Collaboration and Group Working 2

For a collaboration project the size that mine is, there are two ways that it can be done. Either close, meaning working in the same room or building and being in the same room, which can benefit from being able to brain storm and can help with planning and revising. Or far, which is what we are doing – working on our own in separate locations and having to keep regular communication (Hutcheon 2001). I believe that working from a far also has its advantages. Due to the fact that we are not together we wont be tempted to fall into always thinking the same thing. Hutcheon also goes on to talk about how it’s important to maintain a separate identity for the success of working together to create a project. I believe this can be very helpful in that it means we keep our own ideas and we are not initially influenced by anyone else. In my opinion good ideas can come from to separate ideas being merged together, not one idea being molded by two people. Hutcheon goes on to say “Ideal collaborators start to sound a lot like those ideal interdisciplinary individuals defined by Julie Thompson Klein as being characterized by reliability, flexibility, patience, resilience, sensitivity to others, risk- taking, a thick skin, and a preference for diversity and new social roles”. All of these factors are ideal and necessary for a successful collaboration. I would like to explain a little about each one.

Reliability

Without reliability collaboration will not work. Especially in my case having to rely on Darren doing the work without me being around, and vice versa.

Flexibility

As with any work flexibility is a key part. Some of my initial ideas have not been able to work and I have had to be flexible to something that will work, especially in the time frame.

Patience

Needed when working with other people in any capacity. People will not be able to do things as quickly as you think about them. As I have mentioned previously as well you need to plan for more time to be taken than usual, needing more patience as well.

Resilience

Possibly one of the more important traits is resilience. Being able to cope when things are going wrong and staying calm will not only help yourself but also the whole team that you are collaborating with.

Sensitivity to others

As well as having your own ideas it is imperative that you are sensitive to others ideas and feelings. Being sure to hear what people have to say and evaluating appropriately.

Risk taking

With more people working together comes more ideas. It also means more people to clean up if something goes wrong. The idea of coming together is to share ideas so it is always worth taking the risk and running with your idea to see how it fits in the project.

Thick skin

Along with the previous comes a need to be thick skinned, especially if your ideas do not get used or if you do something wrong. As I have also mentioned before, not everyone gets along, but you wont get on with anyone without some thick skin.

Diversity

Working in a group means being open to diversity. Being open to roles changing and possibly having a role you may not fully enjoy will help move a project along.

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Collaboration and Group Working

When I started researching collaborative theory I found it quite hard. As Stahl (2013) says there is no one theory of collaboration. However there are many good points from other theories and studies that will help grow my knowledge of collaboration – Some for general collaboration and some more specific to me.

A few points that are relevant are from Eslbach in the article Creative Collaboration and the Self-Concept (2013). First of all they say “To help generate creative solutions, most large corporations encourage workers to collaborate on projects and to act as ‘good colleagues’ by sharing useful information”. This is essentially the most basic form of collaboration, the sharing of ideas and “useful Information” that can help further a creative project – without this there is no collaboration. Later in the article they talk about how collaboration and creativity link and grows through the sharing of different opinions, approaches and problem solving. This meaning that it is the use of another mind that can help solves problems that you alone cannot solve, this can come from having different backgrounds and experience or simply have a different way of thinking. Another point that they mention is that some people don’t work too well together. Their point is that those that can “add economical value through creativity” can be the hardest types to work with. As mush as collaboration can create amazing things and on the whole can lead to bigger and greater projects, it can also be very hard to do any work at all if collaborating with the wrong people. It is a fact of life that some people do not get on, but that is essential to a successful working collaboration. Finally, another factor that they talk about is the social identity of a group. They state, “The role of social identity in facilitating collaborations is clear. Researchers have found that group identification can mediate the relationship between demographic diversity and collaborative behaviors in a workgroup”.

Work In Context

When starting my project the work had a clear context. The first idea of projection mapping was to make this project an installation for others to participate in, choosing and playing songs for the visuals to react to. However due to the timeframe and the restraint that we have had to put on the project it has become a smaller scale idea that can be used to facilitate other projects. For example, this can still be used as an installation on a larger scale by mapping a projection onto a surface and having the dancer move around in the same way but representing the space being projected on to. It can also be used on a smaller scale, such as mentioned when me and Darren were talking. Having a simple screen set up with the character ready to dance and then have some sort of audio input for someone to play music from their phone or MP3 player and have it dance.

A few more interesting Ideas to me would be to use the idea of holographic projection, setting up a large full scale/life size 3d projection much like the one shown at the start of this blog (with the tv) and having people be able to interact with the dancer. Not fully as it will be inside glass but having the projection life size and in 3d would add another level to the project.

My second idea, which is the most interesting to me and my future research, is to use this projection in the realms of Virtual Reality. Having the dancer in a digital environment that you can populate as well, being able to dance with the animated character. This could incorporate a few people and more characters making a virtual disco. Using this with the idea of silent discos could create a complete extension of the real world and being able to manipulate that world in real time leaves the possibilities endless. It should not be viewed as a way of replacing the disco or nightclubs/dance events but as a way of extending, enhancing and augmenting the reality that we know.

Other Works

While researching the work that i wanted to do I had to research work in a similar filed. Beat detection and audio analysis is something that is used quite a lot today especially in the world of VJ’ing. However, a lot of these (such as shown below by Tony Broyez) focus on using music to control patterns, and they are more focused on the frequency of sounds rather than the beat.

Another example shows a version of the same project projected on a larger scale.

 

There is an article on Airtight Interactive that has a section about audio analysis. It gives a lot of insight into beat detection and the use of threshold to register the pulse of the music. This was helpful when I was trying to create my own beat tracking patch in max, however, as stated in the article it is very hard to get reliable beat detection, which is why i chose to use the qm.btrack instead. The article can be found here.

 

This type of beat detection can be used in other contexts as well. LightJams have made it possible to create all sorts of lights with music. A great use that they have documented is an LED light up dance floor that reacts to the music being played.

Having visuals that react to music is a great way to bring the senses together. Having visuals react to the music that you can hear and in some situations feel will give a full sensory emergence.

Final Touches

From testing the final project I have found a few issues which Darren will need to sort out. Firstly being that the lights on the floor are also supposed to follow the tempo of the music which doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment. Secondly, the camera is too close to the character meaning he is not very visible when doing some of the dance moves.

Apart from these few small issues everything seems to be working fine. I am however still trying to figure out of to create some sort of beat or bar tracking to further synchronize the dance moves with the music.

Bibliography

Books

Eco, U., 1989. The Open Work. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Print.

Huxham, C. and Vangen, S., 2005. Managing to Collaborate. New Tork: Routledge. Print.

Manovich, L., 2001. The Language of New Media. Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Print.

Journals/Articles

Elsbach, K. and Francis, F. 2013. Creative Collaboration and the Self-Concept: A Study of Toy Designers. Online. Available at: <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.plymouth.idm.oclc.org/doi/10.1111/joms.12024/epdf&gt;

Hutcheon, L. and Hutcheon M., 2001. A Convenience of Marriage: Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity. Online. Available at: <http://www.jstor.org.plymouth.idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/463540.pdf?_=1463575753422&gt;

Stahl, G. 2013. Theories of Cognition in Collaborative Learning. Online. Available at: <http://gerrystahl.net/pub/clhandbook.pdf&gt;

Whitfield, J. 2008. Collaboration: GroupTheory. Online. Available at: <http://www.nature.com.plymouth.idm.oclc.org/news/2008/081008/full/455720a.html&gt;

Websites

Holorama, 2006. Available at: <https://vimeo.com/150264292&gt;. Online.

LightJams. 2016. Available at: <http://www.lightjams.com/musicToDMX.html&gt;. Online.

Volume Unit. 2013. The Media Workshop. Available At: <https://vimeo.com/82337765>. Online.

Wavetick. Available at: <http://wavesum.net/products.html&gt;. Online.

 

 

Problem Solving

Before Darren was able to update the file however I needed to send him my patch for him to see if it would work with his scripting. There was an issue however in the face that Darren only has a Windows machine and I primarily use Mac which means Darren was unable to use the qm.btrack, which is essential to the beat and tempo tracking. I managed to solve this though by suggesting that he creates another type of tempo input for the purposes of testing, which worked fine in the end.

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