Breath as an Embodied Connection for Performer-System Collaborative Improvisation

Resource type
Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
The use of computers has continued to increase within interactive performance over the last 25 years, evolving the need for understanding performer system interaction. Performers in the disciplines of Music, Dance, and Theatre produce works incorporating autonomous computer systems programmed to “listen” and contribute material. Interaction with such systems commonly relies on computers sensing the performer’s physical and/or sonic gesture. However, this sense-respond model does not easily accommodate the concept of intuition, which fosters the development of performer trust, synchronization and collaboration within interaction. Performance practitioners interact using embodied-knowledge that is developed through training and experience of the body. Although it is an innate part of performing, intuition is seldom considered and has been under theorized and under-researched in the context of performer-system interaction models. Intuition as a parameter of interaction has significant relevance to the interaction between an autonomous system and a performer. I have conducted three case studies on performers’ sense of intuition within interactive performance by designing and testing an interactive system that provides information cues of the system’s internal state. The system’s intention to act and the quality of gesture will was explored by simulating breath as an intentional cue. By altering the timbre and duration of the simulated breath, the system can indicate the quality of intended gesture. The model was evaluated by collecting performer interview data, third person observation of performer interaction, and first-person accounts of the system designer testing the system as a part of the design process. The information resulting from this study can be used to further develop models of interaction with autonomous generative systems in performance.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Schiphorst, Thecla
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etd7909_GCorness.pdf 26.42 MB