written reflection

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abstract

This research project involved the production and public performance of eight audio-visual art works and a corresponding reflective commentary. The aim in creating the artworks was to slow down and translate digital information, in the form of the rhythms and patterns of computer processes, into musical, textual and visual forms. In this reflective commentary, I argue that such processes of playing code offer a distinct form of HCI (human-computer interaction) that has significant musical and critical value in a field that has hitherto been overly dominated by movement, gesture and touch. Through a research process that in- volved both learning to play the established highly evolved rhythmic artforms of Afro-Cuban and flamenco music, as well as deconstructing data communication signals and devel- oping experimental computer interfaces, I immersed myself in a series of environments in which rhythmic codes were embodied and transmitted through sound. I argue that the systems I developed, by incorporating a variety of cultural traditions - each based upon the transmission of these rhythmical codes - lend what Yuk Hui has described as technodiversity to the field of interactive computer art. Drawing upon postphenomenology and media archaeology, as well as Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow, I argue for the importance of practice-based methods - making circuits, writing software, performing, exhibiting and studying the music within their localities - in the forging of productive new links between the fields of HCI data communications and diverse global musical traditions. By making data audible and developing experimental new hermeneutic relations with computers, my work suggests productive expansions to our extant relationship with technological artifacts in terms of embodiment, as well as offering practical approaches towards developing technodiversity .