Final Project Ideas


Choose five systems that you are interested in exploring for your final project. Don’t get hung up on the word system–it’s just a way of describing any set of components in interaction. Our class is a system–so is a toothbrush, a language, and a piece of music. Those are systems we already have names for, there are infinitely more systems without names. Recall Burnham’s definition of a system that we looked at in the beginning of the semester. Choose systems that you are personally invested in: pick at least one that frustrates you and another that you find aesthetically or functionally beautiful.

Describe what it is that interests you about each system, and then present an idea, method, or process for exploring or playing with that system. Each system description should be about a paragraph. Keep in mind the concepts we have explored this semester–magic circle, interactivity, duration, repetition, play, sampling, noise, etc.

Different systems might request different types of approaches. Write these paragraphs as clearly as possible, but they should not all be structurally the same.  Describe what you are envisioning, note elements that you are unsure about, and explain the methods/tools you might use. Take. your. time. Don’t rush through to get this assignment done–if you end up with 3 concepts that you are excited about, great–but shoot for 5.

(Someone remind me to rant a bit about efficiency next class)


Electric Toothbrush

While brushing my teeth, I notice that the sound my toothbrush makes changes as it moves around in my mouth. Also, certain tones are emphasized when I change the shape of my mouth. This mouth-toothbrush assemblage is my system, and I am interested in exploring its musical potential. I will record myself brushing my teeth for one operation cycle (the toothbrush runs for 2 minutes before it turns off). During that time I will brush my teeth in a manner that focuses on the sound produced rather than the quality of the cleaning. I will then use this recording as material for a set of 3 2-minute-long audio pieces that process the sound in different ways.

Passed Over Spaces

I am interested in the spaces that nobody notices. I am interested in histories that nobody notices. We focus on spaces designed for experience–the Rotunda, the Lawn, even the Corner–but what about the spaces between, the less designed spaces. What are their histories? I will make 20 small plaques that fit with the UVA style (have to notice/research this) and give these spaces a name and a history. I’m not yet sure whether the histories will be entirely fabricated or drawn from recorded histories but they will not describe any momentous occasion or dramatic moment. Instead, they will describe in plain terms that “In 1972, Kimberly Gerther stood on this patch of grass for over an hour in the pouring rain–a welcome break from the summer heat.”