Hanna Schraffenberger > Orientation #106


Hello, I am Hanna Schraffenberger – an artist, scientist and inventor interested in all kinds of media technology – especially enthusiastic when those are related to music. More than 10 years ago I was told that ‘real electronic composers’ use apple computers for making music. As I could not afford one of those computers I did built an electric circuit and included a real apple in it as a variable resistor and spent days making music with that apple-instrument. Now I am 27 and I have graduated in ‘Audiovisual Media’, my interest in science grew and in the meantime I got my own laptop to make music with. However the pleasure of trying out new things in the fields of music, media art, science and technology is still inspiring me to do all kinds of projects which often include but do not focus on a computer. For example: the Wall of Sound (a multitouch multiplayer musical instrument), the Glass Beat Game (an interactive board-game which makes sound depending on how you place marbles on the board),  Beatnik (an genetic algorithm which generates drum beats and modifies them due to the judgment of the listener), OpenMic (a computer game played by making sounds in front of the microphone) and the Formamat, a vending machine that gives chocolate for deleting personal data. Most of those projects are realized in my current studies – the MSc Programme ‘Media Technology’. Next to those projects I am playing in various ensembles for free improvised electroacoustic music, usually switching between the computer and the saxophone. I also have my own blog about free improvised music (www.improvised.de) and a website about my works in media art, science and technology (www.creativecode.org).

Coming to STEIM I was mainly interested how I could get rid of “looking at the computer screen while playing live music with the computer”. As I have been playing around with alternative input devices (Wii, Arduino boards with light sensors,…) for some time I was interested  how to develop meaningful mappings between input and output and how to find an personal musical language using the computer. Also, I was wondering if I would encounter a nice existing technology which will allow me to easily combine saxophone playing with computer playing without the need to switch between the both.

Now that I am finally participating in the orientation workshop at STEIM, the workshop has not only answered but exceeded all my expectations! It addressed all of my original interests but also constantly rises new questions and provokes ideas for future experiments. As I have been student assistant for courses such as Human-Computer Interaction and Sound Space Interaction I now can see possibilities of using the technology developed by STEIM in educational environments. It was highly interesting to see how other artists have developed input interfaces and especially how they have mapped input values to parameters of the LiSa software… I was especially impressed how they came up with setups which do not require looking at the screen. The diversity of musicians and talks has been very inspiring and I am looking forward to the following talks.

I am sure the demonstrated junXion software will allow me to work musically instead of technically much faster in future projects.  Inspired by the presentations, I plan to use an Arduino Fio board in order to build a wireless controller which allows me to play with the Saxophone and computer at the same time.

Additional to the great lectures and demonstrations it was especially fruitful to meet and improvise with the other course participants  (Erik Spanger, Matt Wakefield and Abdullah Benabdallah). Exchanging experiences, opinions and of course jamming together added a nice “active” component to the theoretical parts of the workshop. Especially the common improvisation on Friday afternoon is one of my STEIM-time highlights. See for yourself!

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