I recently attended STEIM orientation #107. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences whilst at the studio including meeting the vast array of composers/performers/programmers/cool people that can be found at the studio. What initially attracted me to STEIM was the way in which STEIM encourage and cater for the low-fi approach to interaction; specifically supporting the needs of individuals. A lot of my work at present involves improvised sensory mapping of the soundscape in order to personify natural sonic events. This includes of the use of Arduino input/output boards interfacing with environmental elements such as wind, rain, sunlight and temperature using microphones, various makeshift variable resistors and other electronic components. The data I collect is then transmitted to computer software patches for compositional interpretation. I wanted to extend my knowledge of experimental sensory mapping by learning from STEIM and getting a flavour of some of the tools used to see if I could incorporate some ideas for my own use.
The format of discussions/classes was a breath of fresh air. Staff and artists alike often geared their talks towards the requests of the workshop attendees and this frequently opened the floor up for much engaging and informal debate over various artistic beliefs, methods and ideas… for example one such topic that cropped up was the regressive use of the laptop as a visual cue during live performance.
For the most part I am a soundscape composer and installation artist and so initially I thought that being engrossed in this level of live interactive instrumentalism would be slightly daunting to absorb. But in retrospect I found the whole learning experience very inspirational and have definitely come away with some new ideas and a few techniques to go with.
A special thanks to Jonathan, Robert, Frank , Taku, Daniel, Michael and Thomas… and of course to my fellow attendees!