KIMA: The Voice - Participatory Art as Means for Social Connectedness

Authors: Gingrich, O., Renaud, A., Tymoszuk, U., Emets, E. and Negrao, D.

Start date: 9 July 2019

KIMA: The Voice propose a sonic and visual composition as act of co-creation, as an ‘open work’ to which everyone can contribute. Working with the raw material of the recordings of a simple sequence of sounds from the human voice and real time voice of the audience, we invite participants to experience tonal harmonies between one another by using their voice. Sonic harmonies as represented visually. For the audience, this facilitates musical collaboration, and social engagement.

With this development, we are looking at mathematically meaningful interrelations between human voices (harmonies, intervals) and what the experience of such harmonies can mean for the individual in a social context. Working together with researchers from the HEartS project investigating Health, Economic and Social impact of the ARTs engagement led by the Centre for Performance Science (a partnership between Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music) we will explore the role the arts can play in increasing the understanding of experiences of social connectedness. Specifically, we will investigate strategies to combine the art piece with measuring experiences of loneliness, connectedness and wellbeing.

KIMA: The Voice focuses on the human voice as a tool for social engagement. Each ‘vocal signature’ and its interaction are captured - an intelligent machine learning algorithm “trains” the system. The more vocal signatures KIMA captures, the more precise the vocal analysis and visual interpretation becomes. The system is capable of learning to differentiate between intricate nuances of the human voice and the pure tones, thereby improving its visual response to sound by offering an increasingly more meaningful and exact visual expression of sound for its audience. At the same time the system is looking at the intervals created between the human voices and pre-recorded sounds, creating a visual interpretation of this complex real-time composition. Each member of the audience can contribute with a tone, a sound to be woven into the overall sonic composition, where all the voices of the audience will collide sonically and visually.

This paper discusses the project KIMA: Voice on a conceptual, technical level and explains how we are looking to integrate novel ways of measuring audience experience, well being, and perceived social connectedness throughout the experience.

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