A Hapless But Entertaining Roar’: Developing a Room Feedback System through Artistic Research and Aesthetic Reflection

John M Bowers

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Papers
  • Pages: 511–520
  • Article Number: 71
  • PDF link

Abstract:

This paper presents a room feedback system which the author has been developing and performing with for nearly three years. The design emerged from an artistic research process which emphasises multiple explorations coexisting around a research topic while having a sensitivity to the practicalities of a customary gig (short set-up time, unpredictable acoustics). Typically enabled by a stereo room-mic and a pair of speakers, many algorithms have been explored in the loop with some being tributes to historical feedback works. An overall design is offered where all feedback pathways are simultaneously available and mutually interfere via the room. Each algorithm is designed to have one significant performable parameter but how this is mapped to sensors or widgets is itself performable with various behaviours available, including some explorations of self-programming and ‘intra-active’ ideas. Concert experience in solo and small ensemble formats is discussed and a number of contributions are identified in how the work: extends room feedback research to explore multiple parallel processes of varied spectro-morphological character, offers connections to historical work in a pedagogically interesting fashion, demonstrates several novel algorithms, while exemplifying a characteristic artistic research method. The paper closes with a speculative ‘feedback aesthetics’ to help configure future work.

Citation:

John M Bowers. 2023. A Hapless But Entertaining Roar’: Developing a Room Feedback System through Artistic Research and Aesthetic Reflection. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_71,
 abstract = {This paper presents a room feedback system which the author has been developing and performing with for nearly three years. The design emerged from an artistic research process which emphasises multiple explorations coexisting around a research topic while having a sensitivity to the practicalities of a customary gig (short set-up time, unpredictable acoustics). Typically enabled by a stereo room-mic and a pair of speakers, many algorithms have been explored in the loop with some being tributes to historical feedback works. An overall design is offered where all feedback pathways are simultaneously available and mutually interfere via the room. Each algorithm is designed to have one significant performable parameter but how this is mapped to sensors or widgets is itself performable with various behaviours available, including some explorations of self-programming and ‘intra-active’ ideas. Concert experience in solo and small ensemble formats is discussed and a number of contributions are identified in how the work: extends room feedback research to explore multiple parallel processes of varied spectro-morphological character, offers connections to historical work in a pedagogically interesting fashion, demonstrates several novel algorithms, while exemplifying a characteristic artistic research method. The paper closes with a speculative ‘feedback aesthetics’ to help configure future work.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {71},
 author = {John M Bowers},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Miguel Ortiz and Adnan Marquez-Borbon},
 issn = {2220-4806},
 month = {May},
 numpages = {10},
 pages = {511--520},
 title = {A Hapless But Entertaining Roar’: Developing a Room Feedback System through Artistic Research and Aesthetic Reflection},
 track = {Papers},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_71.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}