The Compass - Frauke's notes from the presentation

These notes mainly focus on Atau's previous projects, for more detail regarding the Compass, please refer to the proceedings that will be online soon. Over the last years Atau has been aiming to replace sensors with mobile phones in his work to enable participants to cruise around in urban environment and use the mobile phone as interface for music.

Malleable Mobile Music was presented at the first mobile music workshop edition in 2004. It draws on both social and geographical context awareness: personal geographical context of user and community context of the group. The project was a demo focussing on thinking about music. Listening and playing becomes mixed up and it was key that also non-musican players would enjoy it.

In 2006 he developed a new project in collaboration with Petra Gemeinbroek, called net_derive. This project is using real mobiles and real gps, has been exhibited at a Sony exhibition in 2006, 50 people experienced it, 4 at a time and the project is documented in the NIME 2006 proceedings. The device is a white scarf wearable computing object. The artists needed three mobile phones to make it work, all housed in the scarf. net_derive explores the tension between the urban environment and the gallery space as a dynamic of group walking around in town is connected to the gallery space.

In general, one of the main problems while developing mobile music projects are the highly controlled networks, very different to developing for the Internet.

The Compass is the most recent project by Atau Tanaka, in collaboration with Guillaume Valadon and Christophe Berger. One possible scenario of use is geotaging songs and compass will point you in that direction. This project is using contacts form the address book as oposed to working with strangers in large public space. Compass is building a social network from the address books of various phones and retrieving the geographic location of friends. The compass server can store locations, friends and audio and connect them in various ways. For example, the mobile phone is pointing you in the direction of a friend, once you are in close proximity the playlist of the friend is retrieved via Wifi, and next, a selected song is retrieved via wifi as well.

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