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The Proposal of Late Show

This is link of the Late Show’s recording process, which contains some pictures and notes that i write on.

Seven Stories Proposal:

Seven Stories is the national home of children’s books. Everything they do celebrate children’s books, their creator and reader. Many of the best loved books for children and writer by British authors and illustrators. Changing the lives of those who read and enjoy them. They select original artwork and manuscripts form first scribbles to finished books to create their innovative exhibitions and popular events. Seven Stories’ unique exhibitions, lively events and playful activities bring children’s book to life – every day for everyone – making it a place to remember.

In the studio space, curator of Seven Stories give us some introduction about this space and Seven Stories. And different floors have different story topic, which using creative way to display the process of writing story, also engaging different type of audience with different activities and events.

As for the proposal of the Late Show, which should be inspired form one place of Seven Stories with creative thinking to make project that could connect and response to children’s book .

1. Idea discussion.

The idea discussion about the Late show. The idea of the Late Show which around some key words, such as interactively and creative experience. According to different exhibition topics of Seven Stories, we got a lot of ideas. The most I interest in is the story about bear which always are written in story and described as human’s friend. In terms of the idea about bear, which has ‘Teddy Bear as a boundary creature: not a fucked up doll’, ‘disserting Teddy Bears’, ‘Teddy Gets An Operation’, ‘Teddy Bear anatomy’, ‘the movie Teddy’, ‘Teddy talks: a proper Ted Talk’, ‘Teddy Talks’, ‘Teddy Bear support groups, group therapy’, ‘Teddy Bear Picnic At Hanging Rock’, ‘Teddy Bear night out in Big Market’……

The original idea I had that around ‘Teddy Talks’ with anthropomorphic way that teddy bear can talk about some story about itself to engage different type visitors……

However, I realized that ‘Teddy Talk’ just base on the talk and listen, which I think that this kind of activity not interesting enough and might not that could response the ethos of Seven Stories. Although Teddy Bear be a ‘Talk Person’ is interesting to audience, it is important to note that the way of audience get story still with normal way. Therefore, continue with the topic of Teddy Bear, I try to come up with some ideas that could involve audience in show and response Seven Stories’ ethos…

2. Puzzle Game.

The inspiration of this idea is adventure. Also some stories star with adventure. Because, adventure is mysterious and challenging for the ‘hero’ of story and reader, such as “Peter Pan”. In addition, in some degree I think that the process of writing a story also an adventure for every writer. Therefore I plan to use the idea of adventure in this projects – puzzle game. Comparing with the traditional puzzle game, this one is different. For the traditional puzzle game, the segments of puzzle could be provide, the player just need to think about the segments place in puzzle. As for this puzzle game, it needs player find the segments in Seven Stories by themselves first. And the process of finding segments is more likely an adventure game that lead audience go and explore something unknown. It might stimulate their curiosity and make them involve into activity actively.

However, there are two points I remind myself when in design this game. Firstly, the process of find segment could not too complex, which might influence participants’ enthusiasm. Secondly, there need an outcome (Bear’s pictures and stories) after participant found segments and finished puzzle, which as an aim for participants that could promote them.

The idea about putting the segments into box, which is inspired from the ‘treasure box’. It is a metaphor segments are treasure that participants could get after they find box and open it, which also a part of adventure could attract visitors.

The place consideration is Studio Space where Seven Stories suggest a participatory work that visitors can interact with….

Reflection of HSS8121

This is link of reflection, which contains pictures and notes that i write on.


To be honest, I had confusion about this module in the early. Every lecture of this module, there was a guest speaker presented their project and research area. But some subject area is very new to me, although I felt it very meaningful and interesting, I had no idea how can those things useful to me. Such as the practice we did with Serena Korda. We put device and receive signal form Jupiter. Then we recorded the voice form this signal. It is amazing and I am very excited. However, the follow practice is that using different ways to edit the recording sound. Actually, in that time, I was not sure what should I did, what I would get and what for.

After that, I try to not just think about the content of those research, but think about the research its. Then, I realized that it is a question I should be addressed by myself, also it is the thing that I could learn from this module – research and exploring.

For myself, I might ignore the important and meaning about research. Early, research for me is more likely to seek something I need. Also, design is the thing about how to response the demands of customers when I did interior and landscape design. And in graphic design, I more likely to seek a beautiful visual effects. Although visual effect is an important part of design, sometimes I will lose the value and meaning of design. That is the limitation of my thinking.

From this module, it reminds me the important of research. And I realized the meaning of research in our creative project. In the process of research, it not only about to seek the things that we need, but it more focus on finding new things and relationship between them with exploring and wild thinking. Such as the creative project which called Yossarian, it is a search program and attempt to find the possibility relationship between every key words. And the concept of this project is that developing ideas. According to this, I realized that every idea not just on side, and try to stand in different position to think about it and find the different possibilities.

What more, research not only happen in the academic area, but it also needs us to concern in everyday life. When you walking on the street, try to listen and observe the environment around you, or when an ice cube melt in your mouth and hand, concerning about your reflecting, thinking deeply and research deeply. And I believe that I could explore more possibilities.

HSS8121 Interface Critique

Since I ended up learning a lot about interaction design in a short space of time, I figured it might be interesting to take a look at some of the programs and websites I use a lot and see how they measure up to some of those criteria for good design. Let’s see which ones come out on top!
Warning: may contain frivolous misapplication of design criteria and bad comparisons.

1. Adobe InDesign
Professional desktop publishing software
The number of clicks required to achieve any goal is usually very few, generally 1-2 to find the tool you need and 1-2 more to apply it. Considering the sheer volume of things you can do, does this make it a ‘generous interface‘? You can accomplish a ridiculous number of things in very fine detail, using only the buttons available on the main screen, but considering how tiny they are and how very few of them can be used intuitively without going through a lengthy tutorial or spending 20 minutes googling them first.  InDesign does its job perfectly, but you really have to work for it. Which I suppose isn’t that bad a verdict, for a piece of professional design software.

Pros: mediates a lot of content simultaneously, good on both big picture and fine detail
Cons: interface must be courted with caviar and roses before it will consider helping you
Final Score: 7 out of 10

2. Runescape
Online MMORPG I’ve been playing too much of lately

I know MMOs are complicated, but seriously, how many different menu tabs do you need? How many different kinds of menus do you need? Zoom in on this screenshot and you’ll see icons for combat styles, daily tasks, skills, quests, armour, inventory, 9 different kinds of chat settings, friends, groups, contacts, settings, emotes, music, health, money… it just goes on.

I suppose it gets credit for having that many things onscreen without the game becoming unusable. I like this game, but considering that I’m already paying to play it I don’t enjoy the nagging suspiciousthat its much better at showing me the content that encourages me to spend more money than how best to experience what I’ve already paid for.

Pros: provides the comforting illusion of setting yourself goals and then achieving them
 the interface and the mechanics feel like they’re getting in the way
Final Score: 5 out of 10

3. Youtube

Video browsing website

A bit more alike in form to the digital archive/collection interfaces I’ve been studying, because it mediates content in a more linear way. Following this train of logic, I suppose Youtube is a pretty strong interface, given how easily and enjoyably you can get sucked into browsing material for extended periods of time, which includes discovering things you didn’t intend to search for. Pretty good on the ‘big picture -> subsection -> individual piece of content’ front too. Shame about the algorithms that recommend new content though; for my money they present you with videos that are too narrowly similar to the ones I’ve already been watching.

Making a channel, uploading videos and making playlists is much worse though, partly because the things you do as a browser and the things you do as a content creator are needlessly entangled. The screenshot above represents my channel, but only about a quarter of the visible screen deals with uploading and posting videos at all.

Pros: easy and intuitive to start browsing, and keep browsing for ages
you’ll mostly find more of the same, and managing a channel is much less intuitive
Final Score:
 8 out of 10 for browsing, 4 for uploading


4. Steam
Digital storefront and library for PC video games

I’ve always thought of Steam as the iTunes of video games, and I’ve generally liked it a lot more than iTunes and the other musical equivalents like Google Play that I’ve tried. Those always try harder to show me new things I might buy than to make it easy to navigate the songs I already have. On the other hand, Steam divides the storefront and the things I’ve bought from the storefront into two categories (and does a better job of handling dual purposes than Youtube).

As far as the storefront goes, its easy to search specifically and browse generally. The presentation of the library is lacklustre, but then again, it only has to represent a list of things you’ve already paid for, so chances are you know the contents pretty well already.

Pros: looks nice, handles the store/library distinction well
recommendation algorithms have the opposite issue, casting the net a bit too wide
Final Score:
 8 out of 10

And the winner is… 
hard to say really. As much as they could all stand to do certain things more intuitively, is it really in their best interests to do so? Arguably they are all generous, browseable & aesthetically pleasing to the extent they need to be, and no more. This was probably a doomed enterprise from the outset, but its been interesting to think about the interfaces I unthinkingly use in a more critical way, even if I mostly just ended up venting.

Seven Stories – The Late Shows

As part of the Enterprise and Research methods module the CAP team made an appearance at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Stories as part of Newcastles and Gateshead’s famed culture crawl. Mike Hurst and Lewis Brown equally brought an interesting, entertaining and engaging range of demonstrative and thought provoking performances and installations.

During the night I helped document activities in Seven Stories (yes that’s a lot of stairs) and tried to capture the engagement of those around me. In this post i’ll attach some photographs taken on the night:




DMS8013 Log#2; Study Buddy

The first and perhaps most difficult of the three artifacts asked for as part of DMS8013, was the ‘Study Buddy.’ A arduino device that was fairly simple on the outside, but the interior of which took some wrangling to get work.

Study Buddy, ver.1

The basic idea behind the Study Buddy was a small device that could be kept on a desk or bedside which would provide uplifiting and perhaps even helpful phrases to those struggling and stressing over exams, assessments, and general university life. This would be achieved with a simple interface and LCD screen linked to a pair of breadboards and arduino.

The first issue to overcome was a matter of flickering encountered on the LCD screen. As it turns out, rather than having a set contrast, the LCD instead dedicates one of its pins to controlling it. This pin, if simply provided with nothing but voltage, creates negative feedback that causes a distorted and constantly flickering screen. Usually this can be controlled using a potentiometer, however I simply wanted it set to maximum contrast at all times. There was no need in the design for it to be alterable. This problem was soon overcome through the use of a voltage divider gate, using a set of 10k and 220 resistors. This not only ensured the voltage and display was constant, but also stopped the feedback and eliminated any flicker.

Next, an interface was needed. In the original design I opted to use a potentiometer that would allow users to “point” to a green, yellow, or red LED to signify whether things were going good, fair, or badly respectively. By setting up an analog read with the potentiometer, and then mapping that result to one of three integers, it was possible to selectively make the LCD display different messages depending on which LED was being pointed at. The LED itself would, naturally, light up when pointed at to signify which choice had been made. The next step was to create a bank of responses which would be randomly chosen so as to not create a stale experience that would quickly lose its effectiveness. However, aspects of the interface designed bothered me. It was difficult to tell exactly where the potentiometer was being pointed, there was no default or ‘resting’ position, and overall it did not feel very intuitive to use. Testers would look at it, and dial the potentiometer too much, causing a smattering of messages that lost their effect when being so jumbled up.

Study Buddy, ver.2

Aside from changing up the orientation of the LCD in relation to the rest of the device, it now also uses a series of three buttons instead of a single potentiometer. These buttons do not require any sort of read feature in the code, but did instead need a larger array of integers to track whether they had been pushed or not, and to cycle through responses. These additional integers (what digital pin on the arduino they were connected to, the current switch state, previous switch state, and reply) form the bulk difference in code between versions 1 and 2 of the study buddy. Happy enough with the design, it was time to create an actual bank of responses.

The bank required use of the switch/case function which allows for a variety of different code to be executed depending on the pre-set conditions. In this case, when one of the three buttons is pressed. To actually randomise the result, the function of the same name would be used to select a random number, inserted that into the reply integer and pick a response based on that reply. Each button ended with three different responses, and though each one was longer than the 32 characters the LCD screen can display at any one time, through the use of delay functions and resetting the screen, it was possible to have a sort of scrolling message. After the message was done, the LCD would revert back to its default screen, asking how the user and presenting them with three options that lined up with the buttons and LEDs. Much like with the first version, the LED would light up when its respective button was pushed.

The responses themselves needed to be a mixture of encouragement and hopeful messages. It felt only proper to make the red and yellow (the ‘bad’ and ‘fair’ choices) the longest and most detailed, since it would be those that were struggling and stressing the most that would have the most use for the study buddy. However, praise for a job well done is also very important to encourage continued good work. It was for this reason that a ‘good’ response was included at all.

A brief musical interlude

In a welcome brake practice (i.e. writing things on my laptop and occasionally going to poetry gigs) I actually went outside today and made some music in the sun, helping my old buddy from Newcastle Allstars Steel Orchestra host a musical workshop at Harambee Pasadia Afro Fusion Music & Dance Festival today.

Aaaand just to prove I was actually there and teaching music, some photos:



DMS8012: Performing my _hackedKeyboard$^/colourNEON;


So last Saturday I performed on the hacked keyboard that I made for the Live Electronic Performance module, at one of the Newcastle Late Shows’ events here in the Culture Lab ballroom. I’m pretty happy with my performance- I found my instrument to be dynamic enough to improvise with and produce a captivating sound. Though, there are several things I would change if given the opportunity again.

First off, I spent a good deal of time painting my device and making it look all nice, and then when it came to performing, I was plonked high up on a stage where it was above any of the audience’s view. A solution to this problem would be to perform in a more inclusive space, perhaps down lower on the ground with the audience all around me. I might also solve this issue by performing with a camera projecting a bird’s eye view of my set up behind me. Linking on to this tangent- if I were to use projections I might also be able to make it so that pressing keys on my device not only played a sound, but also manipulated the display (like in patatap) as an additional visual stimulus.

Also ‘like patatap,’ I do think it’d be better to have a second bank of sounds as opposed to only one as it is mapped now. I felt my performance was a little short, and this may have been because I was overly concerned at my limited resources getting stale. I think this could be overcame by creating a second mapping of the capital letters, and re-attaching the ‘CAPS LOCK’ key as a sort of toggle between the two banks. There would even be a light to indicate which mode the keyboard is in if I were to pursue this.

There is a lot of un-used space on my device in the void created by all the unnecessary keys I removed. I could potentially envisage these spaces being filled up with touch sliders controlling master parameters such as pitch, volume and effects. Again, this would give my device more range and playability. I had some real issues getting Arduino boards to work with my operating system during the course of this project, though connecting these sensors to Pure Data as sensors via Arduino would be one means of accomplishing this.

I get the feeling that I’m only just dipping my toes into this world, but with that said I am confident in my understanding of it. I believe that even with my meagre abilities I could find my way to realising an idea. There is an open-source culture of sharing one’s experiments in this realm, and as such, it is conducive to working beyond your means- which is always a desirable space for an artist.


MUS8161: Studio Improvisation

For the ‘Free Music Practice’ module we were given a wide array of choice with what we could submit. This was a hard choice, particularly considering I have a number of active improvisation practice projects as it is. I chose to pursue writing an album for mine and Alexei Crawley’s metal band, ‘k//hORdE’.
This project didn’t begin with improv in mind, it sort of happened by accident. It started with a talk by Prof. Will Edmondes (who is also the head of the Free Music Practice module) on ‘Black Metal, Gnosticism and The Body’. Above all we left this talk feeling inspired to create something horrible sounding in the studio, calling on our backgrounds in metal/hardcore that neither of us were utilising at the time. The first song we recorded was ‘semi-planned’ and by that I mean we had a couple of riffs and some lyrics in mind before we entered the studio, but that was it. We realised that the spontaneity of this method served really well for the project, and also made it stick out from other extreme metal acts. After several more studio sessions, producing as many new songs and leading to a performance (as part of the Contemporary Music Practice module in my Undergraduate Degree), I have been desperate to record/create something on a larger scale (i.e. an album).
I knew I wanted this album to epotimise the urgent, sporadic nature of the k//hORdE creative process, so I only booked 12 hours of studio time (of which we only used 8). Nothing was planned prior to these sessions, creating a tense atmosphere, which I think is great for creating intense music (seems a little obvious after writing it down). If I were to say we had a system it would be something like: decide mood, decide tempo, decide starting instrument (usually guitar or synth, sometimes bass), improvise the ‘song’ in parts. I realise that because we record the instruments separately that the drums and vocal aren’t 100% improvised as we’ve had time to listen to the initial instrumental tracks. However, these parts are still created in the same spirit, entailing one or two listens to the guitar/synth, followed by a one take ‘improvisation’ of the new part (sometimes two takes if there’s a really big ‘mistake’). These tracks are then treated ‘traditionally’ and produced (sometimes quite heavily), with added effects and layers. The quick nature of the process has led to a really mixed album (in style and lyrical content), inspiring me to name it ‘sPOrAdICA’.

Whilst I am very happy with the end result from this project, there are maybe a few things I would change. The inconsistent tone is a slight niggle for me. Although it’s indicative of the album’s process and our attitudes at the time of recordings, I feel an urge to separate the jokey songs from the more serious ones. Maybe this is something for future projects though. I think to tear the album apart would detract from the process with which we made it. This is a frequent dilemma that stems from the very nature of improvisation. When recording improvised music the outcome is (almost) always a surprise, and therefore can lead to personal problems with it on closer inspection. The tendency as a ‘conventional’ musician and producer is to alter something and make it perfect, but so often the charm lies within imperfection and that’s how I feel about this album.

I also created some artwork for this album, in a similarly urgent approach to the music. It is made of a picture of myself dancing to Kanye West’s ‘Freestyle 4’ with a mouthful of Wasabi Popping Candy… This was then edited using pixlr, by messing around with distortions, colour, hue/saturation and opacity filters. It’s then layered with some logo work I produced last year in a similar manner.

You can listen to the album here:


Please do NOT share publicly, this is a private link and we do plan to release the album through our label, Real Sesh Records.

Reflections on HSS8121


I must confess there were several occasions which I forgot that this module even existed given how infrequently we met for it, though in reflection it’s completely changed my perspective. Previously I have always resented having to participate in research a little here at university. Before I ever made my choice to come to Newcastle I always said: “if I ever go to university it will be to study music.” I think at the time, I didn’t really understand how ‘research’ might have fitted into that picture- and my attitude has probably reflected that ever since, until I began to see it under a new light.

There’s something about the dry academicness of the term that is a real turn off for me. Though it has implications of trawling through mountains of literature and drawing complicated histograms, neither of which interest me particularly- “research” is just a word describing the process of ‘finding out things you don’t already know,’ and I love doing that. I suppose that realisation defines my outtake from this module really.

One of the aims of this module was to encourage us to find our own ways in which research relates to our practice. For me I think it’s about inspiration. Doing ethnography exercises around town allowed me to observe the usually unseen; highlighting some potentially interesting artistic directions. Sampling sounds broadcast from Jupiter with Serena Korda made me realise the scale of all the un-tapped resources yet to be explored. These were both examples of research, and contrary to my prior opinions, it was exciting.

Thanks to this course, I am now less inclined to think of myself as a musician, than an ‘artist.’ I’d posit that’s probably due to the prevalent attitude towards ‘research through design’ here in Culture Lab. It’s strange how doing something that at first appears unrelated can show you something new about your own stuff. I’ve already began planning how I might incorporate this thinking into my work: me and Garry are thinking holistically about this entire album that we’re wanting to make this Summer (for the first time ever really). I had the idea of doing a spin on one of those chart things that artists do in the studio where they tick off when the guitar is recorded, and then vocals, and so on… except for our one, we could have more abstract criteria like ‘atmosphere’ or ‘edginess’ to push us to think more laterally about the project; perhaps leading to provoking results.

Speaking of lateral thinking, one of the more notable occurrences for me during this module was discovering the Yossarian ‘creative‘ search engine. I’ve already used it to come with ideas for my Research Proposal, and that commissioned opportunity at Seven Stories. I also found the talk about meeting with potential investors interesting that week, though unfortunately I felt that much of the entrepreneurial material offered to us on this module didn’t really pertain to my idea of what I’m going to be up to when this is all said and done. I appreciate it must be hard to cater to everyone’s position though, and the tailored advice we’ve been receiving from Generator these last few months has left me feeling anything but lacklustre.






HSS8121: Seven Stories

We all wanted to be a hero.

I was always wanting to a superhero to save the world.

But the thought just faded out as I grows up.

Seven Stories just reminded me of all my childhood dreams.

Then I decided to help others remind their dreams.

I will use the projector and costumes to help the adults remember their childhood dreams.