and challenges of a DMI repository and plan concrete steps toward its implementation.},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the {International} {Conference} on {New} {Interfaces} {For} {Musical} {Expression}},
    author = {McPherson, Andrew P. and Berdahl, Edgar and Lyons, Michael J. and Jensenius, Alexander Refsum and Bukvic, Ivica Ico and Knudsen, Arve},
    year = {2016},
    file = {McPherson_et_al_2016_NIMEhub.pdf:/home/alexarje/Dropbox/Reference/Zotero/McPherson et al/McPherson_et_al_2016_NIMEhub.pdf:application/pdf}
}

New NIME paper: “Trends at NIME – Reflections on Editing ‘A NIME Reader'”

Michael J. Lyons and myself have been working on an edited collection of papers from the NIME conference over the last year, and we presented some reflections on this work at NIME yesterday.

Trends at NIME – Reflections on Editing “A NIME Reader” [PDF]

This paper provides an overview of the process of editing the forthcoming anthology “A NIME Reader—Fifteen years of New Interfaces for Musical Expression.” The selection process is presented, and we reflect on some of the trends we have observed in re-discovering the collection of more than 1200 NIME papers published throughout the 15 yearlong history of the conference. An anthology is necessarily selective, and ours is no exception. As we present in this paper, the aim has been to represent the wide range of artistic, scientific, and technological approaches that characterize the NIME conference. The anthology also includes critical discourse, and through acknowledgment of the strengths and weaknesses of the NIME community, we propose activities that could further diversify and strengthen the field.

Here are slides from the presentation, including a nice word-cloud made from the content of the book.

Reference
Jensenius, A. R., & Lyons, M. J. (2016). Trends at NIME – Reflections on Editing “A NIME Reader.” In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression (pp. 439-443). Brisbane.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{jensenius_trends_2016,
    address = {Brisbane},
    title = {Trends at {NIME} - {Reflections} on {Editing} "{A} {NIME} {Reader}"},
    abstract = {This paper provides an overview of the process of editing the forthcoming anthology "A NIME Reader---Fifteen years of New Interfaces for Musical Expression". The selection process is presented, and we reflect on some of the trends we have observed in re-discovering the collection of more than 1200 NIME papers published throughout the 15 yearlong history of the conference. An anthology is necessarily selective, and ours is no exception. As we present in this paper, the aim has been to  represent the wide range of artistic, scientific, and technological approaches that characterize the NIME conference. The anthology also includes critical discourse, and through acknowledgment of the strengths and weaknesses of the NIME community, we propose activities that could further diversify and strengthen the field.},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the {International} {Conference} on {New} {Interfaces} {For} {Musical} {Expression}},
    author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum and Lyons, Michael J.},
    year = {2016},
    pages = {439--443}
}

 

New publication: “To Gesture or Not” (NIME 2014)

This week I am participating at the NIME conference, organised at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am doing some administrative work as chair of the NIME steering committee, and I am also happy to present a paper tomorrow:

Title
To Gesture or Not? An Analysis of Terminology in NIME Proceedings 2001–2013

Links
Paper (PDF)
Presentation (HTML)
Spreadsheet with summary of data (ODS)
OSX shell script used for analysis

Abstract
The term ‘gesture’ has represented a buzzword in the NIME community since the beginning of its conference series. But how often is it actually used, what is it used to describe, and how does its usage here differ from its usage in other fields of study? This paper presents a linguistic analysis of the motion-related terminology used in all of the papers published in the NIME conference proceedings to date (2001– 2013). The results show that ‘gesture’ is in fact used in 62 % of all NIME papers, which is a significantly higher percentage than in other music conferences (ICMC and SMC), and much more frequently than it is used in the HCI and biomechanics communities. The results from a collocation analysis support the claim that ‘gesture’ is used broadly in the NIME community, and indicate that it ranges from the description of concrete human motion and system control to quite metaphorical applications.

Reference
Jensenius, A. R. (2014). To gesture or not? An analysis of terminology in NIME proceedings 2001–2013. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression, pages 217–220, London.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Jensenius:2014c,
    Address = {London},
    Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
    Booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression},
    Pages = {217--220},
    Title = {To Gesture or Not? {A}n Analysis of Terminology in {NIME} Proceedings 2001--2013},
    Year = {2014}}

Documentation of the NIME project at Norwegian Academy of Music

From 2007 to 2011 I had a part-time research position at the Norwegian Academy of Music in a project called New Instruments for Musical Exploration, and with the acronym NIME. This project was also the reason why I ended up organising the NIME conference in Oslo in 2011.

The NIME project focused on creating an environment for musical innovation at the Norwegian Academy of Music, through exploring the design of new physical and electronic instruments. We were three people involved in the project, percussionist/electro-improviser Kjell Tore Innervik, composer Ivar Frounberg, and myself, and we had a great time together in creating and performing with a number of different new instruments.

A slogan for the project was to create instrument “for the many and for the few”. The “for the many” part we approached through the creation of Oslo Laptop Orchestra and Oslo Mobile Orchestra, and the creation of a series of music balls. The “for the few” part was more specifically targeted at creating specific instruments for professional musicians. Some of these were glass instruments, and here we also did some historic and analytic studies that were presented at NIME 2010.

As an artistic research project we were also careful about documenting all the processes we were involved in, and we also ended up creating a final series of video documentaries reflecting on the process and the artistic outcomes. Kjell Tore has written more about all of this on his own web page. Here I would like to mention three short documentaries we created, reflecting on the roles of technologist, performer, and composer in the project. Creating these documentaries was in itself an interesting exercise. As an academic researcher, I am used to writing formal research papers about my findings. However, as artistic researchers in the NIME project, we all felt that a more discussion-based reflection was more suitable. The documentaries are, unfortunately, only in Norwegian, but we hope to be able to include subtitles in English at some point.