Music for Labs (M4L) is a ubiquitous computing pilot project exploring the overlap between musical sonification and participatory design at EVOKE Lab and Studio. The goal is to develop and theorize a meaningful, humanistic relationship between individual users and the data they generate in the execution of day-to-day tasks, like showing up to the lab for work. Given the previously demonstrated relationship between music listening and the experience of emotion, we posit that the relationship between a user and their ‘mundane data’ can be enriched through the implementation of sonification techniques affording them enhanced control over the musical characteristics of their sonified data.
As lab members enter and leave the lab, an RFID network registers their presence and absence in the form of user-specific and unique melodic signatures. At the end of each twelve-hour day, the data is translated into a musical piece of three minutes and thirteen seconds, where fifteen minutes equals one bar of common-time music. At the point of sonification, the unique musical signatures for each lab member function similarly to the leitmotifs found in Wagnerian opera. Musical sonifications generated during Spring Quarter 2014 will serve as the grounds for exploratory research into the use of participatory design for the development of an interface allowing users considerable control over the melodic, timbral, and rhythmic content of the sonifications.
Music4Labs Project Team:
- John Seberger
- Caitie Lustig
- Andy Echenique