KTH invited presentation

Book Chapter Music Technology in Education

I was invited to do a talk at the Sound and music interaction seminar November 3rd at KTH by Kjetil Falkenberg, associate professor at the Sound and Music Computing group at Kungliga Tekniska Hógskolan in Stockholm. Due to the CoVid situation the seminar was held on Zoom. The picture above is from one of the slides.

Title:Aesthetics, technology and site-specificity in two artistic interactive performances

Abstract: The presentation will discuss two interactive performances which took place in 2018 and 2019 as a part of the MusicTech Fest (MTF). The performances took place at KTH and the University of Örebro, respectively, with a group of four people with background from music technology, computer science, theatre and dance. The performances combined interactive dance, using different types of sensors to track movements of the performers, and live-coding, to play sounds from two different user generated databases with vocal material. The presentation will discuss how the very different sites of the two performances were highly contributing to the artistic concepts and aesthetic approaches of the performances, among other things, which database of vocal sounds that was chosen. Moreover, the discussion will argue how the performances approached technology from two different angles, involving questions of transparency and control, and how that had both aesthetic and political consequences.

 

Chapter in Music Technology in Education book

Book Chapter Music Technology in Education

The anthology Music Technology in Education – Channeling and Challenging Perspectives , was published in October 2020 by Cappelen Damm akademisk, and edited by Øyvind Eiksund, Elin Angelo and Jens Knigge. It presents research projects that examine the intersection between music, technology and education from a variety of perspectives. The contributors are from a range of educational programs within traditional pre-, primary and lower secondary school education, as well as music performance and technology educational programs. Together with colleague Robin Stø and former colleague Anna Xambó, I co-wrote a chapter in the anthology entitled "The Notion of Presence in a Telematic Cross-Disciplinary Program for Music, Communication and Technology".

Abstract: This chapter examines how students in a two-campus, cross-disciplinary program in Music, Communication and Technology (MCT) experience the sense of presence of peer students and teachers, some physically co-localized while others are present via an audiovisual communications system. The chapter starts by briefly delineating the MCT program, the audiovisual communications system and the learning space built around it, named the Portal, and the research project SALTO which frames the current study. We then review research literature on presence rel-evant to this particular context and use this as a basis for the design of an online sur-vey using a combination of Likert items and free text response. Our main findings, based on responses from the 16 students who participated in the survey, are that the mediating technologies of the Portal affect the experience of presence negatively, but that formal learning scenarios are less affected than informal scenarios that require social interaction.

The anthology is available as an open access publication here, while our chapter can be downloaded here.



Invited presentation MTF Labs Aveiro

Presentation slide from MTF Aveiro

MTF Labs are usually week-long processual events involving artists, technologists, scientists, performers and academics working around the clock with artistic, conceptual and technological prototyping, culminating in a performance or happening that we presented to an audience at the end. This year the MTF Labs took place in Aveiro, Portugal, but due to the CoVid19 pandemic, the physical participation was limited, since many people couldn't travel without risking quarantine after returning from the lab, or worse - to be infected.

The Accents in Motion team (also called Dance AI in the MTF community), was therefore invited by the distinguished organizers, Andrew Dubber and Michela Magas, to do an online presentation of their work so far at the second day of the labs. Accents in Motion is a group of four people who met during the MTF Labs in Stockholm in 2018, and consists of Kirsi Mustalahti, Lilian Jap, Joseph Wilk and myself. Since Lilian couldn't take part, there were three of us doing the presentation, but where I was responsible for the slides, videos and the manuscript. The presentation focused on work we did at the MTF 2018 in Stockholm, MTF 2019 in Örebro and at a team workshop we did at KTH in February of 2020, where the focus was on trying out Gaussian Mixture Models for pose recognition (see illustration above).

A video with the presentation can be found here.

 

ARTEC Webinar panelist - Modalities of Listening

Garth Paine and Nina Eidsheim

ARTEC , NTNUs Art and Technology taskforce, has a tradition of arranging a seminar series with distinuished speakers within art, technology and digital humanities. Due to the CoVid19 situation in the fall of 2020, these seminars have been arranged as Webinars. September 21 ARTEC had invited Nina Eidsheim (Professor in Musicology at UCLA) and Garth Paine (Professor of Digital Sound and Interactive Media at Arizona State University) to a discussion about "Modalities of Listening". Together with Thomas Hilder (NTNU) and Rasika Ajotikar (Univ. of Göttingen), I was invited to be panelist. During two hours Eidsheim and Paine got to present their thoughts on the subject, and answer questions from the panelists and the online viewers (over 130 from all over the world).

 

Paper at eLSE conference

After replacing former colleague Anna Xambó as study programme coordinator at the Music, Communication and Technology Programme, I have been heavily involved in the organization and coordination of this cross-campus programme. This has first and foremost included administrative aspects, but also some research activities. This paper was primarily written by my colleague Robin Støckert, who teaches at MCT and coordinates the SALTO (Student Active Learning in a Two-Campus Organization), but with input and feecback from the co-authors, who are all involved in the programme. The paper was presented at the 16th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education Bucharest, April 23-24, 2020. The paper can be downloaded here.

Abstract:

Higher education is facing disruptive changes in many fields. Students wants to have the option of learning anywhere, anytime and in any format. Universities need to develop and deliver to future students a complete learning ecosystem. At the same time universities are facing challenges such as growing costs and the pressure to give the students the knowledge, competence, skills and ability to continuously adapt to future job environments. As a consequence, many universities are investigating new ways of collaboration and sharing resources to cater to the demands of students, industry and society. An example of this collaboration is a new joint master between the two largest Universities in Norway: University of Oslo (UiO) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). In this paper, we present the lessons learned from almost two years of teaching and learning in the new joint master's programme, "Music, Communication and Technology" (MCT), between NTNU and UiO. This programme is a run in a two-campus learning space built as a two-way, audio-visual, high-quality, low-latency communication channel between the two campuses, called "The Portal". Moreover, MCT is the subject of research for the SALTO (Student Active Learning in a Two campus Organisation) project, where novel techniques in teaching and learning are explored, such as team-based learning (TBL), flipped classroom, and other forms of student active learning. Educational elements in this master, provides the student with 21st century skills and deliver knowledge within humanities, entrepreneurship and technology. We elaborate on the technical, pedagogical and learning space-related challenges toward delivering teaching and learning in these cross-university settings. The paper concludes with a set of strategies that can be used to improve student active learning in different scenarios.

 

 

Live Interfaces 2020: Performance paper

 

The International Conference of Live Interfaces, ICLI, took place March 9-11 and was the second international conference hosted by NTNU Music Technology in only three months. Our conference chair Øyvind Brandtsegg had prepared the stage for a conference with talks, keynotes, concerts/performances and installations. As the conference web page stated, "topics of liveness, immediacy, presence (and tele-presence), mediation, collaboration and timing or flow are engaged with and questioned in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role contemporary media technologies play in human expression".

 

My contribution at the conference, besides being chair of the installations, was a so-called performance paper, a not very well-known format combining a traditional paper presentation with performance elements. In my paper and presentation, I addressed a topic that I have been occupied with on a hobby basis for a couple of years, namely FM radio. After the shut down of the national broadcasts on the FM-band in Norway in 2017, my frustration with the political descision led me into collecting old radios, especially from the late 1960s and early 70s. I later found out that these radios produces a wide range of noises and sounds when they were connected with transmitters in a feedback loop. The paper contained some of the experiences and reflections I had after experimenting with this setup (see the figure below) during some months.

 

 

Abstract: This paper investigates how FM receivers connected to FM transmitter in a feedback loop can be applied as musical instruments, but with an inherent instability that at the same time breaks with traditional instrumentality. The paper begins with delineating the specific historical situation in Norway with the closing of FM band for national broadcasters, and how this could be seen as a call for action. The paper proceeds with a short review of the application of radios in music and sound art and practitioners working with feedback techniques, before presenting relevant theories of nonlinear dynamic processes and feedback systems. The paper then briefly delineates a simple setup of equipment, and goes on to address issues related to playability and sonic output. The paper shows how certain sonic categories are recurrent, but how different models have different sonic signatures, how some features are unstable and difficult to consistently reproduce. The paper concludes by discussing the findings in the light of the research literature in the field, and potential musical applications of the radio as instrument in different setups and contexts.

 

The full article can be found here. I also extended the content of the paper by including an analysis and categorization of the sounds from one of the radios, the Blaupunkt derby de luxe (image below). This analysis can be seen in the presentation slides found here.

 

 

Even though I had some problems with grounds hum during the performance part of the presentation, I believed it showed some of the potential these old devices have for being used as musical instruments. In the wake of the conference, I was also contacted by Knut Aufermann, one of the pioneers of the radio art scene in Germany, giving me some extra links and material, some of which I will hopefully look into in due time.

 

Web Audio Conference 2019: concert and panel

The international Web Audio Conference 2019 was hosted by NTNU in Trondheim, and the Music Technology Group played a central role in organizing it, with my colleague Anna Xamb as conference chair (and IES colleague Sara Martin by her side). My own role in the organization was demo and poster chair. The conference presented a combination of talks, posters, demos, artworks and performances, and had over 100 participants from all over the world. I also contributed to the conference by participating in a performance and hosting a panel.

Performance

The performance was with T-EMP (Trondheim Electroacoustic Music Performance), consisting of yvind Brandtsegg, Trond Engum, Anna Xamb and Carl Haakon Waadeland. Here is the description of the performance from the proceedings of the conference:

The ensemble Trondheim Electroacoustic Music Performance (EMP) investigates new modes of communication in an ensemble when new technology is introduced as part of the ensemble repertoire. In the recent three years, the focus has been on cross-adaptive processing as a musical intervention in the interplay. More info on the cross-adaptive project can be seen at the project blog and also the album Poke It With A Stick / Joining The Bots released in 2019. For this performance we work with a web-based repository of sounds, explored via a live-coding interface. This allows access to a massive archive of sounds from Freesound.org, and the selection of sounds is done via sound descriptors. The integration of this instrument in an ensemble setting is interesting, as traditional and nontraditional modes of musical interaction are activated in dialogue. Using web-based access to the repository allows a generality of instrument design, and this is combined with a strategic mode of performance in this instrument. With?strategic? we mean here, that most sounds are not performed directly by physical action, but cued up in patterns via live-coding. These sounds are then live processed by other members of the ensemble, responding more directly with physical and gestural instrumental action on the signal coming from the web instrument. The signal is also live processed in a cross-adaptive fashion, so that audio features extracted from other performers? actions will modulate the parameters of processing for the web audio instrument. The ensemble also utilize gesturally based interfaces from interactive dance, here used to control elements of audio synthesis and processing.

Here is a video of the performance:




Panel

I was asked to host a panel with the topic "accessibility in web audio". I invited three people who I though would be able to address relevant issues of this topic, although none of them were directly engaged with web-audio. David Br ggermann was a former Music Technology student who wrote his bachelor thesis on developing workflows for music production with VoiceOver and LogigPro for a vision impaired user. Monica Ruud is a first-year student at the Bachelor programme in Music Technology NTNU who is blind. Lastly, Miranda Moen is currently currently writing a master's thesis in Equality and Diversity at the NTNU institute of interdisciplinary culture studies. Moreover, she works as a project responsible at AKKS Trondheim and with the KOSO collective. In the panel the participants were first asked to explain how they understand the concept of accessibility.

The two visusually impared students were asked how their engagement with computer-based music technology as a user with vision impairments and if they had examples of functionality in computer-based music applications which are very much accessible, and others which are not, and if so, in what ways.

The panel was rounded off with questions that was partly addressed by the panelist, and partly by the audience. For instance, how one can raise awareness for issues of accessibility in web audio applications and if there were any concrete suggestions for making web audio applications more accessible. Here is a video of the panel discussion:






VIBRA workshop: 'Constructing Realities' with Johannes Birringer

"Constructed Realities" was a two-day workshop led by Johannes Birringer, as a part of the VIBRA workshop series (www.vibra.no) that I organize. Birringer is an independent media choreographer and artistic director of AlienNation Co, and also works as a professor at Brunel University, where he is director of the DAP-Lab and headed the Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance.

The workshop was organized by me, and sponsored by NTNU ARTEC. VR equipment and expertise was provided by IMTEL lab NTNU. Footage by workshop participants and video editing by Andreas Schille.

At the workshop, fifteen participants with diverse backgrounds, from fine arts, to music technology and dance, worked together to create an immersive environment, including two VR stations, multichannel audio, live visuals affected by audio and video. In addition to organizing and facilitating the workshop, which took up most of my attention, I made a "discoball poem player", using a broken disko ball fittet with a wireless NGIMU-sensor, a recording of a poem read by Dumama, and piece of coding I did in Csound. It can be seen in the video below. The final performance/environment was presented for an audience in Verkstedhallen, Trondheim, October 2019. Workshop participants: P l Lersveen, Dag Olav Kolltveit, Naomi Chan, Ada Hoel, Samrridhi Kukreja, Emily Aalde, August Norhtug, Gugulethu Duma, Andreas Schille, Mina Paasche, Christopher Logan, Anna Thu Schmidt, Dylan Green, Aleksandar Isailovic, Per Erik Walslag and Ingunn Schumann Mosand.

Here is a video, edited by Andreas Schille, showing some of the different parts of the workshop, including the performance itself:






#MTF: Humans in Da Loop at Órebro University

Two performers with laptops by a table. Two dancers in the foreground. One industrial robot on the side.


Music Tech Fest is an arts festival which presents "technological innovations and artistic experimentation, performance, new inventions, commercial applications, and academic research". It is also a network a network of amazing people working in different branches of music technology. At least once a year they organize #MTFLabs, where they invite "some of the most brilliant and original minds to reinvent the way we interact, collaborate, create and communicate with each other". After particpating in Stockholm in the fall 2018, I hooked up to a small team of fantastic people (Kirsi Mustalahti, Joseph Wilk and Lilian Jap), and together we formed a group called Accents in Motion, or alternatively, Dance AI, building our work around connections between a database of speech accents, motion tracking of dance movement and live coding.


In October 2019 our group was invited to the AI Impact Lab at the University of rebro as a part of MTF's Humans in da Loop together with a number of people from the MTF community. At the gathering, MTF were "bringing select experts from the global MTF community to address strategic applications of AI" led by their high-profiled professor Amy Loutfi, newly appointed pro-vice-chancellor for AI. The Accents in Motion team were very lucky to be allowed to work in The Cognitive Robotic Systems Laboratory, lead by professor Alessandro Safiotti. Although we were not allowed to play with the industrial robots in the space, we got access to their system for counting people and getting their position in the space. Although the system was more difficult to work with than anticipated, we were able to connect it to our computers and make sound with it.

The functionalities and failures of this system inspired our ideas of the performance - it addressed the way in which technology is often presented to us as black boxes that don't reveal anything about their construction or inner workings, and how we should strive to make technology more transparent and open to users. The failure of the tracking system to locate a person within a 2x2 meter square in the middle of the lab then became our "Black Box", where we then placed our laptops, mixers and "technologist" performers (Joseph and Andreas). The dramaturgy of the performance was then how two of the performers (Kirsi and Lilian) intruded into the Black Box and took over the control of it - which was the conclusion of the performance. Thus, the piece became one of empowerment through knowledge.

Happy performer in wheelchair. Two computers on a table. Two dancers in the background. A screen with computer code on the back wall.

As at the Stockholm MTF we got our songs from an audio database of considerable size, namely DAMP, containing voice-only recordings of karaoke singing. The material in the database was challenging in that it already contained musical form and expression, and to reshape and reinterpret this was not at all easy and required considerable experimentation to get an aesthetically satisfactory result.

And as before, we also had two approaches to our sound database - both movement sensing and live-coding. Even though this piece came together the "hackathon" way - extremely compressed in terms of creation and implementation time, we still think we got to develop our concept and repertoire further. Especially, it was intriguing to play with our roles as "technologists" versus "dancers", and hopefully contribute to a productive dialogue on technology, embodiment, gender stereotypes and empowerment.


Conference presentation: Digitale kulturer

The project Crossadaptive processing as musical intervention (2016-18), firmly rooted in the Music Technology programme at NTNU, was invited to do a presentation at Arts Council Norway's conference "Digital kultur, estetiske praksiser" (Digital culture, aesthetic practices" at Dokkhuset in Trondheim. In the absence of project leader yvind Brandtsegg, we were three colleagues from this programme doing the presentation entitled " gripe inn i en annens lyd: kryssadaptive modulasjoner" (To interfere with the other's sound: crossadaptive modulations); myself, Trond Engum and Carl Haakon Waadeland. The presentation had two parts; first I gave a brief talk about the central concepts, methods and results of the project, then, Trond and Carl Haakon improvised using the tools from the project.


DigitaleKulturer
Carl Haakon Waadeland, Trond Engum and myself at Dokkhuset




Paper at the Sound and Music Computing Conference

SMC Malaga


Together with Sigurd Saue and Pekka Stokke I wrote a paper about VIBRA for the Sound and Music Computing Conference in Malaga.

Abstract:

The paper presents the interactive dance project VIBRA, based on two workshops taking place in 2018. The paper presents the technical solutions applied and discusses artis- tic and expressive experiences. Central to the discussion is how the technical equipment, implementation and map- pings to different media has affected the expressive and experiential reactions of the dancers.

The paper can be found here: http://folk.ntnu.no/andbe/Content/VIBRA_paper.pdf



NRK P3 Interview

The NRK P3 show "Urørt" made a short feature about instrumental music February 2019, and I was interviewed to contribute to the feature. The feature with the interview is available here.


p3




PhD supervision course

I attended a two-day course for PhD supervisors at NTNU January 2019 led by Kari Smith, professor at the Department for Teacher Education at NTNU, and leader of the National Research School for Teacher Education. The course qualified me as a "certified supervisor", which from the new regulations of the PhD programme at NTNU is required for at least one of the team of supervisors at a PhD (alternatively, the supervisor has to have supervised earlier).


PhD


The course covered many issues relevant for PhD supervision, among them regulations and framework, building relations, gender issues, ethics, co-authorship, submission and what to do in the case of rejection. We also got to discuss some interesting cases, including the typical "burn out" that many experience in the last phase of their PhD period. The course also highlighted the culture differences at NTNU, especially between hard and soft sciences, article based and monograph theses, and small and big departments.