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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I017623/1
Title: Danceroom Spectroscopy: collectively generating music from movement
Principal Investigator: Smith, Professor DM
Other Investigators:
Glowacki, Dr D Ashfold, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Watershed Media Centre
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 April 2011 Ends: 31 March 2012 Value (£): 16,167
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
19 Oct 2010 PPE Starter Grants Call 3 DecisionAwaited
Summary on Grant Application Form
Understanding the fundamental patterns and rules that govern how the world functions at a molecular scale drives research in chemistry. In particular, chemical physics is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, and spectroscopy is a fundamental tool for obtaining information about the behaviour and structure of quantum mechanical systems. Spectroscopy is the use of light to obtain information about matter, and has applications in a number of fields including process control, analytical methods, astrophysics, and medicine. In the last 50 years, spectroscopic techniques have been revolutionized by a mathematical method called the fast Fourier transform (FFT). The FFT permits time dependent signals to be easily converted into frequency spectra, and this has lead to tremendous advances in a number of fields, including a number of subject areas within the EPSRC research remit: chemical physics, quantum mechanics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, laser physics, biomedical imaging, and digital signal processing. The Danceroom Spectroscopy project offers an innovative and experiential format for engaging members of the public with the science of frequency spectra, FFT and wavelet analysis, and quantitative feedback. In Danceroom Spectroscopy, the movements of a crowd of dancing people will shape the music they hear. Using cutting-edge robotics imaging technology, computing, and mathematics, an electronica artist (or DJ) will effectively source a 'vibe' from the crowd, which he/she will then be able to incorporate into the dance music. Danceroom Spectroscopy will use three dimensional imaging cameras suspended above a dance floor to track movements in the room, much as if the heads of the participants were making ripples and waves on the surface of a pool of water. Using FFT and wavelet methods, the patterns of these ripples and waves in the gyrating crowd will be transformed to frequency spectra, which will then be fed into music software that the electronic artist can translate into beats and sounds - thus generating music from movement and feeding that music back to the crowd.This project fits with the objectives of the PPE scheme: researchers will carry out public engagement activities that connect directly to their research interests (DRG and MNRA), and training and learning opportunities will be built into the project, providing an innovative manner in which members of the public will engage with a cutting-edge and impactful area of research whose applications saturate our modern lives.Mathematics and science drive much of the progress in the modern world; however, few attempts have been made to explore meaningful ways in which these subjects can interact with live art to engage the public. While recent EPSRC public engagement funding is oriented toward exploring the boundaries of science and art (e.g., the Heart Robot project, and the Everything and Nothing project), the Danceroom Spectroscopy project is unique insofar as it seeks to create a truly interactive and symbiotic experience that immerses public participants in the frontiers between science and art. The Danceroom Spectroscopy project also engages with contemporary societal and cultural issues:(1) People are increasingly subject to surveillance, and Danceroom Spectroscopy is an interesting exploration of these technologies: three dimensional 'surveillance' is effectively the medium for interaction between the crowd and the electronica artist, in order to facilitate shared, meaningful and enjoyable experiences amplified by collective action.(2) Digital technology is being exploited to offer people increasingly individualised experiences that they can control (e.g., iPods, the 'silent disco', etc.). Danceroom Spectroscopy, relying as it does on forms of collective motion and coherence, thus represents a meaningful response to trends in which musical experiences are increasingly atomized
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk