WanderOnStage (previously named as GestureWatch)

The project began October 2011 and ended July 2012

The WanderOnStage (previously named as GestureWatch) project is an artistic project that pursues a new performance approach by bringing together aspects of percussion performance and lives electronics with an objective to engage with the audience. In this project, we are motivated to explore ways to sustain the “communication flow” between the performer and the audience. The goal of the project is to extend the function of a percussionist’s physical gestures to approach real-time control of sound processing, in which it led to the design of a wearable tracking device.

A custom-built wireless device is designed to not only enable the performer to control real-time recording with arm and bodily movements, but also allow a theatrical potential, such as the performer moving around freely in the performance space, joining the audience as a listener, or motivating audience members to participate performing. This wristwatch-like wireless device consists a compass sensor, an Arduino Fio, an xBee (wireless communication), a 10k potentiometer, and a lithium polymer battery. By wearing the compass sensor on the wrist, the performer’s arm movements are translated into degree, tilt and roll values, which are interpreted and mapped to audio effects done in SuperCollider programming environment. This device functions as a controller for two purposes: (1) trigger to playback the live recording of the last four-second acoustic sounds that are picked up by microphones; (2) select the real-time audio effect modules of delay, FFT, and pitch-shift. The control over these audio effects is done by changing of the arm/elbow or body position. The casing of the device is made with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene material (ABS) by a 3D printer, and its top is covered with an acrylic piece with a potentiometer knob. The casing is produced with helps from the staff at the Aalto Media Factory FabLab and Aalto Metal workshop.

This project’s creative outcome results in a series of improvisational performances including Untitled #1 (for objects and live electronics) and Untitled #2 (for marimba and live electronics), created within the context of live percussion performance with electronics. The Untitled #1 performance was first presented by the author live at the 4for8 concert event, hosted by Till Bovermann, TAI Studio on 25/04/2012. Following that, the author performed the same work live on Lähiradio radio at the 24-hour DREAM HOUSE on air event, hosted by Shinji Kanki on 05/05/2012. The Untitled #2 performance was presented by collaborator and percussionist, Chin-Cheng Lin, at his marimba recital at the Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen – Koninklijk Conservatorium in Belgium on 14/05/2012.

Project lead:
Chi-Hsia Lai ( chi-hsia.lai@aalto.fi )
Contact information:
Chi-Hsia Lai (chi-hsia.lai@aalto.fi)
Project members:
Ying-Ju Lin (ying-ju.lin@aalto.fi)

Project files:
WanderOnStage (jpg file)