Participatory Art Research
To think ecologically means to adapt to the pre-condition of making and presenting participatory practices.

Log-book session 12 - 8.5.2021 - michela - Matteo (studio 8)

We discussed how the soundscape will be created thanks to the Telegram bot (video here) 

Also we decided that to do streaming for a public at home is beneficial to our project because of the fact that we are anyway using smartphones as cameras in our project, and also a communication platform such as telegram to create the soundscape. 

Therefore people will be invited to see our presentation through VIMEO streaming and at the same time to interact with us via telegram (chat) and therefore have an impact onto the creation of the sound live in the performance space. The interaction that we will ask them is that of sending our Telegram bot pictures of their shoes, in their own environment.

Log-book session 7 - 27.3.2021 - Michela- Matteo (studio 8)

 

The first question we explored is: what do we want to know out of the collection of data and the subsequent correlation and creation of information, what is our focus? 

Our focus is around the topic of the relationship between testers (people invited into the research process) and their things, or thingness. We take as a starting point their shoes, we want to invite their shoes into physical participation with the performative actions, while the testers are attending to them.

We have devised a system of empirical data collection that works like this: 

I ask Matteo to position one of his feet with the shoe on a piece of paper, I then trace the outline of his shoe. After that i ask him to take off his shoe and put the bare foot, fitting in the previously drawn outline of the shoe, tracing the foot with a different color. Looking at the point of intersection between foot and footwear. My question is how do our footwear manipulate the bare foot touching point with the floor? 

After this i pass to the next task which is for me to use PEIRCE’S SIGN-THEORY, STRATEGY OF ANALYSIS of one of his shoe, (description-composition-interpretation) while Matteo is given the task to listen to my statements and sentence per sentence give sign of disagreement or agreement, not verbally but by making a knot on 2 strings, i have provided.

If he agrees with what i say, make a knot on the yellow string, if he disagrees make a knot on the red string.

We then realised that we should have three strings: YES-NO-DON’T KNOW, and also that we have for each category of analysis a new set of strings for the testers to make knots on. 

Then the string will be given to Matteo for data sonification (still to be understood how). 

Also, we at the same time should keep track of how many sentences (information) are being given to the tester to make a comparison to their reaction to the task. Meanwhile, since we are building on having two testers for each session we are also wondering what will the second tester do while this specific task can be performed only with one of them?

What is important for us and our audience to know is that we don’t keep the data or intend to collect them to use them in any other way than to create the soundscape live, during our session. 

Log-book session 4 - 15.3.2021-Michela - Samu (studio 8)

In this session Samu and I explored ways of bringing the shoes of the testers/attendants into the performative space, in ways that are not completely functional and pedestrian. The idea is to connect the shoes of the people to other objects, hinting to a first type of simple assemblage, that then will connect to the greater assemblage of things, in a way that the physical contact of the performer with the shoes is reduced more and more as the process unfolds, and more complex connections are established between things and shoes. 

So the main manipulation of the shoes by the performer, happens at the beginning of the gathering (by gathering I intend the many studio sessions that will take place with visiting testers), with the RITUAL OF INVITATION. (the ritual of invitation is the procedure that the performer and the testers’ shoes undergo together, including the cleaning of the sole with water, collection of data, and the registration process, imprint of the sole on paper with charcoal dust). When the ritual is done the shoes are brought into the performative space with the intention to activate the imagination of the testers, that aims at creating the sensation that their bodies are still connected to the shoes which are being manipulated.

Our question is: how to co-create (together with the testers' imagination) an interaction on ‘stage’, or the presence of absent bodies? How do we together imagine bodies on stage in relation to the things that are occupying that space? What is the effort of imagining bodies? 

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Log-book session 11 - 3.5.2021 - michela - Matteo- Samu (studio 8)

Session in which we explored the performativity of our bodies in space, most importantly how Samuel interacts with the shoes, creating sculptures and balancing assemblages, provoking the space to hold a certain dynamic. Which is in contrast with the dynamic michela produces when moving and dancing around with the shoes. I collected footage and edited it in a 10min research collage, which serves the purpose of showing what are the most interesting discoveries in terms of movement and interactivity.

Meanwhile Matteo is dealing with the programming of our digital platform which creates the sound score. The input to this platform is given by photos that are taken live in the studio and sent by Matteo to a Telegram Bot, which is communicating with the platform. The program transforms the image in raw sound which is then modulated by other images (uploaded later) and by the steps that are set up by Matteo according to criteria that are being investigated at the moment. 

 

For example one criteria would be that the number of steps modulating the pure sound is equal to the amount of shoes that are present in space and that Samuel and Michela are interacting with. 

So we always have our 3 pairs of shoes (6 single shoes), depending on how many attendants agree with giving us their shoes we would adjust the number of steps.

 

Each step modulates in three ways:

  1. Pitch

  2. Attack

  3. Decay 

At the moment we are exploring how to set the variables of the steps according to the information that we performers perceive from the shoes of the attendants. 

 

This way through the co-presence of the attendants and their willingness to let us play with their thingness- the sound score of the space is directly influenced.  

Log-book session 5 - 23.3.2021 - michela (home-office)

 

Today I am on my own trying to finalise my preparation to the whole semester research.

  • Why are the audiences addressed as attendants? After a reading of Choreographing Problems by B. Cijvic, I take this term as it addresses attending to a performance not only spatially but also in relation to time perception. Quote: When a choreography is conceived as an assembling of heterogeneous movements and connections between the bodies of performers, spectators, objects, situations and so forth, then the performance “ex-tends” to include the presence and movement of those for whom the performance is presented in a non-dialogic relation. Performance is also attended when it is approached from the aspect of time. Time becomes that which prevents everything from being given at once. Attending a performance that involves the perception of bodily movement entails an experience of attuning, to performers’ movements, one’s perception and capacity to perceive. 

Attending as a mode of expression is prolonged temporally after the event as well, thus once again challenging the centrality of the event and asserting its proper modal autonomy. “Resonance” is the concept which refers to this problem, and will be one of the arguments to support the claim of performance as a process rather than an act. 

  • non-dialogic actions, which deny dialogue, distort communication, and reproduce power.

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Log-book session 3 - 11.3.2021- michela - Samu (studio 8)

We discussed possible formats for inviting our testers into the relational space of our installation, (or better defined as formation: being an aggregate of things, sound, people and hyper-objects we have no control over). We primarily concentrate on how to structure the format of the research (process: when testers are invited to experience our studio sessions, where we aim at collecting data). It is though impossible not to keep in mind the final format that we will present to attendants of the 401 presentation, because the change to studio 1 will open up different possibilities worth keeping consideration of during the process. 

 

The collection of data (or warm data according to Nora Bateson's definition) is a fundamental aspect to the research, being one of the main participatory aspects of our project. By inviting testers into the process we invite and learn how to harvest their inputs to our system, so that we can metabolise these inputs and make them an integral part of the output of our system. Questions like: how do people react and interact with our formation, installation, performativity, relational quest, the way they are addressed (vocally and bodily), the way in which they attain to certain rules dictated by the institutional system our project is situated in. 

We are aware of the fact that data harvesting is a controversial issue in our society and dictates a lot of the contemporary relations between the economic, social and technological system and the individuals of the society. Our aim is to learn more about how data collection works on a larger scale but in the frame of our project we are not interested in applying those same principles. Our research is not based on scientific criteria and yet it is informed and inspired by them.

We want to come up with our own artistic way of collecting data, and use them as raw material for creating generative soundscapes. 

Generative music is a term popularised by Brian Eno to describe music that is ever-different and changing, and that is created by a system. We plan to create an algorithm that fed with the collected data will create the soundscape of our final piece, this process is called data sonification, and it is Matteo’s field of interest as sound artist and user’s experience designer. 

At this point we still have to figure out our methodologies for collecting, interpreting and sonifying data. During our session 2, Samu and i came up with a first idea on how to structure a first trial with testers, below I explain it step by step: 

 

SHOE TRIAL

  • 2 testers are invited to join our studio session (michela - Matteo or Samu are  present: due to the regulation of studio 8 of max 4 people)

  • Testers are welcomed by michela at the entrance, short explanation of the project, anonymous data collection procedure. 

  • EMBODIED RULES MEASUREMENT: the two testers will be asked to approach each other until they reach a comfortable interaction distance, the distance will then be measured from foot to foot by michela. This trial aims at visualising how much people have embodied the social distancing rule. Our aim is not to impose on the 1,5 m distance rule but to initiate an autonomous reflection on this topic. 

  • Entering the studio testers are asked to take off their shoes and to give permission to michela to manipulate their shoes freely. 

 

  • When everyone is set, michela will start the ritual of inviting manipulable shoes in the space which include:

 

  • The shoes are invited into the performative space as representatives (synecdoche principle) of the testers, this way we aim at activating their imagination as a form of participation. 

  • michela will perform short ensembles together with things in the installation and the testers shoes. 

  • From here on the progression is still open to exploration. For example, what could be an ending? That all shoes are piled up together and testers have to find their way to recuperate them, respecting social distancing rules?