Pioneering Digital R&D arrives with the ‘Furniture Music’ Opening Event

Pioneering Digital R&D arrives with the ‘Furniture Music’ Opening Event

Things continue to get ever more experimental at the LEVEL Centre with the continuation of a 3-year digital Research & Development programme designed to augment and extend the existing digital projects created for people with learning disabilities.

Furniture Music Comp 1 HD B&WFirst up this month on Friday 29 April from 7.30pm at the LEVEL Centre is the ‘Furniture Music’ opening event showcasing an installation created by Dr Toby Heys, Digital Technologies Research Fellow at MIRIAD, Manchester School of Art. In line with LEVEL’s increasing focus on R&D, the installation uses sound as a sense and explores our reactions to sound at the very edge of, and just beyond, our perception. HUGE speakers have been built by TRACTION Sound in Brighton, which are housed in purpose built chairs and objects, each making sounds at the edge of the limits of human hearing.

Being a research project, and given the project will be overlaid and coloured in to become a typically LEVEL Special Project experience, what happens with Furniture Music is difficult to predict precisely, but visitors should expect that the use of low frequency and very high frequency sound may make them feel uncomfortable and slightly stressed, which will be an important part of the experience.

Next up later in the Spring is a project currently in development at LEVEL, ‘Touch:See:Hear’, created by Dr Lewis Sykes, Research PhD at MIRIAD.

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Supported by an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship, this 13-week, full-time project aims to prototype a bespoke, interactive environment for users of the LEVEL Centre with learning disabilities. More than just an immersive multi-sensory experience, this is a distinct artwork with a purpose – a tool for individual and group audiovisual composition.

While LEVEL has a wealth of experience and expertise in ‘guided’ creative activities they also have a remit to develop ‘autonomous’ multimedia and creative technologies. ‘Touch:See:Hear’ responds to key questions raised through this emerging programming – ‘How might learning disabled adults engage with playful multi-media and multi-sensory environments embedded into the fabric of the building?’ and ‘What unique benefits might this type of activity realise?’ LEVEL’s unique appreciation of the nature of learning disabled adults’ ‘usual’ engagement with interactive multimedia and creative technologies means that the LEVEL team are equipped to observe the level of reaction and engagement to try and work out who does what and why, even if ‘Kinect controller’ is all they currently understand about the project’s complex tech spec.

New LEVEL Board Trustee Chelsey Everatt, Arts Development Officer for North Lincolnshire Council, says: “To have such a specialist arts organization dedicated to people with learning disabilities is truly special and the people of Derbyshire are very lucky to have such a unique opportunity on their doorstep. I look forward to seeing LEVEL’s work continue to have a wide impact outside Derbyshire and the East Midlands. Apart from the obvious resource of the building itself, there is a huge amount of knowledge and skills within the organization to be shared with others nationally and internationally.”

Furniture Music’ opens on Friday 29 April, 7.30-9pm at the LEVEL Centre and will feature talks, performances and bar. The installation will be open to the public from 2 May-23 June, Monday to Thursdays excluding Bank Holidays. Entry is free.