As part of our ongoing work with Heart n Soul we have embarked on the delivery of a new programme called SoundLab. At heart this project is about digital expressivity.
SoundLab is a highly interactive process of investigation, where artists, technologists and technology come together to try and find better solutions for enabling digital expressivity using affordable hardware and software for people with learning disabilities.
Our first SoundLab series was focused around a challenge - how could we deliver a great collaborative sound and music experience for party go-ers at the Beautiful Octopus Club at the Southbank Centre.
To meet that challenge we plotted out four half day sessions that would bring a very diverse group of participants together to try different solutions in a lab like way, and to keep improving those solutions until we had something that would work in a noisy club with a bunch of excited people for whom we were just one of many experiences on offer.
Each lab had a focus that we felt would move us towards a solution. We started with testing software/apps that we felt would aid collaboration. We then moved to testing different human groupings with the successful apps, individuals, duos, trios and so on. Sometimes we worked like a band, sometimes with one person affecting the music made by another, and any other configurations we could think of. We then focused on the hardware that would support the best experiences. In the final session we brought together our best solutions and tested them again but with new people who were coming fresh to the experience.
The lab process is a great one for uncovering assumptions and it was clear to us that the solutions we thought would work before the four labs were not the ones that actually worked. In the end we took three new interactive experiences to the Beautiful Octopus Club and are just in the process of improving these in our second SoundLab series that will culminate in a night at the Squidz club.
We made a little website to accompany our SoundLab work so far and to help people get started with digital sound and music making.