The Xth Sense workshop just ended. It was an exciting experience. We have been hosted by the almighty NK Berlin, an established independent venue for experimental music, DIY electronics and the likes.
During three days we have been building some Xth Sense biosensors from scratch, installing and trying out the Xth software and shortly training on biophysical gestural control of music. Definitely a lot to do for three days only!
It was the first time the Xth Sense was unveiled in such detail; on one hand, the sensor hardware proved to be fairly easy to build, also the participants who had not much prior experience with electronics and soldering successfully built their own sensors; on the other, I realized the software needs to be much more portable; we spent too much time dealing with the paths of the required libraries, and I eventually realized that we were struggling with a known bug!
Too bad. Lesson 1: check bug trackers regularly.
I was pretty satisfied of our workflow, although I realized three days are not enough to achieve the ideal format of such workshop. Eventually everyone built his own sensor and the Xth software was up and running on almost all the machines. The only real problem was to get the software working on two Mac G4.
It seemed that they couldn’t run the software because of too high CPU usage, thus, after some unlucky trials and on-the-run optimization of the software, we had to work on some other laptops.
Lesson 2: although sometimes is cool to be able to use a very old machine, make sure beforehand nobody is using one of them during your workshop.
It was extremely satisfying to see my students playing around with the system on the last day. It was good to confirm that the Xth Sense have an actual potential to extend the portability of biosensing technologies and gestural control to a wider audience. I wish we had more time for the hands-on training. Observing how each individual differently relate to sound had always fascinated me, and a course based on such bodily paradigm provides a transparent insight on the different expectations and skills of each one.
Lesson 3: DIY is good, but remember to leave enough time for the fun.
Want to thank the guys at NK, they have been extremely helpful and lovely companions. I’ll have to come back soon to Berlin for another workshop session.