Pocket Gamelan > Workshop by Greg Schiemer

30 06 2008

Pocket Gamelan: collaborative games as sound design

In this workshop presentation I will explore the nature of game interaction in various collaborative scenarios where the game outcome takes the form of interactive sound design. In such scenarios the focus is on game strategies — or processes that define interplay between groups of people – and the role of these processes in the production of sound.

Such games offer alternative rewards for players because there are no spectators, only participants who are collaborators rather than contestants. In order to illustrate this approach to game design, I will coordinate several group activities in this workshop culminating in a collaborative sound spectacle called “Mandala 7” which is created using 16 bluetooth-enabled mobile phones.

My approach owes much to sound works created by English composer Cornelius Cardew in the late 1960s for an ensemble of non-expert players known as the Scratch Orchestra. The Pocket Gamelan, a set of networked mobile instruments that I developed as music software for mobile phones, was also intended to be played by non-expert players. Playing the Pocket Gamelan involves new strategies for collaborative sound design using a technology that is easy to play, quick to learn and accessible to large numbers of people.