Ryan Maksymic

Master's Thesis

Master's Thesis

"Using digital technology to enable new forms of audience participation during rock music performances"

#hardware  #Arduino  #light  #Bluetooth  #lasercutting  #software  #MaxMSP  #ethnography  #usertesting  #music  #performance



Technology has long been used to improve the presentational aspects of a live music performance, but it is less often employed to encourage participation from audience members. This thesis investigated how digital technologies might be used to make rock concerts more participatory. An ethnographic study was first carried out, surveying concertgoers and musicians to identify current attitudes towards audience participation and technology-enabled events. Multiple prototypes were then developed and tested to assess new methods for facilitating audience involvement. The final prototype was created in collaboration with Toronto-based band Christian Hansen and tested at one of their performances. Twelve audience members were given control of onstage lights during the closing two songs of the band's set. To accomplish this, I made use of repurposed Wii controllers, Max/MSP software, laser-cut acrylic rigs, and custom electronics coupled with Arduino. The experiment took place on February 8, 2014 at The Silver Dollar Room, a legendary Toronto music venue.