Thursday the 29th consisted of the second day of full workshops at MMU, the topics of which were audiovisuals/VJing and augmented reality. Having already specialised in audio I had almost no experience with either topic, it was therefore an opportunity to learn basics in new areas. The first workshop was on audiovisuals and was concerned with the artistic side of the field which I appreciated. To me there was a clear distinction in purpose where the goal was an explicitly subjective artistic pursuit, which made it easy to relate to since whether or not I appreciated the aesthetic choices was irrelevant. I found that this approach to the workshop resulted in a much more enjoyable experience where it was possible to be motivated creatively. The second workshop was on augmented reality which was another topic which I had no experience with. I am generally interested in new technologies which open up artistic possibilities however I found the second workshop difficult to relate to. Since it was more focused on real-world applications, I found I had to be much more critical of the ideas being presented. It seemed like the most common applications of augmented reality so far were related to unethical data mining, it came across as though the technical or creative sides to the field were often funded as a means to a completely unrelated and dubious end. The workshop provoked a lot of interesting discussion and by that measure it was enjoyable.
The next day on Friday we had planned to spend the day filming material for our project. Since the project involved projecting depictions of wealth inequality it was necessary to compile a large amount of video and on a large amount of topics. We met with Mike in the morning in Subang to begin filming, and later took the train into Kuala Lumpur and a few other places. We took this opportunity to not only compile material for the project but also to experience the city. I really appreciated Mike taking us to some of his personal favourite places which we otherwise would not have found, and it was the best we had eaten so far in the trip. It was enjoyable to contribute to the filming because it is a field which I have almost no experience with.
We have started on the more technical work for the project also. The biggest initial challenge was to interface the Kinect with Ableton, which I had never tried until now. There were some difficulties in setting up the software, particularly as the extent of the topic meant that the Kinect would have to control Ableton rather than triggering sounds in TouchDesigner which I am not experienced with. It was also a challenge to use the Kinect in such a way as to have the sound naturally evolve dependent on the position of the viewer, and not to have it sound forced or disjunct. After the initial difficulties we were able to settle on a program called DPKinect which was able to interface with Ableton well using Max MSP and M4L. We were also able to complete a large portion of the sound design; the next stage will be to further integrate the Kinect and to refine the interactivity through Max.