Frank Feltham & Jeffrey Hannam

Three key challenges for sustainable living point to a pressing need for rethinking how the designed environment can better support physical health and well-being. With the advent of the compact city, it is anticipated that a large proportion of the Australian population will be living in urban centres in medium-to-high density housing. Statistics show that increasing life expectancy has resulted in an aging population crisis, with associated issues of health, work and housing. The third challenge is the minimization of physical activity due to a continual increase in the computerisation of work and leisure. These converging trends signal a rise in sedentary existences, with significant health implications in the physical, mental and social dimensions. Of the already existing common set of physical activities that take place outdoors in public urban spaces (e.g., walking, running, cycling, sports) – we consider there to be more creative possibilities for physical fitness and activity, suitable for a wide range of ages and needs. Add to this the capabilities of devices distributed in the environment to read, measure, track and provide feedback on our location, proximity, gestures and movement patterns. To this end this design studio will look at the agency of the moving body, that is sensed by technologies, to influence sound as a form of creative interactive feedback. The aims of your movement to sound concepts will be to extend the usual range of activities, break habits and encourage a creativity to ameliorate the lifestyle patterns that lead to a sedentary existence. We will start by looking at the fringes of movement in public space, like for example, that of parkour performers, eastern movement practices and other forms of participatory public art to break out of the usual sports based approach to physical activity.

Below is a list of skills and knowledge you will combine in a design research process to create “alternative nows” for creative movement to sound interaction.
• Interrogating cultural practices of movement through a review of literature
• Generating site diagrams to illustrate social movement patterns and sound locations
• Techniques and practice in site sound recording, with Jeffrey Hannam, SIAL Sound Labs
• Movement Workshops with Dr Lian Loke, University of Sydney
• Observing and diagramming the moving body
• Sensing the moving body with accelerometers, collecting data and creating sound
• Prototyping with Max MSP interaction software
• Spatial sound diffusion techniques with Jeffrey Hannam, SIAL Sound Labs
• Emerging Movement based interaction design and technologies
• Developing visual descriptions of the design concepts in poster format
• Writing and compiling this all of these activities and design responses in a research report

These concepts will contribute to research conducted by RMIT in collaboration with the Design Lab, University of Sydney, entitled Sustainable Bodies and Urban Playgrounds. Please note you will not need to have any programming knowledge, all of the software and hardware for the sensing the moving body will be provided in an easy to use format.