Yesterday, I completed my 365 Sound Actions project, during which I recorded one sound action per day as part of preparing for the launch of my book Sound Actions. Today, on 1 January 2023, I start this year’s project: recording myself standing still 10 minutes every day. You can follow the progress on Mastodon.

Starting up AMBIENT

Although I am happy about completing my sound actions project, I have enjoyed the ritual of doing something every day. So I want to continue the tradition with a different project, and I have developed a concept that fits my current research interests. I am currently in the phase of starting up my AMBIENT project. The team is almost in place, and we have had many good initial discussions.

One of the aims of AMBIENT is to record bodily responses to audiovisual and spatiotemporal rhythms of indoor environments. Below is an illustration of how I think about the differences between such rhythms.

Illustration of rhythms

In the project, we will develop theories and conduct empirical studies of people in everyday environments. That requires quite some planning and ethical approvals. To jumpstart the project, I will start by recording my body motion and my experiences in various rooms I explore. Fortunately, this idea is compatible with my former research on human micromotion.

Completing Still Standing

I had planned to complete my new book, Still Standing, last summer. It is based on all the research I have done on human micromotion since 2010, first in the artistic research project Sverm and later in the scientific project MICRO. I wanted to complete the book before starting the AMBIENT project, but that didn’t happen. Still, I wrote quite a bit last year, and the new plan is to finish it next summer. Even though I could dream of spending time on book writing during the semesters, that is not realistic in combination with running a centre of excellence with 50+ employees and many students. Aiming for summer writing is a more pragmatic solution.

My year-long standstill project will hopefully motivate me to complete my book writing. It will also provide valuable data to complement the other datasets in Oslo Standstill Database. The database currently consists of data recorded with optical, infrared, marker-based motion capture systems. My aim now is to record sensor data from my mobile phone. For the MusicLab concert series, we have developed an app and a concept for hanging the phone on the chest of the person.

Phone with straps

This allows for capturing sensor information from multiple people in a structured manner. Through my still-standing project, I aim to see how such data collection works over a more extended period.

Person wearing phone on chest

The rules

I have devised some rules for the project:

  1. The recording should be of an approximately 10-minute long standstill session performed around noon every day throughout 2023
  2. Each recording should be in a new room
  3. Each recording will be based on portable technologies:
    • sensor information from my mobile phone (Samsung Galaxy Ultra S21)
    • pulse data from my sports watch (Polar Vantage V)
    • 360 video recording (GoPro Max)
    • ambisonics audio recording (Zoom HR3-VR)
  4. Each recording will begin and end with a clap to ensure synchronization and to measure the impulse response of the room
  5. Immediately after the recording, I will write down notes about my subjective experience of the session
  6. If interrupted, I will stop the recording, take a break and try again later

I will probably have to fine-tune the rules as I get more experience with the concept.

GoPro Max and Zoom recorder

An ambitious project

The project is ambitious! Doing something (anything) every single day for a year is challenging. There is also a risk of doing this in the middle of the day. My workdays are often filled with meetings, and my spare time is with outdoor activities. That is also one of the reasons that taking a 10-minute standstill break can be rewarding, and it can remind me about focusing on breathing and the surroundings. Not least, the project will provide me with valuable data for both my Still Standing book and the AMBIENT project.

Interested in how it goes? Check the progress on Mastodon.