Detlef Bursiek

Detlef Bursiek

Could you come up with a definition of "soundtoys"?

for me, soundtoys are an experiment in translating a graphical element or a mathematical value into sound and vice versa.

What is your project and your work about?

futurizer and fiddle began with a little soundclip. with the fiddle sound there was a strong image of a crazy fiddler in my mind. so i tried to translate the sound loop into the smallest possible size - a fiddler with a height of 10 pixels and 4 colors. the idea in futurizer is to organize sounds in the right order and play your sound with simultaneously creating a real-time videoclip.

How long have you been working in this area?

in interaction, organization of multimedia since 1995.

Were you an artist/ musician first who got into using computers/the net or did you respond to the net in an artistic way?

i was a print-based communication designer first and then by designing in multimedia got interested in the synthesis of sound.

What/ who has influenced you in your work? (themes, other artists etc)

there are two influences: graphical user interfaces as we use them today and on the other hand the way we communicate. those thoughts are very interesting in the work of richard saul wurman, steven johnson and jeff raskin - saul bass for translating the atmosphere of an entire movie into motion graphic, shapes and sound, richard saul wurman for making abstract information visual by translating values into shapes and raskin and johnson for their thoughts on gui and metaphors.

Are there any other artists covering the same field as you?

sure, all those tiny little studies on interaction and haptics by various designers.

Do you see this work as art?
There may be some work you can see as art - for my projects, consider them as studies on interaction and digtality. the aim of my work is rather in searching for a multimedia language than in doing art. anyway, in the process of redefining future interfaces or the way people interact with digital media, art is an important way to go beyond today's interface paradigms.

With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio visual metaphor is so key to the net?
i don't think soundtoys are specific for networks. connecting visual with audio 'shapes' is more a basic research field for digital media.
nevertheless the web can offer a platform for very fast distribution and therefor a faster evolution of experimental studies in any field.

What defines the aesthetics of new interactive music.?

first, digital music and sound created by flat pixelinterfaces directed by a mouse and keypad involves a lack of haptics. we had great decades of really fantastic handcrafted music instruments with a knowledge of materials and manufacturing. so when translating a real piano into a digital onscreen piano, all this smelling, feeling of material is gone. interactive music is the way i interact with any music instrument. what you call new interactive music is digital music for me which is based on series of numbers. these numbers can be translated into any visual shape, position, size, color, rotation - into any behaviour of a "sound shape". that's where the aesthetics lie in this digital music. another point is the input by the user. digital interactive music must not be created by only the fingertip clicking on a plastic input device giving no adequate feedback to what sound i am creating or what is happening on the screen. so there may be an input by sound, temperature, pressure, walking in a room, speech and so on. the output must not be one screen or one set of speakers attached to the screen. it may also be in different parts directions in a room. so when we create digital music without the consciousness of using a computer as in- and output device, i guess we can really find new haptics in music 'instruments'.

How important is the visual aspect in the 'new' relationship of the audio visual?

there's a long story of translating ideas, architecture, music, movement into the possibilities of still media. futurism, the bauhaus, de stijl, swiss new typography were working in translating timebased processes like movement and sound into a 2dimensional product like a poster. visual compositions now don't have to carry the information alone but they are one segment of the whole multi-media 'painting'. so what is new indeed is the whole range of interactive and timebased digital media.

Does the net promote visual awareness that is unique to it?

Today, visuals on the web reflect the printed graphic, so there's no language unique to the internet.

How novel do you feel generative music and interactivity is?
we had some kind of music experiments on the computer since the amiga or the c64 back in the 80s. now we can really work with full-flavoured sound. the idea is far older than digital media. what is new today is the performance.

Do you think there is a history to audio visual work?

Yes, sure, as i told above. when you look at the works of saul bass e.g., you can see that there has been quality in design of sound and visuals before it became so easy with tools like flash to create movement.

Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net.artist, programmer, or none of the above?
None of them, i am a user interface designer.

What software do you use most and why?

Macromedia Director. Its the best tool for designing interaction in detail with the poor programming skills of a designer.

>On a more personal level why do you make this work?
curiousity. there's so much more potential in multimedia, digitality and interactivity. there's much more in computer input and output than we're having these days.

Can you recommend three urls to soundtoys?

awards, festivals: director 7 vector shape contest award for sequencer

Technical details:

Production tools used: director 6-8, soundedit16, photoshop, flash 4
touch the future

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