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UAL Research Online

The Ouija Board

Gardner, Thomas (2006) The Ouija Board. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Gardner, Thomas

‘The Ouija Board’ is a group musical instrument based on the real-time analysis of the movements of a group of people by video camera. It is musical instrument for live group improvised sound performance, based on ideas initially developed by the poet James Merrill (‘The Changing Light at Sandover’, 1982) which documents ‘voices’ experienced by means of an ouija board.

The research is located within a number of paradigms within sound art that span the divide between practice-led artistic research and engineering-led human computer interface.

The electronic musical instrument has at its core an innovative interface modelled on the ouija board which enables the hand movements and gestures of its performers to be translated into audible sounds events. The aesthetic and operational philosophy that animates the instrument ensures that, firstly, it is the relationship between the reciprocally acting performers which are rendered into acoustic events and, secondly, rather than behaving in the more conventional fashion of an individual tactile device, ‘The Ouija Board’ works as a communal visual instrument. In this sense its operation reverses the assumptions that underpin Pierre Schafer’s concept of ‘objet sonore’ since the instrument makes sound active and visibly responsive to social relationships.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Ideas for developing an interface along the lines of ‘The Ouija Board’ were initially scoped in a paper for ‘Southwest Review’ in 2003 (88.2-3) which is referenced in Claudia Ingram’s paper in ‘Twentieth Century Literature’ in 2005.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 11 September 2006
Related Websites: http://www.automaticwritingcircle.co.uk/ouija.html, http://www.lcc.arts.ac.uk/Thomas_Gardner_research.htm
Related Websites:
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
‘Digital Live Art’conference, Queen Mary, University of London, U.K.2006
‘Visiones Sonoras International Festival’, Centro Cultural Universitario, Mexico.29 September 200629 September 2006
presented at the at the ‘Music and Evolutionary 'Thought’ conference, Durham University, U.K.21 June 200723 June 2007
Daylight Music Festival, London, U.K.15 December 200715 December 2007
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 14:01
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2010 10:32
Item ID: 1533
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1533

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