Final Thesis Idea

I’m sharing my final thesis idea approach here. I think with the latest thesis idea, I’ve really found a way to try to address anxiety and support for mental health through art and design, something I thought was missing in all my other iterations. I’m going to try to address these needs in my work for the next year, and really think about the healing power of art, design, and music. And that is the most real place I can speak from.

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New Age Music and the Environment

Making the connection between New Age and the natural world was something that surprised me, but it seems so obvious now. There are all these fan-made videos of Enya and nature. I may try to make a video like this. So cool. I think there may be a direct connection between healing of the self and healing nature.

Thesis Idea Changing

I have decided I’m going to take another approach to the thesis project. I still want to use my prototypes, but I just don’t think I have time in the next 8 months to make this project. Instead, I’m going to make a visual system to create visual music based on the compositons I came up with over the summer. One of the things that inspired me in my research was coming across this: http://imaginaryinstruments.org/exhibits/

Compostitions for the Project

Over the summer I researched New Age and ambient music to try to imagine relaxing and healing forms of sound to be the core of the sound experience of the instrument. I then wrote six compositions, which I released as mock up New Age Cassettes. These are all ready to go designs, inspired by the Gabriel LaHeart cassette that I found on YouTube. The new age music I was introduced to on youTube was incredible, and there was in most cases literally no other way to find and listen to this work.

Why a Collaborative Instrument

In addition to questioning New Age, I extended this to the collaborative instrument itself in order to prepare for my presentation for next month. I was again surprised that the foundation for all of this is environmentalism. The Five Whys are such an incredible tool!

Why build a collaborative instrument?
In order to make a device that would allow for communicative development as a cooperative group

Why allow for communicative development as a cooperative group?
So that there is a practice of creating change in a fun and engaging environment in the sharing of sound.

Why create change in a fun and engaging environment in the sharing of sound?
In order to create a gateway for experiencing reactive auditory sensations of natural states.

Why create create a gateway for experiencing reactive auditory sensations of natural states?
To come to an understanding of time and the natural state of cooperation.

Why create an understanding of time and the natural state of cooperation?
To create a working model, of cooperative engagement to create an instance that potentially moves human culture away from environmental catastrophe and into a state of harmony with nature.

Five Whys on New Age Music

In my final review last year, one of the things that was consistently focused on was asking “why?” for each of my design decisions. There were reasons there, but they were unformulated, and it took me some time this morning to map it out. The one that stumped me the most was the idea of the New Age influence in my work. I focused on this in some of my design work during the semester, but specifically wanted to explore it as the sound basis of my work on The Octopus. I did the Five Whys, which is a technique we learned in Design to investigate a single subject on consecutively deeper questions, and I was surprised by what I found when I did them. The root they got to was environmentalism, which I was floored by, and I wouldn’t have made that conclusion without using the technique. The five whys I did this morning are below:

Why focus on New Age and Ambient music?
Because it’s deeply calming and connects to the natural world.

Why is it deeply calming?
Because it extends the idea of time.

Why does it extend the idea of time?
To create a state of being more in line with the natural movement of nature.

Why does it create a state of being more in line with the natural movement of nature?
In order to create an alternative environment to the modern exploitation of nature.

Why does it create an alternative environment to the modern exploitation of nature?
To try to move human culture away from environmental catastrophe.