Investigations on Sonic Affordances: Sound as medium for interactions

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I presented a poster at the Music, Digitisation, Mediation conference in Oxford, on an initial investigation of sound-related affordances and their contribution to sound-movement relationships.

ABSTRACT

Affordance is a concept originated in the field of ecological psychology, described by Gibson as the potential for actions between an animal and its environment. Norman applies this concept in HCI and industrial design, focusing on perceivable possible actions between humans and objects. A perceived affordance constitutes a social signifier, indicators relevant to social usage shared by people.

Sound is a fundamental property of everyday interactions as it contributes to perceive complex affordances. Emerging studies consider sound as a medium for everyday physical, embodied, technological and social interactions.. According to Gaver, sound conveys information on interactions between materials and substances. For Labelle, sound defines relations and thresholds between private and public space. Goodman describes a materiality of affective vibrations created by modern acoustic technologies as political appropriation of sonic domains.

Our practice-based research in sonic interactions, seeks to investigate the validity of analysis of sound-related affordances. In our user studies on embodied sound cognition, participants related sound to physical affordances and social signifiers, such as known musical and everyday sounds. We extend this approach delivering workshops in Sonic Interaction Design and examples of recent sonic arts practices in public space, as a field for investigating sonic affordances.