Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Co llaborative Environments

P{e/a}r{i/a}meter CIRCLE research symposium
May 7 2012, Inspace, University of Edinburgh


Viccy Adams
As the Leverhulme Trust writer-in-residence at the School of Informatics 2011-12 I've mainly been talking to different researchers about their work and using those discussions as inspiration for my own writing. This presentation will take the form of a brief explanation of my current works in progress - a devised theatre piece for the Puffersphere (working title: What's Black and White and Read All Over) and a novel about a friendship between a robot and a cleaner (working title: Prototype), and a short reading from Prototype.

Miranda Anderson, Amy Guy and John Lee
Palimpsest: Literary Edinburgh is an application which aims to enable 'travel through texts' by geo-locating dramatic, vivid and evocative excerpts of Edinburgh-based texts in their historical or literary settings. The app creates imaginary and historical cityscapes, which immerse users within a psycho-geography composed of non-linear fragments. Users can choose their journeys according to various properties such as genres, periods or moods. The application also incorporates historical maps, Cereproc speech synthesis and is intended to enable the exploration of tropes of interactive fiction and storytelling. Palimpsest is being developed as a collaboration between the English Literature department, as part of the celebration of its 250th year, CIRCLE, Design and Digital Media and research students.

Beverley Hood
'glitching' is a digital installation and performance project that attempts to re-describe the movement derived from characters in contemporary sports and action computer games. Using the premise of home entertainment dance and training games. It employs the motion-sensor controller, Microsoft Kinect, and large-screen display to create a digital installation for the public to interact with. The exhibition visitor is invited to step into the digital shoes of the 'lead dancer', and attempt to follow the awkward and intricate, glitch choreography performed by the dancing troupe on screen. Alongside the interactive installation there are a series of 'glitching' live performances featuring the digital installation, dancers Tony Mills, Hannah Seignior, Felicity Beveridge and a performance soundtrack devised by Martin Parker.

Simon Biggs and Hadi Mehrpouya
Hide'n'Seek: The Microsoft Kinect sensor was released a couple of years ago as a control interface device for the Microsoft XBox game console. Soon after its release the Kinect API and software were hacked and released to the public, leading to the development of the libfreenect library. Microsoft thereafter released an SDK for the Kinect. The development of the libfreenect library has led to an explosion of interest in how this multi-modal device can be employed in gaming, the creative arts and the computer sciences. Our work has focused on how the Kinect's Infra-Red depth sensing system can be combined with custom video tracking software (based on the Intel OpenCV computer vision framework) so that complex visual objects, such a people, can be tracked live and in three dimensions. The project we have undertaken as a proof of concept for this is titled Hide'n'Seek, a playful multi-user multi-sited interactive environment.


Sophia Lycouris, Wendy Timmons and Lauren Hayes
Choreo-Haptic Experiments: Kinaesthetic Empathy and Non-Sighted Dance Audiences: This project investigates how digital technologies can enhance the participation experience of dance performances by non-sighted audience members. The project looks at how existing motion-tracking and haptic techniques can enable non-sighted audience members to have kinaesthetic responses to the movements performed by the dancers and will develop a basic haptic device to enable audience members to receive feedback about the dynamics of dance performances.

Katherine McLelland and Agnese Sile
The art of illness? Applying medical perspectives to the study of art history: What can contemporary spectators learn from historical artistic representations of medical conditions? Recent studies show that historical anatomical drawings, such as examples from the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, can be very useful in detailed interactive learning for students in dentistry and medicine (Gerrits and Veening, 2012). However, does the interpretation of artworks, in terms of their medical concerns, risk obscuring the social and historical conditions in which the works were created? What issues come into play when viewing a painting like Bronzino's Allegory of Love, which portrays a victim of syphilis? In exploring this interdisciplinary relationship between the study of medicine and art, the presentation will aim to identify some of the connections which can be made between forms of medical diagnosis and visual analysis.

Maria Grade Godinho
Natural scientific works: In this autobiographical presentation I will start with a perspective on my research background in biological sciences, including positions in five laboratories located at research institutes, universities and in a biotechnology company, extending over three countries. The scientific projects which I have undertaken include sequencing a genome, investigating cell death, examining the response of plants to pathogens and developing diagnostic tools for human epilepsy. Most recently I completed a PhD in neuroscience at The University of Western Australia. My research examined various types of grafts to use in the repair of injured nerves, including cadaveric grafts and grafts with neuronal-supporting cells, sometimes genetically modified by viral vectors to provide trophic support to regenerating neurons. During my PhD I became a collaborator at SymbioticA, a biological art laboratory that critically engages with life sciences. There I taught in the Art & Life Manipulation unit and provided scientific consultancy to residents (artists and academics from humanities and arts). I will also overview projects in which I participated. These interdisciplinary engagements contributed to my decision to shift my research from natural to social studies of science. Currently I am an Honorary Post-doctoral Researcher at the Genomics Forum, Edinburgh University, assessing boundaries between the natural sciences and the arts and using biological artworks to examine the influence on science of collaborations with art.


Penny Travlou and Smita Kheria
Creation and Publication of the "Digital Manual": Authority, Authorship and Voice: In this paper we will present our AHRC Digital Transformations Programme funded project. This project defines the Digital Manual as a model of emergent multi-authored publication employing open source and co-creative practices. The key aim of the project is the development of a multi-disciplinary research network of experts on the topic (academics, practitioners and artists) that, first, interacts on the issues surrounding creation and publication of the Digital Manual during the six month period of the project and, second, is charged with a generative role in determining related research questions and activities thereafter with a view to seeking a longer and larger grant to explore those questions. The development of such a research network is aided and informed by a scoping study of four open source creative communities and a research workshop in early July.

Mel Woods, Debbie Maxwell, Jamie Shek, Diana Bental and Rob Stewart
SerenA - Chance Encounter in the Space of Ideas seeks to understand and model serendipity to transform research processes by proactively creating surprising connection opportunities. SerenA is being designed as a pervasive interactive space split across mobile and public spaces and will deliver novel technologies, methods and evaluation techniques for supporting serendipitous interactions in the research arena. The first iteration, a mobile app, integrates the semantic web with open linked data and a research notebook, informed by a model of serendipity and requirements derived through interviews and diary studies with researchers across disciplines. Subsequent versions will be refined from further study of delightful, affective and emotional design creating an insightful and engaging app for situations and environments, which will enhance knowledge and connections over time. SerenA will relate research and people, within their local environment, to promote things that users did not know they needed to know and aims to facilitate academic researchers who might not have otherwise met and enable them to have new research ideas that they might not otherwise had.

Sue Hawksley
Traces of Places: A short dance for camera made in 2011 by filmmaker Roddy Simpson, choreographer Sue Hawksley and dancer Freya Jeffs. It engages themes of embodied and kinaesthetic memory, and choreographic 'practices of inhabiting'. These practices aim to facilitate the dancer to move through and physically inhabit her embodied memories. In so doing the specific bodily dynamics and mnemonic traces of these memories are re-inscribed in her bodyscape. In this presentation I will show the film and discuss these concepts and practices.

Brigitta Zics
Aesthetic Interactions in Affective Visualisation: This talk explores the notion that Affective Visualisation goes beyond usual data visualisation techniques and represents data dynamically based on the participants affective states. As such, data aesthetics in this case mainly rely on the understanding of the dynamic qualities of human perception and how particular representations might trigger a variety of affective states. With the introduction of the cognitive feedback loop the talk aims to establish a model of aesthetic interaction that expands the notion of technological feedback into a phenomenological model of embodied interactivity. In order to demonstrate this in practice the Affective Visualisation of the Mind Cupola will be introduced. This generates visual representations based on the participant's eye movement. Eye movement research in relation to aesthetics has been widely explored (for example through scanpath) but neglected in relation to real-time technological application. Drawing on outcomes of affective computing and psychological and medical accounts of eye movement research this talk will explore applications where the aim is a to create a meaningful cognitive feedback loop in the participant experience.