Category Archives: Conferences

Summaries of, and thoughts about, conferences and seminars I attend.

Musikkteknologidagene 2012

Keynote
Alexander holding a keynote lecture at Musikkteknologidagene 2012 (Photo: Nathan Wolek).

Last week I held a keynote lecture at the Norwegian music technology conference Musikkteknologidagene, by (and at) the Norwegian Academy of Music and NOTAM. The talk was titled: “Embodying the human body in music technology”, and was an attempt at explaining why I believe we need to put more emphasis on human-friendly technologies, and why the field of music cognition is very much connected to that of music technology. I got a comment that it would have been better to exchange “embodying” with “embedding” in my title, and I totally agree. So now I already have a title for my next talk!

Sverm demo
One of the “pieces” we did for the Sverm demo at Musikkteknologidagene 2012: three performers standing still and controlling a sine tone each based on their micromovements.

Besides my talk, we also did a small performance of parts of the Sverm project that I am working on together with an interdisciplinary group of sound, movement and light artists. We showed three parts: (1) very slow movement with changing lights (2) sonification of the micromovements of people standing still (3) micromovement interaction with granular synthesis. This showcase was based on the work we have done since the last performance and seminar.

Besides the things I was involved in myself during Musikkteknologidagene, I was very happy about being “back” at the conference after a couple of years of “absence” (I had enough with organising NIME last year). It is great to find that the conference is still alive and manages to gather people doing interesting stuff in and with music technology in Norway.

Sverm talking
Alexander talking about the Sverm project and fourMs motion capture lab at Musikkteknologidagene 2012 (Photo: Nathan Wolek).

When I started up the conference series back in 2005, the idea was to create a meeting place for music technology people in Norway. Fortunately, NOTAM has taken on the responsibility of finding and supporting local organisers that can host it every year. So far it has been bouncing back and forth between Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen, and I think it is now time that it moves on to Kristiansand, Tromsø and Stavanger. All these cities now have small active music technology communities, and some very interesting festivals (Punkt, Insomnia, Numusic) that it could be connected to.

As expected, the number of people attending the conference has been going up and down over the years. In general I find that it is always difficult to get people from Oslo to attend, something that I find slightly embarassing, but which can probably be explained by the overwhelming amount of interesting things happening in this comparably little capital at any point in time.

Snow
We had the first snow this year during Musikkteknologidagene, a good time to stay indoors at NOTAM listening to presentations.

The first years of Musikkteknologidagene we mainly spent on informing each other of what we are all doing, really just getting to know each other. Over the years the focus has been shifted more towards “real” presentations, and all the presentations I heard this year were very interesting and inspiring. This is a good sign that the field of music technology has matured in Norway. Several institutions have been able to start up research and educational programs in fields somehow related to music technology, and I think we are about to reach a critical mass of groups of people involved in the field, not only a bunch of individual researchers and artists trying to survive. This year we agreed that we are now going to make a communal effort of building up a database of all institutions and individuals involved in the field, and develop a roadmap along the lines of what was made in the S2S2 project.

All in all, this year’s Musikkteknologidagene was a fun experience, and I am already looking forwards to next year’s edition.

Music ball paper at NIME 2012

Yesterday I wrote about the 4 papers I was involved in at this year’s NIME conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The one I was the first author on was entitled The music ball project: Concept, design, development, performance, and is mainly a historic write-up of the work I have been doing on developing different types of music balls over the years, including various handheld music balls, the Music Troll, Big Buoy and the ADHD ball.

Abstract
We report on the Music Ball Project, a longterm, exploratory project focused on creating novel instruments/controllers with a spherical shape as the common denominator. Besides a simple and attractive geometrical shape, balls aØord many diØerent types of use, including play. This has made our music balls popular among widely diØerent groups of people, from toddlers to seniors, including those that would not otherwise engage with a musical instrument. The paper summarises our experience of designing, constructing and using a number of music balls of various sizes and with diØerent types of sound-producing elements.

Downloads

  • Full paper (PDF)
  • Poster (PDF)

Reference
Jensenius, A. R. and Voldsund, A. (2012). The music ball project: Concept, design, development, performance. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression, pages 300–303, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

BibTeX
@inproceedings{Jensenius:2012e,
Address = {Ann Arbor, Michigan},
Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum and Voldsund, Arve},
Booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression},
Pages = {300–303},
Title = {The Music Ball Project: Concept, Design, Development, Performance},
Year = {2012}}

Alexander presenting the poster at NIME 2012
Alexander presenting the poster at NIME 2012.

4 papers at NIME 2012

I was involved in no less than 4 papers at this year’s NIME conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

K. Nymoen, A. Voldsund, S. A. v. D. Skogstad, A. R. Jensenius, and J. Tørresen.
Comparing motion data from an iPod touch to a high-end optical infrared marker-based motion capture system
[PDF]

The paper presents an analysis of the quality of motion data from an iPod Touch (4th gen.). Acceleration and orientation data derived from internal sensors of an iPod is compared to data from a high end optical infrared marker-based motion capture system (Qualisys) in terms of latency, jitter, accuracy and precision. We identify some rotational drift in the iPod, and some time lag between the two systems. Still, the iPod motion data is quite reliable, especially for describing relative motion over a short period of time.

S. A. Skogstad, K. Nymoen, Y. de Quay, and A. R. Jensenius.
Developing the Dance Jockey system for musical interaction with the Xsens MVN suit.
[PDF]

In this paper we present the Dance Jockey System, a system developed for using a full body inertial motion capture suit (Xsens MVN) in music/dance performances. We present different strategies for extracting relevant postures and actions from the continuous data, and how these postures and actions can be used to control sonic and musical features. The system has been used in several public performances, and we believe it has great potential for further exploration. However, to overcome the current practical and technical challenges when working with the system, it is important to further refine tools and software in order to facilitate making of new performance pieces.

J. Torresen, Ø. N. Hauback, D. Overholt, and A. R. Jensenius.
Development and evaluation of a ZigFlea-based wireless transceiver board for CUI32.
[PDF]

We present a new wireless transceiver board for the CUI32 sensor interface, aimed at creating a solution that is flexible, reliable, and with little power consumption. Communication with the board is based on the ZigFlea protocol and it has been evaluated on a CUI32 using the StickOS oper- ating system. Experiments show that the total sensor data collection time is linearly increasing with the number of sensor samples used. A data rate of 0.8 kbit/s is achieved for wirelessly transmitting three axes of a 3D accelerometer. Although this data rate is low compared to other systems, our solution benefits from ease-of-use and stability, and is useful for applications that are not time-critical.

A. R. Jensenius and A. Voldsund.
The music ball project: Concept, design, development, performance.
[PDF]

We report on the Music Ball Project, a longterm, exploratory project focused on creating novel instruments/controllers with a spherical shape as the common denominator. Besides a simple and attractive geometrical shape, balls aØord many diØerent types of use, including play. This has made our music balls popular among widely diØerent groups of people, from toddlers to seniors, including those that would not otherwise engage with a musical instrument. The paper summarises our experience of designing, constructing and using a number of music balls of various sizes and with diØerent types of sound-producing elements.

Chair of the NIME Steering Committee

At the last day of this year’s NIME conference in Oslo I was not only elected as a member of the international steering committee (SC) for the NIME conference series, but I was also elected as the new chair for the SC. This is exciting, particularly since I will be the first NIME SC chair ever. Since the start in 2001, the conference has seen a rapid growth, and we now see that it is time to formalise the structure of the organisation a bit. That said, we find it important to keep the NIME conference as a bottom-up, user-driven, grassroots event.

I am looking forwards to keeping move the conference series forwards, and to get more people involved in making and playing new NIMEs for themselves.