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Introducing The Compendium of Somethings

Over the best part of a decade - in the midst of many a wild venture and creative project - I have often found myself sketching and noting down tangential ideas and concepts that would bubble up and burst to the surface without warning. Sketchbooks, journals, and even napkins would become the landing strip for each and every 15-minutes-of-idea-generation-madness that would arrive unannounced in the cracks between my day-to-day responsibilities.

… and these ideas were always concerned with one thing - what new ways can we experience, listen to, interact with, present, create, and control sound and music?

Lateral platforms for engaging with sound is at the heart of every project I have ever undertaken as a creative producer. As a composer, it’s fascinating to me how space and receptacle can influence and transform the writing and production processes. As an Experience Designer, it’s exciting to see how sound can occupy place/space and transform people’s relationship with it in new and unexpected ways.

Some of the idea sketches I have made over the years have gone on to become fully-fledged projects (e.g Rayne, Playces, etc) but many of them have never left the page - in fact - I have only rediscovered most of them just recently.

So I’ve decided to give these nomadic concepts a proper focused home - a place where they are not only neatly gathered and organised but where they can serve as a focused set of potential creative exercises and experiments for me to explore as I develop my practice.

On looking through this collection of concepts you would be completely forgiven for referring to them as ‘gimmicks’ - but you certainly won’t be forgiven for the likely intent behind your use of that word.

Because you see, before the world of modern product design got its grubby little hands on it for pejorative purposes, the word gimmick - an approximate anagram of the word magic - was used to refer to the tools of the magician. Gimmicks were the apparatus that made it possible to amaze and dazzle. To ignite wonder and to electrify. There was nothing superficial or valueless about them because they were the enabler of transformative experience.

So as an Experience Designer with an unrelenting passion for sound, I can only yearn to dive deeper into the world of gimmick-craft to explore new opportunities and new systems for interactive sound.

After all, good interaction design ‘is just like magic’ - the artefact isn’t really the thing that matters, it’s the emotional response you feel when you engage with it.


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