Part of being in grad school is the amount of knowledge that lives in one single room, and one thing I've been learning a lot about is Interactive Design.
I haven't done any interactive projects in years, as last time I had to do something was using ActionScript 3 and the now defunct Adobe Flash. That wasn't a pleasant experience for me as I'm not a programer. This has changed recently with a different tool. Touch Designer.
For our Visual Story class, we had to create something that would communicate a message, in my case, an easy way out would've been to create a video, some motion graphics or other animation as that's where I'm more comfortable with. That being said, one nice thing about being a student is that all in all, we are in a safe environment, which allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and learn a new tool.
TouchDesigner is a Node based programming tool, which made it a tad easier for me to understand as I'm familiar with such interfaces. The idea for Project Aura - still a working title - is to communicate and demonstrate how some people experience the world in a different way; more specifically people with Synesthesia. At its most basic form, synesthesia is triggering one sense with a different one, meaning the senses are interconnected. One of the most common ones is letters with colours and sounds with colours. Some syntesthetes can see shapes and even feel something by either listening to a sound or a specific smell. Again, this is a very simple way to explain it, but you can find more in depth information about this condition by following this link.
Learning TouchDesigner has been very interesting as it's opening a whole new world of possibilities as what can be done and how to better convey a message. This has become a different tool under my tool belt.
That being said, my process has been constantly evolving as in the beginning I had to go through many hoops to make this work, and not know the software, meant that I was repeating some unnecessary steps over and over. As I got more into it, I was able to streamline and optimize the project file, which makes it easier to understand and to perform with it.
This semester I hope to develop this concept into a full on interactive installation, in which people would trigger different elements on a screen by playing different instruments such as a keyboard, a piano or even a drums set.