What a first meeting this was! Elisabeth joined from her log cabin in Sweden, Simon from a shrine room in Sri Lanka, Anya from Brighton and myself from Market Harborough. We talked for three hours, in three parts with ten minute breaks in between. There are great similarities between us, but also great differences. Anya Ustaszewski is a Composer, Sonic Artist, Musician and active member of the Autistic Pride movement and various disability charities and organisations. Elisabeth Wiklander is a cellist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Cultural Ambassador of the National Autistic Society. Simon Allen is an aurally divergent composer, improviser, instrument-maker. And I am an autistic and aurally divergent composer, musicologist and Professor of Music, as well as Creative Computing.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the DigiScore project, grant agreement No 101002086
Monday, March 14, 2022
In the first part of the meeting we discussed the aims of the research project as a whole and described what the participants could expect. The key to the project is exploring the differences and connections between us and our lived experiences. To that end, we developed a number of ideas:
1. A hearing-aid mediated piece developed by Simon and Andrew (the two hearing-aid wearers in the group). In this piece, the hearing aids would become the digital score, combining with the audio orchestrator to deliver music that works for two very contrasting hearing needs.
2. A ’sound seeker’ piece developed by Anya and Simon, with computational input from Andrew as required. The idea is to introduce a layer of mixing control into the Audio Orchestrator to allow for specific sound types (e.g. metal sounds, distortions, etc) to be diffused and focused by the musicians.
3. A collection of three compositions for cello and digital sounds written for Elisabeth to play and composed by Anya, Andrew and Simon, diffused by the Audio Orchestrator.
4. A quartet for the ensemble using neural devices (e.g. https://www.emotiv.com/ ) to control the system.
The last project allows for the collection of a data stream that tracks neurological difference, something that is really key to the project.
We had a concluding discussion about data handling and ethics, focusing in particular on creating a safe space in which the group felt comfortable to share freely on the understanding that they could withdraw at any time and that any data would only be held with informed consent.
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