Young.m.Choi

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Young.m. Choi




Chordal Distance


A sound installation that explores the relationship between two people by connecting the physical act of pulling to music.







Year
2019

Status
MMF 2021︎︎︎
-Awards of Merit


Tools
fabrication - Rhino, CNC
hardware - Arduino
software - Ableton, MaxMSP
Team

Sylvan Zheng Developer

  • Concept Design
  • Software Engineering
  • Music Composer
  • Fabrication


Young-min Choi
Designer

  • Concept Design
  • Interaction & Visual Design
  • Sound Design
  • Fabrication



Performace video
 






Why?






“Can we share feelings through physical force?”











Interaction happens before the conversation: such ‘feeling’ that instantly arise when we touch, see, or even just go near an object. Everyday we are interacting with the world and each other, where interaction is an invisible force between the entities.

Everything in this world forms its own state of equilibrium. The form is defined by the result of finding a balance between multiple forces. We wanted to bring that idea into an installation where relationship could be visualized via different medium.










Opportunity Statement











Can we make a musical instrument that
illuminates the nature of the relationship
between the players?















Ideation




Concept 
Equilibrium




Tension





Reaction






Interaction & Installation
Mechanics of multiple vectors & Tug of war








During this stage, I focused on three main forces which are equilibrium, tension and reaction, and how they could be manifested as a core function of interaction as well as visualized in space.

We used the metaphor of Tug of war - a simple, collective, yet impactful game where all participants can feel the physical force, and rubber band to understand how multiple vectors can form an equilibrium in a space.






First prototype




Initial sketch



Based on the first user testing, we made the first prototype: two wooden handles with load cell, which reads the value of pulling and sends to arduino, connected by rope.







First user testing





We conducted user testing to see how people react to the act of pulling with just two handles connected by rope. As a result, we were able to see the playfulness of interaction, which led us to further improvements.

   

Improvements




Rubber band
From the user testing, we learned that people respond very positively to pulling. In order to make it more fun, we replaced rope with rubber band to improve playfulness.

Dog leash
For better access to the handle as a physical installation, dog leash was added to make the handle suspended, instead of picking up from the table.






Second user testing














Improvements


To capture the diversity of interaction, we conducted a second user testing with rubber band and dog leash. The result was way more positive than our expectation. Users showed wide spectrum of usage, and we moved on to the sound design to map this behavior to the music.




Previous version



Overall user testing and feedback







a. Interaction Design

How to improve playfulness?




b. Environmental Context

How can people approach and explore the space?




c. Sound Design

How should music be designed to the interactions?




d. Accessibility

How to make it more accessible?





-> Rubber band, Dog leash





-> Suspended handles





-> Vibrant & Tense





-> Ergonomics, Adjustable height










Second prototype & Sound design

























Fabrication process








The handle is composed of a load cell, an arduino, a hook, and a LiPo battery, and a switch. The wood is separed into top and bottom parts using tension fit. CNC is used to carve out the wood. The main challenge was to make a design that that could be as ergonomic and light as possible so that it could be hanged using tension of the string.







Physical installation






Two wooden handles hang suspended at chest height, connected to each other with a simple band. We invite participants to explore the subtle musical shifts in tone and harmonic texture throughout the varying positions and tensions afforded by the installation.






Interaction




As the two participants negotiate their mutual physical equilibrium music responds to the surges in tension, releases, and twists highlighting the nature of their relationship. While the installation affords this personal experience to the participants it also serves as a performance for a larger audience to engage with.


Review


Regardless of age and gender, people have responded positively and playfully to the unusual interaction.

Depending on all kinds of relationship - family, strangers, lovers, friends - the interactions varied a lot, making the music respond differently.








Special thanks to:

Aidan Fowler, Tom Igoe
Testers: Henry Wang, Jan Suphitcha, Katie Han, Sue Roh, Tina Rungsawang
& People who participated for testing at ITP Winter show 2019 :)