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interaction speed of designer and design representation in relation to the parameters of flow.
by Hanneke Vos Thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MPhil by Projects, Composition in Contexts. at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, faculteit Kunst, Media en Technologie, Hilversum, The Netherlands.

and the University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

June 2007

Supervisors HKU: Rens Machielse Gerard van Wolferen Supervisors UP: Chris Creed Paul Newland Examiners: David Garcia (internal) Henk van der Meulen (external)

DESIGNING MOTION, interaction speed in relation to the parameters of flow 2007 H.M. Vos word count chapters one to five: 26.752

English summary
This thesis is a result of my research into design processes over the past few years. From my initial question of what works and what doesnt, and why?, it developed into a discussion that places interaction speed of designer and designer representation in its centre. I looked at the dynamics of this interaction speed over the course of two of my projects and came to the conclusion that an equally distributed dynamic of interaction speed seems to foster the best results, with regard to both the product and the experience of the designer.

Nederlandse samenvatting (Dutch summary)

Deze these is het resultaat van het onderzoek naar ontwerpprocessen dat ik heb gedaan in de afgelopen paar jaar. De vraag die ik aanvankelijk had, wat werkt en wat niet, en waarom?, is uitgegroeid tot een discussie die interactiesnelheid in haar midden plaatst. Ik bekeek de dynamiek van deze interactiesnelheid over de duur van twee van mijn projecten en kwam tot de conclusie dat een gelijkmatig verdeelde dynamiek van interactiesnelheid voor de beste resultaten lijkt te zorgen, in het licht van zowel het product als de ervaring van de ontwerper.

Im a music designer. I also conduct research through, for, and into design. Doing this, Im getting more and more accustomed to the idea that the distinction we make between art, music and design is often not very meaningful: the creative processes of musicians and actors might have more in common than the creative processes of an industrial designer and a graphic designer. I have also always had a fascination for people that were able to encompass many different disciplines in their own practice, like the Renaissance ideal of the Universal man, often personified in Leonardo Da Vinci. My education at the HKU has much contributed to this fascination in fostering interdisciplinary projects and encouraging looking beyond the own discipline. The viewpoint I developed from these and many other things is that design is a word that can be used for many different disciplines, both in what is considered music, art and design. Both many intuitive artists and rational engineers will probably strongly disagree to this viewpoint, and I feel it is only fair to recognize the many differences between us. However, as I see it, there can be two reasons for this: too strong an identification with the own discipline and cautiousness with respect to communication. Identification with the own discipline is often strong; many people specialize in one discipline, and throw everything else overboard, considering it of less meaning, which is probably the only way in which you are able to really specialize: you need dedication to specialize, and you can only dedicate yourself to something you consider very meaningful. Hence, everything else has to be less meaningful. Thus, many people get very 'possessive' of their own discipline. The consequence of this is that the lines that are drawn between different disciplines are strong, and trespassing these lines is considered a bit of a disdain. You can only be a professional in one discipline. Anything you do besides your own discipline is considered amateur, regardless of how good you do it. As a result, on the one hand, focus has shifted toward the commercial interest in a product, reducing the importance of true quality, and on the other hand, the interest in true quality almost demonizes an interest in commercial success. I think that this kind of strong identification with own discipline is not fruitful in the long run, not for an individual, but certainly not for a society. In order to innovate and develop further into the future, we need to work together, and this undoubtedly requires that we value each others and our own work and motivations. This does not mean that we can just say that everything is the same. There are obviously differences between people, the way they work and the things they make. Some are more obvious then others: I imagine some people would not hear the difference between Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins music, but can perfectly distinguish a play from Shakespeare and a painting from Rembrandt. Looking beyond the obvious is necessary when conducting design research. You have to look very closely, and meanwhile keep the overall view, in order to identify true differences and similarities. In this sense, cautiousness is indispensable in conducting design research. I prefer, however, to be less cautious than most researchers would probably be, because as a music designer, I like to experiment and let myself be surprised by contingencies. So how do I see composing as an act of design? When I sing and play, there is a motivation for that, it is the urge to express myself emotionally. Going on to make a song is designing emotion. The music I write has a function, its function is to recall this emotion, or emotions, if the song is more complex. In film, this is done very effectively: people cry with La Vitta e Bella and laugh with Life of Brian. For me, this is in principle the same as designing a chair to sit in or a house to live in. And even when this function is not as obvious, as many artists try to achieve, there is always a function, but this function might be different for different people. Similarly, not everyone uses a chair to sit

in. Some use it to put a plant on.* A homeless person uses a newspaper to keep him warm, not to read. A skater uses the railing of the stairs to grind and not to hold on to. These, and many other considerations, have led me into writing this thesis in such a way that the things I discuss apply to design in general, but were also applicable to my own practice of music design. This is represented in the three parts the thesis has. For some readers, this means they momentarily have to throw overboard their viewpoint on art, music and design and their relations to one another. I hope that in this opens up new ways of looking at these, a way which is inspiring both to designer and researcher.

Ive encountered many times that the ideas I had were already presented by somebody else. Therefore, its not unthinkable that the ideas presented in this thesis by me have also been thought of by somebody else. However, they are my own, and Ive made a real effort to correctly credit all the people whose ideas Ive included in this thesis. Thus, any resemblance to other works is strictly coincidental. The same of course goes for the artistic content of the projects described in this thesis.
Immediately after I wrote this, I looked to my left and I saw a chair with a plant 'sitting' on it.


interaction speed of designer and design representation in relation to the parameters of flow. English summary Dutch summary Preface Disclaimer 3 3 4 5

Part I.

Some general principles of design: finding common ground for communication

Background to this thesis
Design in context Development of thesis Acknowledgements

1.1.1. 1.1.2. 1.1.3.

9 10 10 11 11 13 13 14 14 17 17 17 20 22 24 27 27 30 33 35 36 36 36 41 43 43 47

1.2.1. 1.2.2. 1.2.3.

Interaction speed and flow

Interaction speed and flow Mapping interaction speed A flow-based method for design

2.1.1. 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.1.4.

Research and design: models and principles

The paradox of design research
Designing a definition of design Researching design The designer as a researcher The paradox of design research

2.2.1. 2.2.2. 2.2.3. 2.2.4.

A flow-based method for design

A domain-independent descriptive design model An interaction speed model of design Creativity, flow and interaction A flow-based method for design

3.1.1. 3.1.2.

Measuring interaction speed

Exploring methods
Transcribing a design process Interpreting a design process

3.2.1. 3.2.2.

A blueprint of interaction speed

Process spaces Measuring interaction speed

Part II.
4.1.1. 4.1.2. 4.1.3.

Flow-based music design: two projects from my own practice analysed

Process and results
The Pilot and Komedie project
The Pilot project The Komedie project The way things go in practice


52 52 52 54 56 57 57 61

4.2.1. 4.2.2. 4.3.3.

Process and results

Slowing down and speeding up interaction Challenges, skills and getting stuck Reviewing the results

Part III.

Designing motion: Applying general design principles to design practice

A flow-based method for design?
When challenges meet skills When skills fail to meet challenges A flow-based method for design


5.1.1. 5.1.2. 5.1.3.

65 65 65 68 69 70 70 70

5.2.1. 5.2.2.

Further considerations
Design and time Methods for transcription

A. B. C. References Additional sources of inspiration Websites

72 72 73 74 75 76 77 84 89 104 107 108 103 117 117 127 135 135

Appendix 1. The Pilot project

A. B. C. D. E. List of audio and video material Songs on paper Notes Process Space Project map; a blueprint of interaction speed

Appendix 2. The Komedie project

A. B. C. D. E. List of audio and video material Notes Max patches Process Spaces Project map; a blueprint of interaction speed

Authors background Final word

Part I. Some general principles of design: finding common ground for communication



This thesis has three parts. In the first part, I focus on general principles of design. This results in an interaction speed model of design that is applicable to any situation in which something is created, whether it is music, a painting, a house, a piece of software, a chair, a pie, and so on. Another important concept introduced in this first part, is the concept of process spaces, which is based on the model of interaction speed and makes it possible to look at design projects on different levels. Basically, process spaces offer a way of mapping and comparing design projects cross-discipline, making research into design more easy to conduct. It offers a tool for zooming in on a process without losing the overall picture and zooming out without losing detail. It directs focus because it makes it easier to determine a viewpoint, which, in my opinion, is a very important aspect of design research, since design is such a vast domain, with so much undiscovered ground. The third important thing I discuss in part one is the concept of flow and the parameters that it depends on. Flow is a concept that comes from the field of psychology, and is in that way applicable to any design situation, as all these situations have (at the least) one thing in common: the human dimension. My main argument for having this approach focusing on similarities instead of differences is that with the ever more rapid development of technology, different design disciplines grow increasingly toward one another, as they share more of the same media: actors and musicians share the medium of the film, software-engineers and architects share the medium of the computer, but so do composers and gamedevelopers. There are undoubtedly some problems that arise from this development, and one of them is situated in communication: we talk about different things, but mean the same, we talk about the same thing, but mean something completely different. This is why I think it is now very important to look for that common ground. It helps us identifying the key-elements that define our work and helps us assessing to what extend our work is compatible. My own educational background is in music design. In part two of this thesis, I apply the general principles I discuss in part one to two projects from my own practice. In both projects, my role was to design music, but that is where, on the surface, the comparison stops. However, with the tools I developed for mapping projects, it was possible for me to analyse these projects in a similar way to see to what extend the parameters of flow relate to interaction speed throughout these projects. In part three of this thesis, which is the concluding chapter, I connect these analysis of interaction speed and flow in two projects to the general principles of design and ask the question to what extend these small-scale conclusions apply to the bigger picture and what the consequences of this are. The remaining part of this introduction gives an overview of the things that are discussed in chapter two to five. I first describe the background to this thesis, its context and development, and in section two, I go more into its content: interaction speed and flow.

1.1. Background to this thesis

When design and research come together, chaos and order meet, resulting in an interesting paradox. This paradox is reflected in the context of design, the context of my research project and the way this thesis has developed. It also emerges within the very definition of the word design. Chapter one of this thesis introduces the definition of design, research, their contexts, and the paradox of design research situated within it. 1.1.1. Design research in context Because production costs are lower in countries outside Europe, for example in Asian countries, many companies have moved their production centres away from the continent. As a result, Europe wants to put more emphasis on the development of the so-called creative industries, which include the creative professions, as well as the organisations that support them. These industries have proven to have a positive effect on the economy. 1 As western beliefs and viewpoints are still greatly influenced by the ideas that merged in the period of Enlightenment, which took place in the 18th century, and the Industrial Revolution, which took place mainly in the 19th century, this acknowledgement holds an interesting paradox; the notion that something as unpredictable, seemingly chaotic and un-reproducible as a creative process can take place in an industrial and commercial context is somewhat surprising. In addition to the increasing accessibility of modern computer technology, which makes it possible for more and more people to explore their own creative abilities, this viewpoint might trigger a change in the view the general public has on design. In my view, this would be a favourable thing, because it would maybe clear a bit the cloud of mysticism that surrounds the process of design and make it easier to discuss it in a non-pre-assumptive way. In design research, a similar paradox has been described. Where some people consider design itself to be research, others argue that this is out of the question. Isnt research something systematic and objective? And isnt design something chaotic and subjective? These are all statements that hold truth in them. However, they dont paint the whole picture. In chapter two, section one of this thesis, this paradox of design research is discussed. Exploring this paradox of design research starts with giving a definition of design. For this, I introduce and discuss Galles (1999) 2 representation of the artefact production process, which pictures a designer, producing and interpreting a design representation. Within this designer, Galle pictures the artefact-idea, which changes, throughout the design process, just like the design representation changes throughout the process. In his model, Galle distinguishes several agents client, designer, maker and user, which can all be one or several persons. In his representation, the part of the artefact production process we could call design is very clear. However, when several agents are
1 2

Creative industries

The paradox of design research Galles model of an artefact production process

Innovatieplatform (September 2005). Creativiteit, de gewichtloze brandstof van de economie. Galle, P. Design as intentional action: a conceptual analysis. (1999). Design Studies, 20(1), 57-81.


represented in one person, the part we could call design is not often so clear, resulting in the conclusion, that what we call design is exactly that part of the artefact production process that we dont fully understand. As design research seeks to understand design, it simultaneously tries to define design, or aspects of it. It can do so using both quantitative as qualitative methods. Both have their pros and cons. Although interpretation can be a difficult matter, using qualitative methods is probably more likely to give answers to practical problems, as they look more in-depth. However, a designer, researching his own process, will face more problems than just interpretation. The reflective action that is research does not always go hand in hand with reactive action that is designing. In this lies a real challenge for design research. The paradox of design research is really a seeming contradiction, and design research does not face an impossible assignment. 1.1.2. Development of thesis In this thesis, the development of design representations is discussed thoroughly. As Ive focussed on two projects, the Pilot and Komedie project, Ive left out a lot of other projects and experiments I did over the last few years. The matter of fact is, that the ideas for this thesis, concerning interaction speed, which is discussed in section two of this introduction, evolved somewhat parallel to these projects, and the earlier projects served a much more exploratory purpose. However, aspects of the paradox of design research, have been present from the very early stages of research. On the whole then, you could say that the ideas that are at the core of this thesis, needed much time to develop, and the period before the actual writing was a period of exploration, experiment and reflection. Though I like to think that the actual writing part was done in a very linear way, when I look at my earlier drafts of chapters and outlines, I notice that the structure and contents have changed along the way. When I write, I always think about the total picture. However, I come to that point where I loose perspective every now and again. The only way then to fix that is to reflect on what I have made and alter both what I have written as my view of the total picture. Every time I start a new cycle, I get a new sense of predictability about it, as I now know what Im going to write. However, much more often, unpredictability came around the corner and stirred things up again. I guess that is what can happen when design meets research. 1.1.3. Acknowledgements This thesis tries to deal with some of the questions Ive had about design over the past couple of years. The fact that design students can get acquainted with doing research either when they write their MA thesis, or Mphil, or PhD, is one of those things that illustrates the growing bridge between design and research. I knew very little of research when I graduated as an MA Composition in Context. I now know a little bit more, but still very little. However, I feel that design and research have much in common, as they both require a certain amount of creativity. I would especially like to thank the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and the University of Portsmouth and their boards for making it possible for design students to do a research course. My gratitude also goes out to my

Quantitative and qualitative methods

Exploratory research


supervisors: Rens Machielse and Gerard van Wolferen (HKU), and Chris Creed and Paul Newland (UP), and my examiners for asking questions and giving me some clear directions about finishing this piece of work. They are David Garcia (internal) and Henk van der Meulen (external). Furthermore, I thank my main colleague, Jarg de Gooijer, with whom Ive had many discussions and did many projects, and other fellow students/ colleagues with whom I attended workgroups and had conversations over coffee. I also thank all the people I worked with in the Komedie project: Ramses Graus, Milo Zipson, Evrim Kurc, Ayal Oost, Guido de Wijs, Eugene Heuvel, Johan van der Pol, Herman Otten, Esteban van der Wolf and especially Marja Vinkenburg, for being so helpful during the evaluation period. Of course Im very grateful for all the energy and enthusiasm Ben Lammerts van Bueren, Jarg de Gooijer, Michel van der Zanden, Sander Pahlplatz, Niek Beukers and Sander van Unen have put in the Pilot project. I really love what we have done! Finally, Im grateful to Willy, Jan hendrik, Henk, and Danil for having so much interest in the subject that they saved me articles, took pictures for me and much more. Above all, they have been excellent discussion partners.


1.2. Interaction speed and flow

Design has been described and defined differently by different people. I started from Galles model to introduce a definition of design. I also looked at Reymen et al.s model. This resulted in an interaction speed model of design, which focuses on the speed with which designer and design representation interact. This concept of interaction speed also relates to the concept of flow, described by Csikszentmihalyi (1990) 3. Several experiments within my own practice have contributed to my model and also to the methods I use to analyse my projects. I eventually applied these to two other projects, the analyses of which are presented and discussed in part two of this thesis. This section introduces the concept of interaction speed, flow, my model of design and the way my research project has developed into my analyses and conclusions. These analyses and conclusions are also briefly discussed. 1.2.1. Interaction speed and flow The previous section gave a little introduction on the definition and paradox of design. Galles representation of the design process was mentioned. In chapter two, section two, I will discuss Reymen et al.s (2006)4 descriptive design model and compare it to Galles model and to a partly fictional design situation. Where Galle mentions a difference between production and interpretation, Reymen et al.s model distinguishes between transformations and mutations of properties that make up the design representation. Putting these two things together results in a representation of the design process which is based on an interaction between designer and design representation which is both of a predictable and unpredictable nature. Adding Galles concept of artefact-idea to this model results in the introduction of my concept of property-ideas, which make up the artefact idea. My concepts of property-relations and propertyrelation-ideas, which are based on Reymen et al.s concept of design relations, are added to indicate that these properties do not merely mean something themselves, but that they mean something in relation to other properties as well. However, when we design, we are not constantly occupied with all these properties and propertyrelations. We focus on certain parts of the design representation and later on others. In the same way, property-ideas and propertyrelation-ideas move in and out of focus, causing the artefact-idea to change constantly. The speed with which designer and design representation interact, is what I call interaction speed. When a design representation changes shape quickly, this means that different property(-relation)-ideas move in and out of focus very quickly. In design situations where the design representation is a real-time reflection of the design process, such as theatrical and musical improvisation, interaction speed is very high. Such situations seem

Reymen et al.s descriptive design model

An interaction speed model of design

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003) Flow, psychologie van de optimale ervaring (5th ed.). Amsterdam: BOOM. Original publication: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 4 Reymen, I.M.M.J., Hammer, D.K., Kroes, P.A., Aken, van, J.E., Dorst, C.H., Bax, M.F.T., & Basten, T. A Domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes. (2006) Research in Engineering Design.


excellent for flow, described by Csikszentmihalyi (1990) as a state of optimal involvement, to occur. Flow is in between challenges and skills; When challenges are too high, skills need to be acquired, when skills are too high, the challenges need to be increased, in order to stay in the flow channel. However, increasing skills at high interaction speed seems difficult. Rather, youd need lower interaction speed for acquiring new skills. A design process can be looked at as holding in it vast numbers of possibilities, of skills to be challenged. So, even, or maybe particularly, at high interaction speed, interesting things can come out of a design process. As this interaction speed seems to relate to flow, I wondered how it changed over the course of two of my projects, the Pilot and Komedie project, and whether such an analysis could offer starting points for a flow-based method for design. 1.2.2. Mapping interaction speed To complete these analyses, I made several transcriptions of the two projects. Transcribing my own projects and design experiments began even before I started writing this thesis, and I used different methods to do so. Both making notes, taking pictures, filming, communication and the development of the design representation have proved to be helpful for getting insight into design processes. However, for these two projects, Ive relied mostly on my notes and the development of the design representation to make my analyses. From these, Ive drawn pictures which represent process spaces, a concept I introduced to indicate an interaction of designer and design representation in a certain place at a certain time. These process spaces relate to one another in specific ways. All the process spaces together form a map of a project. These maps and descriptions of process spaces are included in the appendices of this thesis, along with several design representations and notes. The interpretation of the transcriptions has also relied on my earlier experiences. Certainly, when I did several projects at the same time, cross-interpretations would occur. On the project maps, I represented the interaction speed. There were some difficulties about measuring interaction speed. First of all, you can look at interaction speed at different levels of a project, for example a few minutes, a few hours, a couple of days, week or months, years maybe even. Secondly, the amount of change is relative to the complexity of the design representation. But, the amount of change is also determined by interpretation, and this means that the same amount of change, in an equally complex design representation, can still be considered far bigger than the other. In chapter three, this process of mapping out of projects is described. 1.2.3. A flow-based method for design In part two, chapter four of this thesis, I focus on my own projects, and I describe the actions I took and the choices I made in these to increase interaction speed and to create challenges and acquire skills. In the Komedie project, a theatre project, I created a way to interact with the actors at higher speed than I had been accustomed before. In the Pilot project, a pop band project, I introduced clear goals, team spirit and expression as key-ingredients for higher interaction speed. However, in practice, much more happens during a design project. Being both researcher and designer

A flow-based method for design

Methods for transciption

Process spaces

Measuring interaction speed

Increasing interaction speed


at the same time means that sometimes design goals and research goals do not match, and you need to compromise between them. In section two of chapter four, the processes and results of the two projects are discussed. First, I look at how interaction speed changed throughout these projects. Secondly, I look at the challenges and skills related to each other and under which circumstances the designers got stuck. It seems that on a large scale, interaction speeds up when there are concrete plans, and that it slows down in the absence of plans. However, on a small scale, the exact opposite seems to be the case: The more plans, the slower interaction speed and the less plans, the higher interaction speed. Furthermore, interaction speed is high when a transcription is made from one design representation to the other, or when a new idea is recorded. In either situation, the amount of change is very large. Such a large amount of change is typically followed by a decrease of interaction speed, as the design representation grows more complex and plans increase. These cycles are often repeated throughout both projects. Finally, on a small scale, interaction speed gets higher or lower through the influence of the setup, or technique and skills required for using these. That this would also be the case on a large scale is not unimaginable, however, it can not be derived from these two projects. Several challenges have been faced in both the Komedie and the Pilot project. Many skills have been tested in this way. In both projects, new skills have been acquired by myself. However, in Pilot project, the acquisition of skills occurred at a large scale interaction speed, which was considerably lower than that of the Komedie project. In this way, an added challenge to the ones already existing was to get everything done in time. The Pilot project also had these time-related challenges, but these were far lower than in the Komedie project. As such, the satisfaction from the Komedie project came more from being able to reach the results than from the results themselves. In addition, I got stuck more often in the Komedie project than in the Pilot project because of a lack of skills. As the Pilot project had little time-pressure, getting stuck was never necessary, as I could take more time to figure something out, when needed. In this way, I often came to simpler solutions to problems. The same time to reflect on the design representations, would have maybe made both the result and the process of the Komedie project far more satisfactory. In section three, of chapter four, I review also the results of the Pilot and the Komedie project. This is a bit difficult for the Komedie project, as the result is something that has to be performed and is therefore different every time. When I look at how all these design representations developed, I notice that some have changed more gradually over the course of the whole project, while others changed a lot at one point, and from there on just changed gradually. It seems that the results which have been given the most thought, and the development of which was more equally spread over the whole course of the project, are the best results. Ive concluded from these analyses, that there are at least some starting points for a flow-based method for design. First of all, dynamic movement between high and low interaction speed should

Interaction speed dynamics

Challenges and skills

The results


neither be too big nor too small. In addition, the dynamic movement should be somewhat equally distributed over the course of a project. However, this dynamic movement is not always controllable. When challenges or skills are too high or too low, it would be wise to either shorten or prolong the time available for a design task. Knowing in advance which challenges and skills are either low or high, would then be essential. However, a design process is often very unpredictable, and can create new challenges that ask for new skills along the way. Creating room for reflection is again in this situation essential. However, it is always in the hands of the designer to determine when reflection is needed. Increasing or decreasing interaction speed does not always go as easily as it sounds. This might also have to do with a culture that uses time as a measure for many things. Enhanced methods of transcription and reflection might also be of great help.

Starting points for a flow-based method for design



Research and design: models and principles

In this chapter, some aspects of design and research are discussed. Research methods are introduced and I look at what difficulties may arise when design and research come together. Two design models form the basis for a third interaction speed model of design, which may offer starting points for a flow-based method of design.

2.1. The paradox of design research

Defining design is about giving meaning to the word design, rather than establishing its meaning. Doing this starts with describing the design process. Galle (1999) makes an effort to do so with a model representing the whole of an artefact production process, that reflects both the predictable and the unpredictable nature of design. The two-sidedness of such a definition of design relates somewhat to different approaches in research and to the difficulties that emerge from participatory design research. These things can be summed up by what is often called the paradox of design research. This section expands on this matter. 2.1.1. Designing a definition of design What does the word design really mean? Most people would probably think of expensive modern furniture and home-ornaments, still made affordable for them by, say, IKEA or any old shop. The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary distinguishes between the word design as a verb, where it means [to make or draw plans for something, for example clothes or buildings] and the word design as a noun, where it either means [a drawing or set of drawings showing how a building or product is to be made and how it will work and look], or [the art of making plans or drawings for something], or [the way in which 5 something is planned and made]. In short, the dictionary clearly distinguishes between action and result. The natures of both action and result arent very clear though. For example: what does making plans for a building really mean? I could imagine making plans for building a building, or making plans for how or when a building should be built. Making plans for a building, though, implies that a building indicates some sort of action, while the word obviously describes an object. Lets avoid this problem for the time being, and say that any object is the result of specific action(s). The nature of these planned actions would determine the nature of the planned object. In practice, a drawing or a set of drawings is not all when it comes to specifying the nature of these actions. It requires, for example, verbal communication, calculations, references to existing objects, et cetera. In short, The nature of planned action is represented in not one, but in several ways. Describing all these

The dictionairys definition of design

And a few others, which I didnt think were worth mentioning here.


different ways in which things are planned and made is nothing more than actually describing the design process. This means that defining design is not about establishing the meaning of the word design, but about giving meaning to the word design. As Galle (1999, p. 57-58) puts it: [We have, I agree6, a fairly rich picture of
design thinking, but we lack a simplifying paradigm of designing.]

In the same paper (p. 79), he seeks for such a simplifying paradigm through analysis of the design process and proposes
[[]as such a paradigm, the notion of design(ing) as production of a design In return, the designer interprets the representation].

representation. With the use of these words interpretation and production, he emphasizes the idea that designing is not only thinking, but also acting. The result of the act of production clearly is the design representation. The result of the act of interpretation, though, is some sort of change inside the designers head, the exact nature of which is far beyond the scope of this thesis. Its sufficient to say that the designer has some sort of reference to which he interprets the design representation. This is where Galle uses the concept of artefact-idea to avoid, what he calls the problem of the absent artefact, meaning the philosophical difficulties that arise from the human capability of communicating about things that are not existent in the present world, an ability that is in Galles words [[]obviously essential to creativity in design and artefact production]. In his model, the designer is driven by the artefact-idea when producing a design representation. In addition, this artefact-idea is distributed over four different agents, the client, the designer, the maker and the user. Like this, slightly different symbolic representations and artefact-ideas influence one another. There is still a distinction between actions and results, but the nature of these are placed in another level of abstraction. This has some consequences for the definition of design.

Galles definition of design

Fig. 1: Galles representation of the artefact production process.

6 Quoting Nigel Cross in this section, from Cross, N. (1992). Research in Design Thinking. In N. Cross, K. Dorst, & N. Roozenburg (eds.), Research in Design Thinking (p. 3-10). Delft: Delft University Press. 7 From: Galle, P. Design as intentional action: a conceptual analysis. (1999). Design Studies, 20(1), 57-81.


First of all, the nature of actions in Galles model (interpretation and production) are dependent on the agent that initiates them. In an artefact production process where these agents are indeed all different entities, the natures of these different actions are more clearly distinguishable than in artefact production processes where the different agents are all the same entity. For example: a clear distinction can be made between the nature of the actions that results in a sketch representing a building that is to be built, and the nature of the actions resulting in the actual building. This distinction is harder to make, though, between, say, the actions that result in a painting that is half finished and a painting that is completely finished. When is a painter designing and when is he making? For the same reasons, the nature of the actions that result in a change of artefact-idea (interpretation) are more difficult to distinguish from each other when they take place in one person, instead of several. If a composer were to write music on paper without the aid of a musician to play his music during this process, hed be interpreting his design representation with what could be called his inner ear. If he were to write and play his music simultaneously, it would be more difficult to tell when hed be using his inner ear and when his real ears. At this point it would maybe be best to propose that every artefact production process holds in it actions that are of predictable and unpredictable nature, and that the balance between these two types of actions differ per process, per discipline maybe even. Designing, in comparison to making, is of a far more unpredictable nature, whilst making, in comparison to designing, is of a far more predictable nature. Secondly, the nature of the results in Galles model (the artefact-ideas and the symbolic representations), are also very much dependent on the type of artefact production process. Its very clear that a building is not a sketch of a building. Music on paper is not the same as music being played by an orchestra. But is an actor in the rehearsal room essentially different from an actor on stage in front of an audience? In some cases, design representation and artefact are of the same nature. Still, these are things we can perceive. Theres more difficulty in establishing the nature of results from interpretation, the artefact-ideas, as Galle calls them. What does go on in our minds when we design? Free association, for example, can clearly be of use in many different design processes, but hearing the difference between a major and minor cord is of no obvious use to a software engineer. Likewise, understanding the difference between 127/127 and 127-1268 will not be of much use to a musician. These are examples though, that are still somewhat describable, in such a way that the composer knows the difference between major and minor cords. He can hear the difference. And although he does not know how this works on a neurological level, he knows he knows and he can use this mental capability in his design process. Not all mental activity in the design process can be described by such knowable mental processes. A lot of the time, the designer does not act from something he knows he knows, but from something he apparently knows, but does not know he knows9. I

Several agents in one person

Type of artefact production process

I am fully aware of my incompetence in the field of softwareengineering at this point, so please forgive any irrelevance of this example to actual softwareengineering. This is just an example to illustrate my argument. 9 Described as knowing-in-action by Schon, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner, how professionals think in action (p. 21-69). United States of America: Basic Books.


think this is what many people, especially many designers, might call intuition. Without wanting to sink too deeply into this difficult matter, which is obviously well beyond my scope as a designer, Ill mention Vroons (1989) categorisation of the human mind into three different aspects: instincts, emotions and processes of thought10. He describes how most of our constitution is made up by processes we (in general) cannot actively control, and in many cases arent even aware of, such as our heart rate, or our metabolism. Though we have a sense of unity in ourselves, a sense of me or I, we are, he states, more like a parliament of different mental processes. Whether this theory is valid or not, is beyond the scope of this thesis. I would like to propose though, that among all the different mental processes that are involved in designing, theres a rough division between processes the designer knows he knows and processes the designer doesnt know he knows. Mental processes of which he knows he knows, he can use in a more predictable way, while mental processes of which he doesnt know he knows, will result in more unpredictable actions. Does the word design really mean anything? Id say its meaning is dependent on our understanding of the mechanisms that are involved in it. Though these mechanisms differ per artefact production process, we feel there are similarities between them, all of which we sum up with the word design. Thus, design means that part of the artefact production process that we know is there but we dont fully understand, and is nevertheless essential to the whole production process. In this thesis I mainly focus on music and sound design. Most design research Ive come across focuses more on the beta side of design, like architecture and software engineering. These are disciplines that to me seem to be of a more predictable nature than my own discipline. The different balances between predictability and unpredictability in different artefact production processes might be helpful in understanding the nature of the design process in general, if there is such a thing, and in establishing the meaning of the word design. Furthermore, these differences are worth exploring because they are likely to help communication between people from different disciplines. I think that if we have a more profound understanding of each others artefact production processes, we will more easily work together and have better results. 2.1.2. Researching Design The both predictable and unpredictable nature of design corresponds somewhat to two different ontologies: post positivism and constructivism. A post positivist view is what most people would associate with scientific research. It reflects cause-and-effect thinking, reducing ideas into small parts to carefully examine them by observation and measurement in order to support or counter an existing theory. A constructivist view is different from a post positivist view in that in doesnt reflect a search for countering or supporting an existing theory, but it reflects a search for new theories. It is also different in that it doesnt focus on one aspect, but it looks at the whole picture. Whilst in a post positivist view, the

Different mental processes

A definition of design

Post positivism and constructivism

From: Vroon, P.A. (1989). Tranen van de Krokodil, over de te snelle evolutie van de hersenen. Baarn: AMBO.


subject of research is placed in the outside world, a constructivist view emphasises the subjective meanings people develop from their experiences. Interpreting these different meanings is also dependent on the interpreters own subjective meanings. That is why it is necessary for such an interpreter to give a description of his or her own backgrounds. A constructivist view is usually associated with qualitative research methods and a post positivist view is usually associated with quantitative research methods.11 Research methods of both types are used in design research. Creswell (2003) distinguishes between qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. The latter is a combination of the former two. Quantitative approaches tend to focus on large numbers of people, things, events etc., resulting in statistical data. In design research, examples of quantitative approaches are given by Stacey Purpura (2003).12 These methods focus mainly on the usability of designed products and use surveys to collect data. Qualitative methods tend to focus more on individual cases, but go more in-depth. Boeije (2005) writes that in qualitative research, the research seeks to reduce the influence the research has on the researched situation to a minimum.13 Quantitative methods can be very useful in design research, but as their results are fairly general, they are not so helpful to the individual designer. As mentioned earlier, at least some of the mechanisms that are involved in designing, differ per discipline. We might even say that mechanisms differ per person, per process even. Though general statements, like Simontons (2000, p. 152) [Creative individuals do not produce new ideas
de novo, but rather those ideas must arise from a large set of well-developed skills and a rich body of domain-relevant knowledge.]14 can be very helpful

Qualitative and quantitative approaches to research

in establishing a general picture of design, they are of little use to the individual designer. Looking more in-depth into individual cases is more likely to offer solutions for practical problems, as the individual designer can look for case-studies that are somewhat similar to his or her own practice. He or she can focus on aspects of a process that are of interest and directly apply them in his or her own work. Still, the difficulty with qualitative methods in design research is the interpretation of the individual designers subjective meanings toward his or her practice (in the case of an open-ended interview for example). Different people might use the words flow, intuition and spiritual guidance when describing something that for the researcher looks the same. It is impossible for the researcher though, to look inside these peoples heads and confirm that these are indeed the same things. Neither can the researcher confirm that these are indeed different things. Two designers might use the word intuition for two slightly different things, and the researcher might mistake them for the same. There might not even be a real thing and a subjective understanding of it. The subjective understanding of something that seems might be all there is. It is not a big step from here to say that qualitative approaches to design research, though probably more applicable in practical situations than quantitative

Difficulties of qualitative methods

Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research Design, qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. 12 Purpura, S. Overview of quantitative methods in design research. (2003) In Brenda Laural (ed.), Design Research, methods and perspectives (p. 63-69). Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press. 13 Boeije, H. Onderzoeksmethoden. (2005). In H. t Hart, H. Boeije, & J. Hox (eds.) Onderzoeksmethoden. Amsterdam: Boom onderwijs 14 Simonton, D. K. Creativity; cognitive, personal, developmental, and social aspects. (2000). American psychologist 55(1), 151-158.


methods, could also cause for a lot of misinterpretations among researchers and thus form a basis for erroneous translations into design strategies or methods. Given the researcher is aware of this when conducting research in design, the qualitative approach could provide interesting insights in the design process. 2.1.3. The Designer as a Researcher As interpretation plays a key-role in qualitative methods, its important for the researcher to have sufficient knowledge of the topic he or she is researching. Someone who studies designed artefacts, such as paintings or buildings or music, needs to know a lot about them in general so he can refer to other kinds of designed artefacts and make his interpretation more objective. Likewise, a researcher of design(ing), needs to know about different processes in order to make a more objective interpretation. This is difficult, since a process is in itself something that changes over time, as opposed to a designed artefact. A researcher of design processes needs transcriptions of the process which are non-changeable, so he can analyse them more thoroughly. Transcribing needs interpretation though, and as such creates more margin for error. A way to cut this down again is to let designers research their own processes. Doing this somewhat looks like what is called participatory research. 15 This type of participatory research also has some downsides. First of all, it raises the question to what extend someone who is both subject and object can get a clear view and understanding of what is actually going on. I think this quote from David Foster Wallaces How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart (1994), a review of Tracy Austins autobiography is a nice illustration for this:
[Maybe what keeps us buying in the face of constant disappointment is some deep compulsion both to experience genius in the concrete and to universalize genius in the abstract. Real indisputable genius is so impossible to define, and true techne so rarely visible (much less televisable), that maybe we automatically expect people who are geniuses as athletes to be geniuses also as speakers and writers, to be articulate, perceptive, truthful, profound. If its just that we naively expect geniuses-in-motion to be also geniuses-in-reflection, then their failure to be that shouldnt really seem any crueller or more disillusioning than Kants glass jaw or Eliots inability to hit the curve.] 16


Participatory research

Certainly in the heat of the moment its not always sensible, or possible even, to think about what you are actually doing. I earlier mentioned that the processes of thought that are involved in designing can be devised into the ones of which we know we know and the ones of which we dont know we know. If we knew about the processes of thought of which we dont know we know, they wouldnt be processes of thought of which we dont know we know anymore. So, in the heat of the moment, it is impossible for the designer to know what he doesnt know he knows. In reflection though, he can get to know what he didnt know he knew. Such reflection could result in a situation where the designer knows he
15 16

Cornwall, A., & Jewkes, R. What is participatory research?. (1995). Soc. Scz Med 41(12), 1667-1676. Wallace, D.F. How Tracy Austin Broke my Heart. (1994). In D. F. Wallace, Consider the Lobster (p. 141-155). New York, Boston: Little, Brown and Company.


doesnt know he knows. Reflection requires a means for reflection though. As the quote from Wallace suggested, not everyone has the same means for reflection. For real-time reflection, or reflection-inaction, as Schon (1983) called it, speaking and writing are not necessities for obtaining the intended goals. For designers who have difficulties with real-time reflection, an external observer, such as person taking notes or a video camera, or a questionnaire might be helpful. However, we should make clear the difference between reflecting with the intention to get a better result and reflecting with the intention to get a better view on whats going on within the design process. This introduces the problem of transcription. The thing that comes out of the design process, the designed artefact, can, to some extend, show the process that was involved making it. There has been mentioning of research through design:
[Designers who are conducting research through their creative practice create work that is intended to address both a particular design brief and a larger set of questions at the same time.] 17


Research through design

In this case of research through design, the process of design is the actual method used for gaining knowledge about design. Something similar is described by Schon (1983, p. 21-69) as knowing-inpractice.18 He describes (p. 8) a [widening rift between the This widening rift would probably be well illustrated by the following quote from Nigan Bayazit (2004, p. 16):
universities and the professions, research and practice, thought and action.]

[An artists practising activities when creating a work of art or a craftwork cannot be considered research. Yet it is possible for an external observer to do research into how an artist is working on his or her work of art to make a contribution to the common 19 knowledge.]

Bayazit has a point. Just consider: if the research method would be the design process itself, then the outcome of this process, the data, would be the design itself. This data, lets say a piece of music, would then have to be interpreted by someone. This is tricky because design is not a conventional system of signs, like written language is. Though the meaning of the word sky or the number 1 is pretty obvious to anyone who understands this convention, the meaning of the colour red or the note c in a particular painting or piece of music may be different for different people20. This means interpretation of the data is depended on the interpreters own conventions about design, making it very difficult for him or her to be objective about it. In short, a designer researching his own design process needs to produce something else besides an artefact to communicate his ideas about designing. You could say, that designers do not have a proper language in which they can describe designing, because aspects of design processes have not all been mapped, categorised and defined.
Burdick, A. Desgin (as) research. (2003) In Brenda Laural (ed.), Design Research, methods and perspectives (p. 82). Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press. 18 Schon, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner, how professionals think in action. United States of America: Basic Books. 19 Bayazit, N. Investigating Design: A Review of Forty Years of Design Research. (2004) Design Issues 20(1), 16-29. 20 Haaften, van, W. Muziek is de taal van het hart. (2005). In E. Heijerman, & A. van der Schoot (eds.) Welke taal spreekt de muziek? Muziekfilosofische beschouwingen (p. 13-22).


The third problem of this type of participatory design research is time related. A designer, researching his own design process, would have to interrupt his process if hed want to do it real time. Real time analysis has the advantage that the memory has less chance of blurring the things that actually happened in the process21. On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, research seeks to reduce the influence the research has on the researched situation to a minimum22. An artefact production process can take a very long time to complete, and having someone around to monitor the designers process real time all of the time, can be considered a very luxurious situation. Computerised, quantitative methods could maybe get round this problem, but portioning the design process into clearly distinguishable parts would probably be even harder with a subject that is still so unexplored. You could maybe examine one aspect of the process in that way. Research time could be considerably shorter if designers themselves would be able to apply real-time qualitative methods of research. 2.1.4. The paradox of design research A designer, researching his own design process, needs to know what hes doing, in order to communicate about it in a conventional way. On the other hand, when design is indeed that part of the artefact production process that we know is there but we dont fully understand, and is nevertheless essential to the whole production process, the designer cant ever communicate about design. Getting to know the processes that are involved in the artefact production process, makes the thing we call design smaller and smaller. Somehow, a designer knows what to do, but not what he does. If he would, we wouldnt call him a designer, but a maker, and he would probably soon be made redundant by a machine or computer of some sort. Its highly disputable however, if it would ever be possible to understand and rebuild every aspect of human behaviour. In addition, understanding our behaviour doesnt necessarily result in the ability of controlling it.23 Thats why what looks like quite a contradiction in design(ing), knowing what to do, but not what one does, is not really a contradiction. A designer who researches his own process, needs a way of communication, other than a designed artefact, in which to express what he is doing. Developing a language for such communication, finding the right definitions for the things we do when we design, relies on further defining design. Developing methods for real time reflection is also necessary if designers want to research their own processes more thoroughly. It must be said though that its very likely that not every designer has the same reflective capabilities. In practice though, these are probably not the designers who will be likely to conduct research into design processes. Methods that work around this problem would also be an option for researching the processes of those designers who lack reflexive capabilities.

Research time

Conditions for participatory design research

21 The relation between motivation and action is ambiguous, as is described in Vroon, P.A. (1989). Tranen van de Krokodil, over de te snelle evolutie van de hersenen (p. 73-74). Baarn: AMBO. This viewpoint is derived from Linschoten, J. (1964) Idolen van de psycholoog. Utrecht: Bijleveld. 22 Hart, t , H., Boeije, H. & Hox, J. (eds.) (2005). Onderzoeksmethoden. Amsterdam: Boom onderwijs 23 Vroon, P.A. (1989). Tranen van de Krokodil, over de te snelle evolutie van de hersenen. Baarn: AMBO.


Such methods could also help give the designer a more objective view on his own process. As we gain a better understanding of each others processes, we ought to be able to be more objective about our own. In describing our own processes as designers, we can provide others with the better picture of it and give them the possibility of interpreting it more accurately. Participatory research could provide interesting insights in the process. Information from the first hand can be very useful, but accurate interpretation is necessary. A second contradiction of design, interpreting design is subjective, while science ought to be objective, is seeming, because as the researcher gains an understanding of how things work through experience, his interpretation becomes more and more objective. In addition, when the researcher includes in his interpretation his relation to the subject, by describing his own experiences for example, the reader of this interpretation can also interpret this information in a more objective manner. Design is often considered as something that has to do with intuition. Becoming in a way unaware of what you are doing and just doing it, not knowing what you know, is often an important part of the process. Some people might use the word flow, to describe this particular mechanism. Ill be a bit more specific about the use of the word flow later on. There are also many people who have some sense of divine intervention when they design24. In his book Effortless Mastery for example, Kenny Werner, pianist and composer by profession, speaks of [the space], in my interpretation meaning a state of consciousness from which it becomes easier to play. (Hence the word effortless in the title of his book.)25 In my interview with him, Mike Garson, who was our artist in residence for a few weeks in April 2005 at the HKU, said [its out there], when referring to creative ability, meaning it is in principal accessible to anyone, but [not everyone has access]. The use of their words seems to indicate some sense of spirituality about their interpretation of the design process. Research though, has a totally different meaning in the ears of many designers. Research seems to leave no room for dreams, fantasies, chaos and unpredictability, ingredients often indispensable in the design process. Research seems to be about predictability, about making rules and keeping them, about ruling out every other possibility than the one agreed upon. As such its sometimes thought to have a paralysing effect on the designer. This statement certainly has some truth in it as I can tell from my own experience. In one of my projects, I tried to repeat a process which had been very successful. I examined what I had done and tried to do it again, but I got totally stuck in the process. Only when I let go of my intentions and strictness in following my plan, I got on a roll again.26 One thing I learned from this is, that because one process is never exactly similar to another one, we should not treat it as such. Furthermore, studies (Simonton, 2000, p. 152) have indicated that:
[Creative individuals do not produce new ideas de novo, but rather those ideas must arise from a large set of well-developed skills and a rich body of domain-relevant knowledge.] 27

From subjective understanding to objective interpretation

Knowledge and intuition

24 Though I admit my view is probably somewhat blurred from where Im standing, it seems that particularly musicians have a preference for this viewpoint. 25 Werner, K. (1996). Effortless Mastery, liberating the master musician within. New Albany: Jamey Aebersold Jazz. 26 The project was called Boerderij 2. I made music and sounds for a puppet theatre show. 27 Simonton, D. K. Creativity; cognitive, personal, developmental, and social aspects. (2000). American psychologist 55(1), 151-158.


Being afraid of more knowledge about how something works, to me sounds the same as people in 15th century Europe being afraid to fall of the earth when sailing beyond the horizon. Getting to know the things we dont know we know, is not dangerous per se, just like getting to know how my metabolism works doesnt stop it from working. Research is not just about numbers and collecting data, as was made clear earlier. Many different methods serve many different purposes. The widening rift as Schon described it, seems to widen, not when we gain knowledge, but when we lack the knowledge to understand each others viewpoints.


2.2. A flow-based method for design

In this section I introduce my interaction speed model of design, which is derived from two other models. The first one is Galles model, which was discussed in the previous section, and which tries to define the act of designing on the most fundamental level. The second one is Reymens (2006) domain-indepent descriptive design model, which I found very interesting because of the domainindependence it suggests. This section looks into how my model could provide starting points for a flow-based method for design. 2.2.1. A domain-independent descriptive design model Reymen et al. (2006) made a domain-independent descriptive design model. For this, they looked at several other design models. Their model was based on architecture, mechanical engineering and software engineering 28. The literature Ive come across in my research into design processes, is mostly about design processes that are of a more predictable nature (meaning, they seem to involve more of the kind of processes of thought that are controllable, in the sense that we know what we know). Music, dance, theatre and the more traditional forms of art, like sculpturing and painting, which seem to be of a more unpredictable nature (meaning: they seem to involve more of the kind of processes of thought that are out of our control, in the sense that we dont know that we know), are less described in literature about design processes. There are however, numerous books and articles about these disciplines alone, including vast descriptions of the artefacts made within them. Cognitive processes, involved in music making have been described too. Its not so difficult to see the vast distinction between for example software engineering and acting. On the other hand, the models that describe design processes, seem applicable also to these far more intuitive processes of design. As different forms merge, like video and theatre for example, multidisciplinary design processes occur more often. This calls for common based grounds of communication. Domainindependent models of design processes can offer such a means for communication. This requires more research into a broader range of design processes. The domain-independent descriptive design model offers a nice starting point for this. The domain-independent descriptive design model represents the reality of the design process based on the concept of a design situation and a design activity. A design activity is a transition from one design situation into the other. The design process is a sequence of such design activities necessary to reach a design goal. A design situation is a place in time that represents both the state of the product being designed, the design context and the design process. The concept of the product being designed tries to avoid the problem of the absent artefact, which was discussed by Galle (1999) and mentioned in the previous section. The states of the product being designed and the design process at a given time are determined

Domainindependent model of design

Reymen, I.M.M.J., Hammer, D.K., Kroes, P.A., Aken, van, J.E., Dorst, C.H., Bax, M.F.T., & Basten, T. A Domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes. (2006) Research in Engineering Design.


by the values of properties, which describe their characteristics, and of factors, which influence these characteristics. All factors influencing the product being designed and the design process are summed up by the concept design context. Relations between properties and/ or factors are described as design relations. Parallel to each state at any given moment (called a current state if placed in present time) is a desired state. Likewise, theres a distinction between current properties and desired properties. The values of these properties can form different alternatives for the product being designed or the design process. Design activities are devised into two groups: mutations and transformations. A transformative action is a transition from one design situation towards another design situation the latter of whose states it represents are determined by desired properties that were parallel to the current properties of the states represented by the first. A transformation has a goal. A mutation does not have a goal, but occurs spontaneously. All the possible future states towards the design goal together at a certain moment in time are called the design space. The definition of design (verb) is given as follows:
[Designing is the activity of transforming the state of the product being designed or of the design process into another state towards the design goal.] 29

Reymen et al.s definition of design

Fig. 2a. Reymen et al.s design model

Fig. 2b. a description of a design situation


Reymen, I.M.M.J., Hammer, D.K., Kroes, P.A., Aken, van, J.E., Dorst, C.H., Bax, M.F.T., & Basten, T. A Domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes. (2006) Research in Engineering Design.


Fig. 2c. the concept of alternatives.

In the next example, Ive applied this model, its concepts and definitions, to the domain of music. My friend has to write a piece of music for music school big bands. He has to write six of such pieces of music a year. This piece of music is the product being designed. The music he writes has to meet a set of demands, called desired properties. The desired properties for the music are for example the orchestration and the length. These properties have values, for example, the values for the orchestration are: double bass, piano, electric guitar, drums, two to four trumpets, two to four trombones and four to five saxophones. The value for the length is two to four minutes. My friend has not written anything yet, so the current properties for the product being designed are not present. At a certain point in time the properties of the music he has written so far have values of orchestration: piano, drums and double bass, and length: one minute. His music also has many other properties. All of these properties together at a certain point in time are called the state of the product being designed. Just like the music, the process itself has to meet a set of demands. These are also called properties and have certain values. For example, a property for the process is its duration. The values of this property are an average of two months, derived from the six a year demand. Another property of the process is number of people involved. The value of this property is one. Again, all these properties together at a certain point in time, form the state of the design process. The music has to be two to four minutes because of the length of the music school lessons and because of the attention span of the students. The process has to have an average length of two months, because a number of pieces is required for a commercial success. The attention span of the students, the length of the lessons and demand for commercial success are factors that influence the properties of the product being designed. All these factors together form the design context. All of the factors together at a certain point in time are called the state of the design context. The states of the design process, design context and the product being designed together form a design situation. The design situation constantly changes. After a week, in which my friend has worked two days, he has a piece of music that has a length of one minute and with an orchestration of drums, piano and double bass. He has seven weeks left to finish the process. The piece is written in c minor. This is design situation 1. After three weeks, in which he has worked five days, he has three minutes of music with an orchestration of piano, drums, double bass, electric guitar, one trumpet, one trombone and

An example to illustrate Reymen et al.s Design model


two saxophones. He has five weeks left. The piece is now written in both c minor and e minor. This is design situation 2. All of the actions that were needed for the transition from design situation 1 to design situation 2, are called the design activities. The particular transition from one minute length to three minute length was a transformation; my friend intended to make the piece in between two and four minutes of length; this was part of the design goal. He moved from current properties to the desired properties, which in turn became the current properties of design situation 2. The transition from c minor to c minor and e minor though, was a mutation; my friend did not intend at any point the piece to be in both keys, it just happened. At a certain point in time, my friend contemplated if he would finish the piece within the two month period, within four weeks, or within three months. He also contemplated the number of trumpets, trombones and saxophones hed use. The combinations of these different values of properties were all alternatives for the product being designed. In every design situation, such alternatives are present. So, at a certain point in time, the design situation (the states of the design context, design process and product being designed) is accompanied by a number of alternatives for the design process and product being designed. This is called the design space. According to the definition of design given above, my friend was designing when he was transforming the length of the music from one minute to three minutes and the orchestration from drums, piano and double bass, into an orchestration of piano, drums, double bass, electric guitar, one trumpet, one trombone and two saxophones. The mutation from c minor into c minor and e minor could not be considered designing as it is not a transformation towards the design goal.30 2.2.2. An interaction speed model of design The perspective Reymen et al.s model takes on the design process is quite different from the perspective Galles model takes. Galle defined design(ing) as the production of a design representation. Where Reymen et al. include the concepts of a design goal, desired properties and alternatives, Galle uses the concept of artefact-idea. Galle clearly distinguishes between artefact-idea and an idea of an artefact, to avoid the problem of the absent artefact. Reymen et al. do not avoid this problem fully, as they introduce the concept of desired properties instead of, for example, property-desires. The concept of design activities is used by both. Reymen et al. make a distinction between transformations and mutations, Galle distinguishes between production and interpretation. Production can be both transformative and mutative, as the previous example showed. Interpretation can also be both transformative and mutative. When my friend interacts with his design representations, hes able to interpret them towards the design goal. Hell look at the orchestration and length of the music and interprets whether they are in accordance to the design goal. The length and orchestration are not all hes interpreting, though. At the same time, he interprets a vast number of other values of properties, such as the key the song is in, the tempo, the dynamics, et cetera. In other words, his interpretations have a focus, which is dependent on the

Different perspectives

30 The inspiration for this example was taken from a real life situation. Though many things in it are much like how it happened in reality, other things are made up for illustrative means.


design goal. Bringing the length of the song from one minute to three minutes can be considered quite a predictable transformation. Bringing the key of the song from c minor to c minor and e minor can be considered quite an unpredictable transformation. We might also say that when my friend was interpreting the length of the song, he knew what he knew, but at the same time, he didnt know what he knew concerning the key the song was in. The difference between the definitions of design as given by Galle and Reymen et al, can easily be removed by saying that design(ing) is both the production and interpretation of design representations in both a transformative and mutative manner. In other words, designing is the interaction of designer and design representation. This interaction is both transformative and mutative in nature. As Galle (1999, p. 78) mentions, the artefact-idea is not a static entity, but changes over time:
[The clients initial idea is labelled as-conceived. By some cognitive process, the nature of which I shall not attempt to analyse here, he reaches a final as-specified idea, driven by which he produces the (final) design brief, and in accordance with which he interprets it.] 31


Lets now introduce the concept of property-idea for a moment and consider that the artefact-idea is made up by a number of propertyideas. Through time, these property-ideas move in and out of focus. Also, property-ideas are added and removed (or appear and disappear) from the artefact-idea, for example, when my friend decides that his piece of music needs a bridge, or when he decides that it doesnt need to have a solo. Like this, the artefact-idea changes over time and the conscious perception, meaning the mental picture the designer has of the artefact-idea changes over time. The design representations with which the designer interacts, are transformed in accordance to property-ideas that are in focus, while they mutate (or, are mutated) in accordance to the property-ideas that are out of focus. At this point, there isnt really a need for the use of the words transformation and mutation, as they were introduced to indicate the difference between transitions towards the design goal and transitions that just happen. Ive just implied that transitions dont just happen, but have a reason for happening. One way to argue this is to say that in between deliberately designed properties of a design representation, are rest spaces, that werent deliberately designed, but are there as a result of the deliberately designed properties. In other words, every product has properties that were intended, and properties that were unintended, but came to be as a side product of the properties that were intended. For example: my friend intended his music to have a length of in between two and four minutes. He also intended it to have a tempo that could easily be played by the students. The property structure (devised into sub-properties, like lengths of separate song partitions, their orders and the number of repetitions) is dependent on these properties, and, though my friend of course intended the song to have some kind of structure, the values of this property were not intended. On a smaller scale, my friend was at one point changing some notes in the drums, in order to make the part more easily playable. As a result, the bass part became less easily playable. Such design

In and out of focus

Intended and unintended properties

Galle, P. Design as intentional action: a conceptual analysis. (1999). Design Studies, 20(1), 57-81.


relations, as they were called earlier by Reymen et al., seem to play a considerably large part in the design process. You might also say that these design relations are reasons for transitions to happen. More carefully put: a designer does not only interpret the properties of the design representation, but also the relations between them, the property-relations. Accordingly, the designers artefact-idea does not only consist of property-ideas, but also of propertyrelation-ideas, and he tries to produce design representations according to these property-relation-ideas. As this is a continuous cycle of interaction, the properties, property-ideas, propertyrelations and property-relation-ideas shift constantly, creating what were called sets of alternatives by Reymen et al. Property-relationideas depend on property-ideas and consequently, move in and out of focus, changing, or more carefully put: altering the artefact-idea. In accordance to the alterations of the artefact-idea, the design representations are altered. Below, Ive drawn a picture that represents this interaction speed model which gives a representation of designing, frozen in time:

Properties and relations

Fig. 3: An interaction speed design model


2.2.3. Creativity, flow and interaction The word creativity is used in many different contexts. Just like with the word design, there is not one widely spread definition of the subject (Lemons, 2005, p. 26)32. In the Handbook of Creativity (1999), it is described as [the ability to create work that is both novel (i.e.,
original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e., useful, adaptive concerning task 33 constraints)]. Reflected in this definition, we can see two key

A definition of creativity

elements of designing: its predictable as well as its unpredictable nature. In order to make things that are useful or adaptive concerning task constraints, we need to be able to predict what we are going to make. Original, or unexpected outcomes are by nature more unpredictable. When a designer starts designing, his initial artefactidea may contain many property-ideas, or very little. In other words hell have some idea about what hes going to make, or not the faintest idea. Consequently, the results of his actions will be more or less predictable. But even when the artefact-idea is made up of many property-ideas, there will still be the need for more property-ideas to appear through the process. In the example given in the previous sub-section, my friends artefact-idea already had some propertyideas at the start of the process, but he still had to write the music. Doing that, properties and property-ideas appeared and disappeared, property-relations and property-relation-ideas shifted in such a way that my friend could not predict beforehand. The whole system of possible properties and their relations is so complex, that it can easily be typified as chaotic34. So, in a way, creating order in chaos is what designers do. Order is put down in design representations. Like this, the designer can explore more chaos, without loosing order. He merely has to look into the design representation to review it. He can even put the design representations away for a while and pick them up later. This means interaction speed can be low at points. However, when the design representation is a real-time reflection of the design process, the designer can not simply look into the design representations and review order. In this case, the order has to be stored within the artefact-idea and used continuously in the interaction of designer and design representation. This means interaction speed is high in this type of designing. Improvisation is an example of high speed interaction between designer and design representation. Improvisation is very common in music and theatre, but has also been applied in product design35. Ive heard people within these domains (music and theatre) use the word flow quite often. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) described this state of optimal involvement. It occurs when people are so concentrated on their task, that they forget the world around them, their sense of time, themselves even. They are so engaged in what they do that they seem to merge with it. Thought and action become one.36 Csikszentmihalyi (1990) describes what he calls a flow

A chaotic process

Interaction speed



32 Lemons, G. When the Horse Drinks: Enhancing Everyday Creativity Using Elements of Improvisation. (2005) Creativity Research Journal 17(1), 25-36. 33 Sternberg, R.J., & Lubart, T.I. The Concept of Creativity: Prospects and Paradigms. (1999) In R.J. Sternberg (ed.) Handbook of Creativity (2nd ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 34 The chaos theory is briefly described in Vroon, P.A. (1992) Wolfsklem, De evolutie van het menselijk gedrag (7th ed.) (p. 116-154). Baarn: AMBO. 35 Laural, B. Design Improvisation, Ethnography meets Theatre (2003). In Brenda Laural (ed.), Design Research, methods and perspectives (p. 49). Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press. 36 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003) Flow, psychologie van de optimale ervaring (5th ed.). Amsterdam: BOOM. Original publication: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience.


channel. Flow occurs, he argues, when skills meet challenges. When skills are too low and challenges too high, the person that has to perform the task experiences anxiety. When skills are too high and challenges too low, the person experiences boredom. Consequently, in search of flow, dynamic movements take place from boredom towards anxiety through the increase of challenge and from anxiety to boredom through the increase of skills. This dynamics of skills and challenges can be placed within the model of interaction between designer and design representation; the skills come from within the designer, the challenges come from within the design representation. In relation to the design model I drew, it seems as if the difference between design representation and artefact-idea fades when people are in flow; designer and design representation merge. This would not be a very truthful representation of reality, though; designer and design representation do not really merge, this is only the perception of the designer. Its more likely that the interaction between designer and design representation occurs at such a speed, that it seems as if they merge, like the separate frames of a film merge into one, moving image. Property(-relation)-ideas seem to move in and out of focus very quickly. Skills and challenges seem to adapt to each other quickly, resulting in a more continuous flow. An important aspect of the ability to experience flow, is to be able to recognize these challenges37. The ability to recognize challenges, would mean within the context of the design model I drew, property-ideas and propertyrelation ideas moving in and out of focus very quickly. Csikszentmihalyi points out that the feeling of flow is not determined by the skills we have in reality, but by the skills we think we have.38 In relation to the creative process, this is easy to understand. As the whole system of possible properties and their relations is so complex, that it can easily be typified as chaotic, as I mentioned earlier, it holds in it vast numbers of possibilities, of new challenges to be explored and skills to be tested. Maybe this is what makes chaos so intriguing. Like this, we can test our skills in different ways every time. But although we experience flow, we might not really be learning anything new, except how to create flow. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might have the consequence that we keep repeating ourselves. On the one hand, this might be what makes a designer authentic, on the other hand it might keep him from exploring his possibilities and doing ever more complex things. As such, it can be necessary for a designer now and then to actively increase his skills and challenges. Doing this within a high-speed interaction between designer and design representation seems difficult though. When a big step has to be made in increasing skill (or, consequently, increasing challenge), this is likely to interrupt the continuity of flow. Maybe, when interaction speed is lower, the steps that can be taken in the direction of either skill or challenge, can be bigger, because there is more time for challenge and skill to adapt.

Flow channel

Interaction speed dynamics and flow

37 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003) Flow, psychologie van de optimale ervaring (5th ed.). Amsterdam: BOOM. Original publication: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 38 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003) Flow, psychologie van de optimale ervaring (5th ed.). Amsterdam: BOOM. Original publication: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience.


2.2.4. A flow-based method for design The act of designing in itself seems highly suitable for creating flow. The higher the speeds of interaction between designer and design representation is, the more flow the designer probably experiences. The design processes Ive come across in my research showed different speeds of interaction within them and in between them. When interaction within a design process slows down, it can be either good or bad. If its slowing down to make big steps in acquiring skills or increasing challenge, its a good thing. If its slowing down because the process is somehow stuck, its not a good thing. Maybe, when a design process gets stuck, its because challenges are too high, or skills are too low. Or, maybe the designer focuses too hard, causing property(-relation)-ideas to change too slowly, or too little, causing the designer to be unable to determine which ones are relevant. With respect to the last case, some designers have absolutely no problem working without guidelines, while others absolutely need them. With respect to the first case, Many designers indicate that they sometimes need to get away from what theyre doing when theyre stuck, and the answer to the problem appears in a totally unexpected way. Either too much control or too little control seems to result in a sort of anti-flow. When interaction speeds differ between two design processes, but the designers need to work together on one thing, this can cause some trouble. The higher the interaction speed, the higher the amount of change of the design representation. This means some properties of the design representation evolve rather quickly, and others quite slowly. This can result in misinterpretation and tight deadlines. A well-known complaint of composers for media for example, is the speed in which they have to deliver their work. Music comes last very often. When interaction speed is high, design representations will take shape, so to speak, quickly. This does not always mean though, that much progress has been made, though based on the design representations, one might think it has, certainly when the own design process does not produce design representations as quickly. When designers from different disciplines know more about the interaction speed of each others design processes, and the ways in which this speed varies during the process, it should be easier to synchronise different design disciplines and make cooperation more pleasant and fruitful.

Getting stuck

Synchronising interaction speed



Measuring interaction speed

In the previous chapter, I introduced my interaction speed model of design. The question now raises how and to what extend it would be possible to measure this interaction speed over the course of a design project. When we have done this, we can look at the parameters of flow and see how they relate to this interaction speed. Ive done this for two of my own projects, which are situated in the domain of music design, and I will discuss this in part two of this thesis. This chapter now still focuses on design in general so its possible to apply the things I discuss to any design discipline. I start with a summary of the four methods I used for transcribing a design process, which are: making notes, looking at the development of the design representation, filming, and communication and which I suggest can be used in any design discipline. After this, I pay some attention to the interpretation of the data obtained from using these methods. In section two. I introduce the concept of process spaces as a tool to map a project and I consider some difficulties that arise from using these project maps in combination with the concept of interaction speed and measuring it.

3.1. Exploring Methods

Ive mentioned earlier that my research started out with the question of why some design processes work very well, while others dont, Ive tried different methods for describing my own design processes. Next, I will describe four important ones that I think could be applied to any design discipline. After that, I will focus on the interpretation of such transcriptions, as this is what makes them useful. 3.1.1. Transcribing a design process The first thing I did in transcribing my own design processes was make notes. Though to an experienced researcher, this seems quite an obvious thing to do, making notes of your own design process has some difficulties that stand in the way of applying this method in a structural way. First there is the question of when to make notes: while you are designing, or in between design sessions, or both? Making notes within a design session, interferes with this design session and as such doesnt seem practical. For this reason, Reymen (2006) et al.s design models reflective application was used in between design sessions.39 The downside of this is obvious: when making notes in between design sessions, a lot of information could already have been forgotten by then. However, this could also be the case when notes are taken with structured intervals, within a design session. A different approach would be to make notes whenever

Making notes

Reymen, I.M.M.J., Hammer, D.K., Kroes, P.A., Aken, van, J.E., Dorst, C.H., Bax, M.F.T., & Basten, T. A Domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes. (2006) Research in Engineering Design.


something seemingly significant happens in the process. This requires though, that the designer knows in advance what hes looking for. But if the designer knows in advance what to look for, making notes in between design sessions or even after the design process, would probably be sufficient; Its easier to remember the things you are specifically looking for than the things you arent specifically looking for. These are some of the considerations Ive come across applying this method. Another thing of consideration is discipline. A designers main goal is to design. When deadlines are tight and when hours are long, the added workload of making notes, however small, doesnt seem very inviting. My method of making notes of my own design processes has evolved and is still evolving. I started out making notes mainly after a design process. Id write down some of what I thought were the most important things concerning my main question. After this, I shifted more towards written reports, without an obvious focus for a main question, as I thought this would give a more objective view on what happened and it could be studied by someone else as well. I made reports like this after a design process, but also in between design sessions. This evolved back into making notes, but within and in between design sessions. This method does not interfere much with the design process, as I make the notes whenever the design process slows down or comes to a halt. In other words: I make notes when interaction speed is relatively low. Making notes when interaction speed is relatively high is not possible. I quite like this way of making notes, as it doesnt interfere with the process, it provides quite an objective view as it describes what happens without a focus on one particular question or set of questions. In addition, it provides somewhat a method for reflection, which can help to get a better grip on the design process. The only thing it lacks is a better implementation into the software system, for example: a sort of plugin that would pop up at given times in which you can type or record your comments. After typing, you simply press enter and the pop-up goes away. If you dont want to type, you simply ignore it and it will go away, recording time, but not comments. Afterwards, this plug-in can make visible when interaction speed was relatively high and when it was relatively low. The comments give more insight in what was going on at the time.* Another way to get insight in whats going on in a design process is to look at the design representations as they evolve over time. Differences between sketches give an indication of the focus of the designer. Most probably, the properties that have changed are those that were in focus over that period of time. The nice thing about this method is that you use the natural course of a design process to study it and as such, you dont interfere with the process itself. A lot does depend on the nature of the design representations that belong to the design process. For example: when a painter doesnt use separate sketches, but starts and finishes painting on one single canvas, the separate stages of a the design representation are not visible anymore in the end. In this case, taking pictures would be a good alternative. The same thing can happen when you work on a piece of music in a single file. Computer software makes it possible to delete, edit and change the design representation without keeping older versions. Keeping older versions of files is in a way a design

Development of design representation

Though I could imagine this would be very annoying, just like the Microsoft Office Clippy character.


strategy: when the results of the designers decisions turn out the wrong way, he can go back to before it went wrong. For this application, Ive used this method for quite some while. Doing this was in way made unavoidable, because the software I was working with about six years ago, didnt allow more than one undo-action. I later applied this method in a more structural way, giving numbers or dates to the files I was working on and saving them more often. As music is a time-related artefact, analysing these results, is very time consuming. Looking at design representation does provide a more colourful, appealing view on a design process. It makes an analysis less abstract. Just like in taking notes, the same considerations concerning intervals of measurement, apply. Likewise, a plug-in or other means of automatic measurement would be interesting to think of.

Fig. 4a.


Fig. 4b.

Fig. 4c. Figs. 4a.b.c. : The development of a design representation. In this situation, pictures can be helpful to review the process, but the design representation can never go back to the way it was.40


These pictures were taken by Jan hendrik Dolsma, Groningen, The Netherlands. The painting is called Zon achter het duin and was also made by Jan hendrik Dolsma, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Ive mentioned taking pictures as a way of recording design representations evolving over time. This brings us to the use of film when recording a design process. I was much concerned with the objectivity of my research into my own processes, and I figured it would be good to film different processes from different people to work around this problem. Similar things had been done by other people.41 I worked together with Jarg de Gooijer on this project and we decided it would be best to start with a pilot film in which we would make something together and film this. It turned out that the method of filming was very time consuming; Arranging and setting up equipment, breaking down again, importing the film material, watching it, analysing it, editing it. On the other hand, it did provide a lot of information, especially information about things that I wasnt aware of during or after the process. The considerations concerning intervals of measurement, do not apply to this method, because everything is recorded. Only when we made an edit of the material, we had to consider which parts we thought were of interest and which parts were not. My conclusions from using this method are that filming the design process is a very rich source of information, but the fact that its so incredibly time consuming is a real problem in using it. Cutting down this time through the use of less and easier to use equipment would be a solution to one part of this problem. Analysing data does still take a lot of time though. The fourth and last method I want to discuss is communication. The objectivity of film has the downside that you dont see whats going on in the designers mind. To avoid this problem, I thought it would be good to include an interview with the designers, taken when they were watching the film. In this way they could reflect on what they were doing and give insight into what was going on inside their heads at the time. We applied this method in the film we made of our own design process. Also, in this case, the fact that we filmed a design process that involved two people rather than one, slightly worked around this problem; Decisions that have to be made are discussed, and like this, thoughts are made perceptible. Just like evolving design representations, communication is not only a method for design research, but also a method for design, at least in design processes where different people are involved. Though sometimes, communication is recorded through email or letters, verbal communication is not necessarily recorded, except through memory and notes. When communication is a method for design, rather than a method for design research, applying such methods is primarily aimed at the result of the process, not at understanding the process itself. Applying more deliberate ways of communication, with the intention to get more insight into the process can be done through interviewing people or holding enquiries. The pros and cons of these methods have been described in chapter two. Throughout my design research Ive used both interviews and holding enquiries, as well as casual talks about design processes with colleagues. Together with Jarg de Gooijer, I set up a class for music students in which we discussed the creative process and theirs in particular. This method was almost exclusively based on communication. In some projects



Dutch filmmaker Cherry Duijns made a documentary called De Wording (The Becoming, my translation), in which he filmed six different artist and their process. The Dutch tv-network VPRO produced a show called De Schepper (The Creator, my translation), in which different artist had to make something in a short period of time. A Dutch amateur filmer, Simon Stegmeijer made a film called Tango, beeld in wording (Tango, a sculpture becoming, my translation), in which the process of a the making of a sculpture was filmed.


Ive done in the past, the people I worked with were also very process-orientated. In these cases, communication as a method for design research becomes a method for design. A downside I experienced with this method is that the designers involved in the process, myself included, are too focussed on the process and too little on the results. It does not always pay to worry about how and why things are done.42 From the different methods of communication Ive applied throughout my design research, Ive come to the conclusion that communication as a method for design research is especially helpful when you want to share and discuss general ideas about how a design process works. Different people can offer different viewpoints. When trying to get a more specific idea of a particular aspect of a particular design process, a combination with another method for transcription is useful. 3.1.2. Interpreting a design process Though all four of the methods I discussed in the previous subsection have offered me some good starting points for exploring the design process, the transcriptions in which they resulted have little meaning without interpretation. As discussed in chapter two, meaning is not an absolute thing, but is relative to other meanings we give or have given to the world around us. This means that in my interpretation of these transcriptions I havent only been going from these transcriptions, but also a lot from my experience: a network of interconnected ideas. The experience from one project coloured my perception and focus in the next. A good example of this is found in two projects I did called Jong Wild and Prins Petfoods. When I began the Jong Wild project, the director was very clear in what she expected me to make. Also in the Prins Petfoods project, it was very clear what the producers expected me to make. However, as time went along, it seemed that this wasnt the case at all. What the producers had in mind turned out to be quite different from what I had in mind. I made the assumption that I knew exactly what both clients expected from me, because both referred to something I had made before. In the second project there were other aspects that I didnt include in my interpretation, and as such my interpretation mislead me into thinking that I knew exactly what they wanted from me. From these kinds of cross-interpretations, Ive concluded that drawing conclusions about how things will probably go, brings interpretation to a halt. Its necessary to keep interpreting throughout the design process. Drawing conclusions is of later concern. As my interpretation was always dependent on both transcriptions and experience, interpretation was never an act of structural, conscious, step-by-step analysis. Having a hunch about whats going on has been very important. In this way, my design research has been quite intuitive. In addition, a design researcher can be or needs to be very flexible. Also discussed in chapter two was the chaotic nature of a design process. A design process is so complex and it can be viewed from so many angles, that its not very likely that you can predict every little bit of it in advance. The example above shows how I experienced this in practice. Using different methods for transcription can therefore be very helpful in design


Intuitive design research

In many of the projects I did with theatre group Wild Vreemd this problem occured.


research, I think. Consequently, when interpreting these different methods, the designer/researcher should be aware of the different conventions within these transcriptions as well as of the possibility that some aspects of the process have not been transcribed. Ive used different methods throughout different processes. In that way, researching design for me has also been about designing research. At this point, I prefer the method of making notes together with evolving design representations for getting a detailed picture of whats going on in a design process. Many of the case studies in design research Ive come across use similar methods: written word for explanation and design representations for illustration.43 Film and interviews concerning the design process are well-represented in different media. The danger in using these as research material, I feel, is that interpretation of the journalist can be very coloured with romantic and simplified ideas about creativity, and that such a romantic, simplified idea is much more interesting for a bigger audience. It is probable that in different design disciplines, different methods for transcription will be more or less suitable for application. Within intuitive disciplines, making notes might be difficult, but film might offer a good alternative (and is also used in for example dance and theatre). The answer to the question of to what extend these methods are applicable in different disciplines relies on bringing them into practice more often.


Laural, B. (ed.), (2003) Design Research, methods and perspectives. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press./ V2_NAi Publishers (ed.), aRt&Design, Research and development in art.



A blueprint of interaction speed

From using the methods I discussed in the previous section, Ive been able to look at my projects in more and more detail, and Ive created an additional method for mapping design processes, which is based on the concept of process spaces, which I discuss in this section. Again, these process spaces apply to any design process, as the concept is based on my interaction speed model of design and its parameters are domain-independent. In explaining the concept, I will sometimes mention two projects from my own practice to illustrate the concept and its development. These are the Pilot and Komedie project and they are more thoroughly discussed in part two of this thesis. A process space is a combination of designer, design representation, place and (period of) time. Different process spaces can relate to each other in different ways. These process spaces and their relation form a map of a project, on which the development of interaction speed can be represented: a blueprint of interaction speed. Measuring interaction speed has a few difficulties to it, though. In this section, these difficulties, as well as process spaces and their relations are introduced and discussed. 3.2.1. Process spaces

When I analysed the Pilot and Komedie project, the first thing that seemed relevant for making a blueprint of interaction speed, was that in both processes, the interaction did not only occur in one, but in several places. In the Pilot project, there were the jamsession caf, my home-studio, the rehearsal-room, the faculty studio, Nieks homestudio and Michel en Sander v. U.s studio. On December 5th 2006, Ben and Jarg told me they would listen to the recordings made at the rehearsals at home, so we could include their home in this list as well. I had a far less detailed picture of these places in the Komedie project, but the ones I could be certain of were: my own home-studio, three different classrooms in the faculty of theatre, Marjas home, and the faculty theatre. Within these different places, a variety of combinations between designers and design representations occurred, at different times. In some cases, several designers were involved, or several design representations, or both. I called such a combination of designer(s), design representation(s), place and time a process space. An example within the Pilot project of a process space is one of the several jamsessions I attended between April 2005 and May 2006. Figure 5. represents this process space.


Fig. 5. A process space called jamsession

The picture represents the different musicians (designers) as white circles. The circle with the H in it represents me (Hanneke), while the ones with the question marks in it represent the other musicians that played. If I would have had a detailed report of this event, the exact number of and names of the people involved, and the exact number of times we played and for how long, this picture would have been far more detailed. You must therefore see it as a simplified representation of what happened in reality. The black circle represents the music-as-played by the musicians, the design representation. The black line drawn between them indicates that there is an interaction going on: the musicians play and listen. It would be possible to make the drawing even more complex by adding for example the different instruments-as-played as separate design representations. I could then also introduce lines that indicate an interpretation only. The rounded squares that surround the circles and lines represents the place in which the designers and design representation interacted. In this case it was the Tagrijn. To be more specific: it was the main hall of the Tagrijn. Even more specific would be to say that it was the stage in the main hall. However, as the sound filled all of this hall, you could argue with this last statement. The text below the rounded square, which says about 10 minutes gives an indication of how long the interaction lasted. The hexagon with the A in it, is equal to the drawing on the left of it and as such


represents a process space. The drawing at the bottom includes the two process spaces, A and B, and shows that they iterated over a period of about five hours. This results in another process space, represented by the hexagon labelled 1. This represents the whole evening, in which several sessions took place, some of which I participated in. What this picture shows then, is that process spaces can be as small or as big as you want them to be for your analysis. If I wanted to study this particular jamsession at more detail, given I had such a detailed report of it, I could sub-divide these process spaces into even smaller process spaces. I could also do the opposite and summarize all jamsessions that took place in a one year period in one very big process space. This process space relates to other process spaces in a particular way. They can, for example, relate through place. All jamsessions in the Tagrijn were related like this. All the jamsessions I attended were thus also related through a designer. This designer was also the relation between the jamsession and the recording of my first idea for the song Only One. These process spaces were, however, not related in place, as I recorded the idea at home. The process space of the making of the leadsheet for this same song was related to this process space of recording the idea through both designer and design representation. The process spaces of me practicing the song at home and Ben practicing the song at his home, are also related through the design representation, but not through the designer. In this case, a time relation could also exist, as it would be possible that wed be practicing the song at the same time at a different place. To cut things short, when a process space consists of time, place, designer and design representation, in theory, sixteen different combinations of these four aspects are possible. This is represented in figure 4. As such, in theory, some process spaces relate more closely to one another than others. When all four aspects relate to each other, as is the case in combination l., the two process spaces are essentially one process space. When none of the aspects are related, there is no relation. When three of the four aspects are related, as is the case in combinations a, b, c, and d, the two process spaces are in theory very closely related. However, combination b is impossible; a designer cannot be at two places at the same time (though maybe a webcam could make this option possible) For the same reason, combination j is also not possible. Combination c is only possible when a designer can work at two different design representations at the same time, which is highly unlikely. As such, combination a and d remain as the two strongest relations. When only one of the four aspects of two design representations is related, the relation is in theory very weak. When two aspects are related, the relation is in theory neither very strong nor weak, but in between, say fairly strong. However, in the context of design processes, a relation based on designer or design representation would seem stronger than a relation based on time or place. It would then also depend on the whole picture of the design process, how strong a certain relation is. A development of a design representation does not always appear to be significant right away. In hindsight, it could be valued as more or less significant to the total development of the design representation. However, I categorized these different types of relations, as is represented in figure 7. The darker the colour of the circle and letter that represents the relation type, the stronger this relation is in general.

Relations between process spaces


Fig. 6. Possible combinations of relations between process spaces (in theory).

The jamsessions I attended between April 2005 and May 2006, and which are all represented by figure 5, have a relation that is represented by combination k in figure 6. I will now call this a ktype relation. In figure 7., two of these jamsessions, held on 28-0405 and 12-05-05 are represented by the red hexagons and the dates that float above them. The line that connects them represents that they have a relation, and the circled k on the line represents the relation type.

Fig. 7: A representation of two process spaces and their relation to one another.

These process spaces and their relations formed the basis for the maps I made for the Pilot and Komedie project. In the appendix to this thesis, youll find the complete overview of process spaces and their relations represented in these maps and in pictures representing the separate process spaces. I already pointed out that some theoretical relations are not possible in practice. When I made the project maps, I chose not to picture all relations between all the different process spaces, as this would result in an unclear representation of the project. I chose to draw all relations that involved a design representation and to put them into a left-to-right

Project map


chronological order, so many non-time relations were also obsolete. For example: I would chain jamsession 28-04-05 to jamsession 1205-05, and I would chain jamsession 12-05-05 to jamsession 26-0505, but I would not chain jamsession 28-04-05 to jamsession 26-0505. I also skipped many designer-related process spaces, as these were so numerous, that they would blur the total picture. What the map particularly shows then, is the development of the design representation through time, a line of which some parts I have made green, to illustrate the most important developments. In the same maps, I have made some process space borders redder and thicker than others. This shows the height of interaction speed. In doing this, however, I considered a number of things, which I will explain in this next section. 3.2.2. Measuring interaction speed Within the particular process space represented in Figure 5., interaction speed is quite high: the design representation, the musicas-played, is a real-time reflection of the design process. The design representation changes constantly. I found that in other process spaces though, the amount of change of the design representation was sometimes considerably lower. For example, in the Komedie project, I spent four hours changing only a very small part of the maxpatch. Based on the amount of change of the design representation in relation to the time spent, Id say that in this process space, interaction speed was very low. Interaction speed seems to come to a halt between two process spaces that are related through designer and design representation. For example, in between when I recorded the first idea of the song Only One, and when I continued with this recorded idea a second time, the design representation did not change. Wouldnt it be better then, to cut away this time between process spaces and look only at interaction speed within them? I see one strong argument for not doing so: though the design representation does not change, the artefact-idea might well change in between process spaces. The time in between process spaces can be an essential part of the process, as it offers room for reflection. This means that the number of process spaces, has to be considered in relation to interaction speed. You could also state that several smaller process spaces form one bigger process space, on a higher level of abstraction. Figure 9. represents the separate process spaces of me working on the recorded idea for the song Only One, in my home studio. As the internal structure of these process spaces are very similar, and their relation to one another very strong, Ive here summarized them into one process space, represented also in figure 8. Note how the border of process space 2 is redder and thicker than those of process spaces 3:

Relevant relations

Size of process space


Figure 8. Interaction speed in relation to several process spaces, and in relation to one abstract process space.

So, if you look at the development of interaction speed through a project , you need to consider the level of abstraction of the process space. When I made the maps of the Komedie project and the Pilot project, I unavoidably had to make these abstractions, or the whole picture would become far too detailed. The process spaces I drew generally cover a few hours and one place. The designer cast sometimes changes within the process spaces. The design representation of course changes the most. Another level of abstraction to consider is that of the design representation. When the amount of change in the design representation says something about the interaction speed, interaction slows down when the design representation gets more complex. The speed of interaction between me and the Maxpatch was very low when I worked on it for four hours, with very little change in relation to the whole patch. In relation to the whole theatre piece, this change I made was even smaller. However, the maxpatch , which can be considered one big machine, consists of several smaller machines. In relation to the part of the machine the part I was working on was part of, the speed of interaction between me and the part I was working on was much higher, as relatively a lot in the design representation changed. To speak in terms of properties: the more properties a design representation consists of, the more of these properties have to be changed in the same amount of time to result in the same interaction speed.

Level of abstraction

Complexity of design representation


Fig. 9. Interaction speed in relation to amounts of time and change and interaction speed in relation to amount of change and complexity of design representation

However, the difficulty with this conclusion is that properties dont always seem to answer to this logic. A small, fictional example to illustrate this: The time I need to change the tempo of a song recorded in Logic from 120 bpm into 60 bpm, and the time I need to change one note (x) of the song from a into c, is about the same, about five seconds I gather. However, the latter change has far less impact on the total structure of the song than the first. A simple way to explain this would be to include the property-relations into what is considered the amount of change. The property tempo relates to far more other properties than the property note x. So, in fact, when you change the property tempo, you change not only one thing, but several things. The complexity of a design representation does not only rely on the number of properties, but also (or, moreover, maybe even) on their relations to one another. In this case of the property tempo, the nature of this relation is very clear. The following picture shows a situation in which this relation is quite fuzzy:

Amount of change

Fig. 11. The amount of change is subject to interpretation

Design representation a. is not complex, just the properties shape=square and colour=black. Changing one of these properties is, in relation to the complexity of the design representation, quite an amount of change. When the square changes from black to white in a design representation that is far more complex, such as design


representations b and c, relatively, the amount of change is far less. However, the same type of change can result in a far bigger amount of change as is shown in design representation c. Here, the amount of change depends on the interpretation of the design representation by the designer. If you recognize a face in the black and white squares, you could consider this quite a big change. If you do not recognize a face in this design representation, the amount of change is just as big as in design representation b.* Whether you consider the amount of change of c. to be bigger than the amount of change of a, also depends on interpretation. In my analyses of the Komedie and Pilot project, I will make no further attempt to unravel this complex network of property-relations. It would be an interesting subject for research though, as it might tell more about interaction on a small scale. In the next part of this thesis, I will analyse the Pilot and Komedie project with the project maps I made using the concepts of process spaces and interaction speed.


And, of course, if you recognize the two-story house with chimney and roof terrace and four windows and the door around the back in representation b, you might consider the change of b far bigger than that of c, especially when youre designing a house.


Part II. Flow-based music design: Two projects from my own practice analysed



Process and Results

In this chapter, I take a close look at how interaction speed has developed over the course of the Pilot and Komedie projects and how this has seemed to effect both the results of these projects and how I experienced the process. In the first section, I will explain the steps I took as a music designer within these projects to increase the levels of flow and interaction speed and in section two we will see how this turned out in practice.

4.1. The Pilot and Komedie project

In both the Pilot and Komedie project, interaction speed played a key role. In both projects, I made specific choices that were intended to foster higher interaction speeds and more flow. In this section, I will sum up the actions I took in both projects to increase interaction speed and flow 4.1.1. The Pilot project 44 The Pilot project encloses a period of about a year and a half, in which I practiced singing and playing bass simultaneously, played at jamsessions, listened to a lot of music, wrote three songs, assembled a band and arranged, performed and recorded these songs with them. The project more or less evolved from a number of circumstances and had no clear, hard lined beginning nor end. My ideas about interaction speed and its appliance to real-life situations, emerged somewhat before and evolved somewhat parallel to the early stages of this project. This project has taken a very natural course, or in other words: it doesnt have a context of demand and deliver, but it has grown from personal interest, without preoccupation with external aspects. For me to analyse this project as both insider and outsider has the great advantage that this process was very little interfered with from outside. I was involved primary as a participator, not as a researcher. The downside of this story, is that transcribing this project has been quite puzzling, as I hadnt made a lot of notes, and certainly not in a systematic way. However, with the help of design representations, my agenda, memory and the notes I did take, I was able to make a picture of this project, detailed enough to use for analyses. More about this is found in chapter four, I will now focus on the actions and choices I made as a designer in this project, to increase interaction speed. From the point where I had decided to take a number of songs and play them with a band, a number of considerations came to mind as the projects evolved further: I figured that it would be best to create a situation in which these band members would have the feeling that they were doing something in which they could express

A more detailed description of the Pilot project is given in Appendix 1.


themselves. Furthermore, I thought it would be important for the band to really feel as a group. I also decided that the project itself should not take very long and that the goals we set were clear and real. The need for expression, came from both my own re-discovery of my own need for expression through music, and the assumption that personal expression played a key-role in the creation of novel, original artefacts, an assumption that was based on my research into creativity until that point. The need for team spirit, came from my growing awareness of how to approach other people in a way that benefits both parties the most, and the assumption that people should work with equal-minded people to get the most satisfactory result and process, an assumption probably born from a number of unsatisfactory processes and/ or results where I worked with different minded people, as well as my exploration of more psychology related subjects. The need for clear and real goals emerged from my research into flow and my experiences with my earlier band, which mostly lacked clear and real goals. These ideas expressed themselves in a number of practical choices and actions towards the process, on which I will now elaborate. When I assembled the musicians, I considered whether I liked the music they made and whether this music seemed authentic to me. Asking Jarg (de Gooijer) as a drummer was a very logical step, from both of these viewpoints, and from the fact that we did some research together and that he had notified me earlier that he would especially like to play in a band that was about having fun in playing music. Asking Ben (Lammerts van Bueren) as a guitarist, had also to do with that I really liked the songs he wrote and thought of them as very authentic. The leadsheets I made of the songs I wrote didnt have any notes or chords or bar lengths on them, merely a simple structure and atmospheric descriptions of the different song parts.45 Like this, they would have to play based on what they would hear and what they could imagine. I knew that Ben and Jarg had worked together successfully in the past. So, the three of us knew each other and could get along perfectly. This seemed very important to me as an ingredient for team spirit. In my further search for an engineer and a producer I also looked at whether these people would fit in. When I was thinking about which songs to play, I considered a band much bigger than three people, as some songs seemed to need more instruments. Making a band of only three people seemed the most sensible thing to do in the short period of time I anticipated being occupied with the project, as well as the strongest construction possible. Furthermore, I was very aware that in my position as team leader I had to be as motivating as possible. My way of doing this, was to maintain high levels of communication through the project, especially by telephone, as it is more personal, but also through email. I also arranged for meetings outside the workplace, to discuss both results and process, but also to talk about other things than the band. The short time the project would have to take, was part of my idea that goals should be real and clear. My idea was to do a few songs, a few rehearsals, maybe a performance and recording sessions. These things succeeded each other quite rapidly. On the performance, we were able to play the songs as a whole, and in

You can find these leadsheets in Appendix 1B, pages 74-76.


between this and the recording sessions, we had just enough time to figure out details in the arrangements. After the performance46, we also had a short break in which we didnt play at all. On a smaller scale, within rehearsals and the recording sessions, the pace of work was comfortably in the middle between relaxed and straight ahead. We worked, but had fun at the same time. For the recording days, I arranged food and drinks and took along a football and juggling balls. This served as a nice way to get your mind off things and go back in with a fresh view 47. 4.1.2. The Komedie project In contrast to the Pilot project, the Komedie project was to me very much a research project. I systematically made notes which were of great help later to analyse this project. Though there were also steady guidelines, I was pretty much free to do my thing within these guidelines. The Komedie project is a yearly project of third-year acting and theatre-making students of the Theatre Faculty of the HKU. The whole project took about two months, though preparation has taken other people much longer. What was asked of me was to make soundscapes to serve as a set for the play, as well as some musical interludes that would serve as a base for motion-cycles (actors displaying a number of movements in a systematic way, much like dance, but not quite, as it is more theatrical). I will now focus on the things I did in this project to increase interaction speed. The method I used in this project was based on interaction. In other theatre projects I had done in the past, I used to make music at home and bring it to the rehearsal room. If changes had to be made, Id make them at home. This would not always prove to be an effective way of gathering material. Though sometimes, the design representations, made in different places and by different people, would come together very nicely, surprisingly even, in other cases, the time it took to get something to fit the scene would be far too long to be satisfactory to the process. When I watched rehearsals, and got ideas, I would write these down in the script for example, and worked them out at home. The freedom of interaction with the actors I had was limited by the functions of the cd-player; play, pause, stop, rewind, fast-forward and volume. Adding a second device could expand the possibilities a bit. It seemed to me that I needed the interaction speed of a musician with an instrument, however, moneywise, the context didnt really seem to allow such an endeavour. So, my challenge was to make something simple, that I could operate all alone and that would approach the interaction speed of a real musician. The way I went about this was to make some loops, rather than completely finished pieces of music with solid structures. Id make different layers, rhythms, chords and melodies, and by muting them I would be able to change the structure of the music and adapt to what the actors where doing. For the soundscapes, I would make
The performance was recorded on video and can be found on DVD 2. This idea was actually inspired by Zimmerman, E. Creating a culture of design research (2003). In B. Laural (ed.) Design Research, methods and perspectives (p. 185-192). Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press, and a documentary on the BBC World Service about the company Google, which sketched a playful, creative surrounding within the company; people taking their dogs to work, riding skateboards, playing basketball et cetera.
47 46

Research project

Increasing interaction speed


layers of atmospheric sounds and sound with short duration that I could trigger now and then. The software I wanted to use to make this is called MaxMsp. With this software, I would be able to create my own machine and to control it just like I wanted to. During the project, I experimented with different programming solutions for this same problem, so the MaxMsp-patch grew and changed as I went along.48 I also experimented with the sounds and music I put into this patch and these also changed along the way. The third thing I experimented with was the controlling of the patch. I began controlling with the keyboard of the computer, later tried a pen tablet and finally a midi-keyboard with keys, faders, knobs, buttons and a wheel. When the setup was pretty much finished, I stuck little pieces of paper to the midi-keyboard, with pictograms on them, so I could see right away which sound was on that particular fader, knob, button or key. The final setup included a laptop with the patch on it, a midi-keyboard, a pen tablet and a cue list. The patch included a part for the layers of sound, which I could control with the knobs and faders on the midi-keyboard (putting the on or off and changing the volume); a part for the short sounds, which I could trigger with the keys on the midi-keyboard (the harder I hit the sound, the louder it got); a heart monitor, the speed and volume of which I could control with two separate faders on the midi-keyboard, and which would result in a flat line when the speed got to a certain point; a part for the musical interludes, all loop based, which I could control with the buttons on the midi-keyboard and the spacebar and number of my computer keyboard (muting and un-muting the different loops, hitting the spacebar to stop and play all, and selecting the different musical interludes with the numbers); a separate piece of music, which I could play and stop with the computer keyboard; and a part for the general things such as volume and panning, which I could control with the pen tablet and the midi-keyboard (using the different axes of the pen tablet to control the volumes of both the sounds and the music, and using the midi-keyboard wheel to control panning). In this way, I wasnt tied to using the same music and sounds every time. With the volume of the layers of sounds and the speed and volume of the heart monitor, I could go along with the intensity of the scene. With the loops in the musical interludes, I could change the structure of the music every time. With the sounds I could try different sound at different places, according to what the actors were doing. I could play a little more with this thanks to the panning wheel. With the pen tablet I could make crossfades using only one hand.


This is displayed in Appendix 2C.


Fig 5a.

Fig 5b.

Fig. 5c.

Fig. 5d.

Fig. 5e.

Fig. 5f.

Figs. 5abcdef. The final setup for the Komedie project

4.1.3. The way things go in practice Both in research and in design, Ive noticed that things do not always go the way you think theyll go. It sometimes even seems as if theyre more likely to go differently than how you expected or wanted them to go. Added to this is that design research goals and design goals are not necessarily the same. A design research goal could be for example, to get insight into a design process, but the design goal of that same process you try to get insight into, would probably be to make something novel and adaptive concerning task-constraints. So when you research your own process, and use different methods for both researching and designing, you might end up in a nasty split a certain point.

Researcher and designer in one



Process and Results49

In this section I will describe when interaction speed dropped or increased within my two projects, how the design representations developed into the final results, and how this seemed to relate to the flow parameters. 4.2.1. Slowing down and speeding up interaction In Part I, chapter two, section two of this thesis, Ive argued that the fastest interaction occurs when the design representation is a real-time reflection of the design process, which is the case in for example musical and theatrical improvisation. These activities seem highly suitable for creating a state of optimal involvement, as the designer simply needs to be involved optimally to participate in such activities. The big opposite, then, of this high interaction speed, would be when the designer is not outputting anything, and the perceptible design representation is not changing. In the Pilot project, there are a number of process spaces, marked x, which represent situations where (a) designer(s) merely thought about or discussed the design representation. In particular the period of time in between the performance and second set of rehearsals, just before the recording sessions, is just crowded with these x-marked process spaces, as you can see on the map. The outcomes of these talks and thoughts have caused some significant changes in the further development of the design representation. The most obvious example of this is the song Only One, which underwent many changes in its structure: the old bridge was substituted by a new one and towards the ending, bars were cut shorter to keep the song more interesting. Some of these discussions and thoughts are sampled on paper, and can be found in the appendix. However, little of such reflection occurred in the first stages of the project, where I was merely recording ideas. At this point, there were no concrete plans about what to do with these songs, so there was no need for reflecting on them. In the Komedie project, similar situations are found, however, it seems, in a far lower quantity. The Komedie project was however far more dense in process spaces, where the Pilot project was far more dispersed. As such, the interaction speed was far higher in general, and there was less time for reflection in between the design sessions. When reflection did occur, it was often in a very straight forward manner, aimed at the result. However, in the period of time prior to where the project started with the students, there had been a lot of discussion and thoughts about it, many of which I wasnt even part of. During the project, there might have been far more of these such discussions, however, there were no real breaks in this project. The thing both projects have in common, is that whenever reflection occurs, in between process spaces, this reflection has a purpose: it is aimed at directing the development of the design representation in a certain direction. In other words, the artefact-idea(s) doe(s)nt only include the property(-relation)-ideas of the design representation in the present, but also the property(-relation)-ideas that could be there in the future. Like this, even at this very low interaction speed, there

Interaction speed and plans at a large scale

49 The project maps this section repeatedly refers to, are to be found in Appendices 1E and 2E. The process spaces that are represented in these maps, are to be found in Appendices 1D and 2D.


is a distinction between higher and lower interaction speed. When looking at the projects on a large scale, having concrete plans speeds up interaction, whilst the absence of plans slows down interaction. High interaction speed occurred in both projects where improvisation took place. Interestingly, the situations where improvisation occurred without a concretely intended result, the results were surprising and the process was satisfactory. The fact that I could operate at almost the same high interaction speed as the actors in the Komedie project, resulted in interesting improvisational sessions, that were both satisfactory to participate in and to watch. The jamsessions I attended during the course of the Pilot project, inspired me a lot musically speaking. When we rehearsed the song Only One, we would improvise the ending as we didnt have a real ending at that point. It would sound great most of the time. However, something Ive found very fascinating is that in both projects, when a goal was introduced to these improvisational sessions, the results didnt meet the set standard. In the performances of the play, the actors would not respond to the sounds and the music like they would in the rehearsal room. The same standard was met only once, on Thursday night. On the Art Attack performance, the same standard was met with the musical interludes as was set the first time I played the introduction music in the rehearsal room; they responded as if they were hearing it for the first time. When we were recording the song Only One in the studio, we were not able to improvise the ending in the same way as we did during rehearsals. We eventually made some choices about this ending and improvised with these. It seems that even at high interaction speed, a distinction can be made between higher and lower interaction speed. When you look at it at such a small scale, it seems as if having concrete plans slows down interaction, whilst the absence of concrete plans speeds up interaction. Strangely, this is completely opposite to interaction speed at a large scale. Another clear distinction between lower and higher interaction speed in both projects can be made at points where a transcription is made from one design representation to another. Such transcriptions include for example the making of the leadsheets, the recording of the songs, the making of the first patch and so on. At these points, the design representation changes shape very drastically. On the other side of the spectre, we see that design representations change shape gradually. Furthermore, we see that these big transitions do not occur all in a row, but rather they take turns with gradual changes. The biggest transition is made at the first creation of a design representation, when something emerges from nothing, or rather, emerges from a set of ideas, a feeling, or from improvisation. When such an idea is worked out, interaction speed drops. When you listen to the changes made in the design representation of the Pilot project, through the three stages of the project, the recording of the ideas, the rehearsals and the recording, mixing and mastering of the songs, youll notice that the biggest changes were made more towards the beginning than towards the end of the project. Between the different design representations, theres also a difference of whether it changes more gradually or more in big transitions. The song Hold Your Breath for example, changed far more gradually than the song Only One. The music for the Komedie project also changed in very big steps, although the sounds changed more gradually. The patch

Interaction speed and plans at a small scale

Big transitions


however, also changed gradually. As a whole though, taking into account the complexity of the complete design representation, the design representation of the Komedie project changed far more towards the beginning of the project, than towards the end. As the design representation grows more complex, the changes made within it are ever smaller details. This does not mean however, that interaction speed is necessarily lower towards the end of a project, and higher towards the beginning of it. In the Pilot project, though big changes were made in the beginning, this happened over quite a long period of time. When looked at as a whole, it makes more sense to say that in the middle part of the project, interaction speed was higher than at the first part of the project. Neither does it necessarily mean that on a small scale, interaction speed is higher towards the beginning and lower towards the ending of a project. Throughout all of the project, you see sets of process spaces, beginning with a big transition at high interaction speed, evolving into gradual transitions at lower interaction speed. It does mean, however, that high interaction speed involving a certain designer and design representation, is likely to be followed by low interaction speed between the same designer and design representation. Whenever a new big transition occurs, this cycle starts again. These transitions seem to be triggered by concrete plans, whenever theyre not new ideas. So again, big transitions are caused by new concrete plans, and as such new concrete plans cause higher interaction speed. When a plan is being worked out, interaction speed drops slightly, as the design representation grows more complex and when, after gradual change, there are no further plans to go on with, interaction speed slows down again, until new concrete plans have formed. In the Komedie project, the concrete plans also resulted in these higher interaction speed, but this speed dropped far quicker, because the design representation as a whole was far more complex than in the Pilot project. The fourth thing to slow down or speed up interaction was the setup, or technique that was used to create, and moreover, the matter in which the designer was accustomed to using this setup or these techniques. Interaction speed slowed down dramatically at points where I was working with MaxMsp, as I had very little knowledge of this software. When I wanted to play and sing the songs Id written in the Pilot project, the interaction speed was heavily slowed down by my inability to play and sing these songs simultaneously. Transcribing the songs with notes and chords took me far more time than transcribing them with atmospheric descriptions and simple structures. Reading pictures took me far less time than reading words on my midi-keyboard in the Komedie project. In short, the better the technique, the faster interaction speed got. I would sometimes improve this technique to meet a certain challenge. At other times, I would try to find a different solution, like getting someone else to do it. As opposed to plans, which seem to influence interaction speed very differently at different levels of a project, the setup, and the skills or technique needed to control this setup, seem to be applicable only to interaction at a small scale. As they develop though, in theory, interaction would get higher and higher throughout a process. I think the projects I described are either too short or too diverse to see such a change over time. Of course, as I got to know the software better, I was able to make things more quickly. However, the time span of this project was far too short to notice a

Cycles of interaction speed dynamics at a moderate scale

Setup and technique


real change in interaction speed. In addition, the software made it possible to make ever more complex machines, so my skills kept being tested throughout this project. In the Pilot project, the skills required were either distributed over several designers, each with the necessary skill to interact with a specific part of the design representation, or the skills were only needed at point and never again at another. I only had to learn the songs once. When I had learned them, that was it. 4.2.2. reviewing the results As a whole, Im far more content with the results of the Pilot project than I am with the results of the Komedie project. Within the Pilot project, I like the song Only One the most, then Get Away and then Hold Your Breath. Its far more difficult to give such a ranking to the results of the Komedie project, as the result is something that has to be performed and is for that reason different every time. The best performance however, was undoubtedly that of Thursday night. My favourite moment in this performance was when Milo and I improvised with the sound of a key unlocking a door. The best musical moments were, I think, in the Art Attack performance, where the actors played as if they heard the music for the first time. Musically, I think the introduction theme and the Marechiare theme are the most interesting. Throughout the Pilot project, both Get Away and Only One changed a lot, often with big steps, as apposed to Hold Your Breath, which stayed more or less the same, and changed more gradually. This last song was created very quickly, over a short period of time. More thought and effort has been put in both Get Away and Only One. Especially Only One took me a lot of effort to sing. I also wrote out the notes for Get Away and Only One, but not for Hold Your Breath. Of this song, I only put the (possible) chords down on paper once. In short, I wrote much more down of Get Away and Only One than of Hold Your Breath. However, I do think Hold Your Breath is inventive, the bass line together with the drums in the verse and the melody of the vocals in the bridge dont seem like anything Id usually write. I feel this is very much due to the high interaction speed with which it was created. As I didnt allow myself to think about the choices I was making, I applied no self-censorship, and just composed the song associatively. As this song was not changed to the same extend as the other two, it might have lost its sense of surprise throughout the process. To me, this song seemed to be the least difficult to play, as it didnt include any strange transitions or bar lengths, as did Get Away and Only One. Another difference between this song and the other two, is that it doesnt really mean anything. Both the other songs were written from very strong feelings, which were then caricatured. Hold Your Breath was a caricature to start with, a caricature of nothing, really. The making of the Komedie tunes Marechiare and Intro also involved more effort and time than the other tunes. Sheet music has been influential in the Marechiare tune, maybe eliminating my own clichs that are well represented in the chord progression of the Chaos theme. The introduction theme was the result of researching instruments and making two other tunes prior to it. The other tunes were for continuity reasons derived from this first tune. You could say then, maybe, that the more effort you put into a song, and the more time you give it,

Gradual and sudden change


the better the final result. This at least seemed to be the case in these projects. In the Komedie project, I would have put a lot more time into the music if I had had the time for it. When you look at how the development of the Komedie project music, as it was finally used, was distributed over the whole length of the process, youll notice that it was mainly made towards the end of the project and at very high interaction speed. When you look at the development of Hold Your Breath over the whole length of the Pilot project, youll notice that it was made mainly at the beginning, at high interaction speed. The reasons that interaction speed was high in both cases are different: in the Komedie project there was a deadline, in the Pilot project this speed was a consciously applied method. The other two songs were created in more sessions and were changed far more along the way. The difference of interaction speed between the process spaces involved in the development of these design representations, was far smaller in general than the difference of interaction speed between the process spaces involved in the development of the other song and the Komedie project music. This seems to be one of the most important points concerning the design representations of the Komedie project. The only thing that gradually changed, was the patch, and to a smaller extent the sounds. New music was however written very often during the process. Changing the music more gradually throughout the process would maybe have resulted in a more satisfactory result. Maybe, throughout the course of a project, its better then, to keep interaction speed more steady, equally distributing lower and higher interaction speed over different process spaces that involve the development of the design representation. 4.2.3. Challenges, skills and getting stuck In both the Pilot and the Komedie project I faced several challenges. Creating a song in only a few hours on my computer from the material gathered from an improvisational session earlier that day, was quite a challenge, as I normally take far more time to decide on the structure of a song. It was nice to see how using this method, this challenge was met. Playing and singing the songs simultaneously was a challenge, as I didnt have the skills for this at one point. After sufficient practising though, I acquired this skill and the challenge was met. Performing the songs in front of an audience was quite a challenge, which we met through arranging and rehearsing the songs. Having only little time to do this increased the challenge, but as we all had some experience with playing music in a band, our skills were sufficient from the start to meet the challenge. However, learning to play as a band probably takes a lot more practising and performing. The next challenge was to write a bridge for the song Only One, and rearranging the structure of the song, which I did in a few hours. Im still very satisfied with the result of this considerably large change, made in a small amount of time. Rehearsing these changes, among some others as well in time for the recording sessions was the next challenge which was met just in time. Recording these songs in only a few takes was another challenge we had to meet and did. In short, the Pilot project held many challenges in it and most of them have been met. Wherever I felt I couldnt meet the challenge, I asked an extra designer to join and take care of that part. In addition, the

Time for development


challenges were nicely spread over the course of the whole project, and the time needed to acquire certain skills was present. In the Komedie project though, this was far less the case. The biggest challenge for me was to build a machine that could do want I wanted it to do. This asked for acquiring a lot of new skills, which was difficult, given the relatively high interaction speed of the project, caused by the little time available, the quantity of desired output and the many times I had to be present at the rehearsals with new material whenever possible. I put so much time in acquiring new skills, that I had very little time for making the music itself. However, the real challenge of the project was to create a situation in which I could keep up with the high interaction speed of the actors, and though this was not always the case, the times that it was, were so rewarding, that it made up for a lot of the effort put in building the setup. Unwontedly, this whole situation resulted in another big challenge: finishing all music and sound within only a couple of days. Being able to do this, and being satisfied with the result, was a very big reward for all the effort I put in. When, as a result, I had little time to practise with my new setup and just had to do the performances, and I made hardly any mistakes, this was again a big reward. However, where the Pilot project was as process very satisfying, the satisfaction from the Komedie project came for the most part after the results, as I was far too busy getting to these results during the process itself. Moreover, the satisfaction in the Komedie project came from having been able to reach the results, rather than from the results itself, which was the case with the Pilot project. As I just explained, in the Komedie project, the lack of knowledge about the software I was working with forced the interaction to slow down many times. I would focus sometimes on very small aspects of the total design representation and get totally caught up in this. When I left some room at certain points for experiment, this paid back at other points as a lack of time. In making the music and sounds to put into the patch I couldnt really allow myself to get stuck and it didnt happen. In the Pilot project, there werent really any points where I got stuck. As I had no real time pressure before I started rehearsing the songs with the band, I took a lot of time to figure out which songs I wanted to do, with which people I wanted to play them, how I would present them and how I would plan the project. If there would have been pressure from outside, this might have been cases where I got stuck. However, this project had the time it needed to evolve, whereas the Komedie project could maybe have been more satisfactory as a process, if I would have been involved earlier, so I could have made more preparations in advance. In addition, the time the Pilot project had to evolve at points resulted in better solutions for certain design problems. For example: the leadsheets I finally made were very easy to make, and very useful. If I had made complete scores, this wouldve taken me an awful lot of time, I would probably have gotten stuck at several points, and in the end it would probably have been far less useful in practice. When I first thought of playing some of my songs with a band, I thought of a group of as many as seven musicians. In time however, three people seemed much more reasonable. Its not unimaginable, that if the Komedie project had taken more time, I would have made far simpler solutions for the


same design problem, that the results would have been considerably better, and that I wouldnt have gotten stuck as often as I have.


Part III. Designing motion: general principles of design and their application to design practice




In part one, I wondered whether the concept of interaction speed could form the basis for a flow-based method for design. I used the concept of process spaces to draw maps of two projects from my own practice, which represent interaction speed and the development of the design representations. In part two, I looked closely at these projects to establish how interaction speed and the parameters of flow related to each other. The conclusions Ive drawn from these analyses are presented in this chapter. I try to see to what extend my findings could apply to design in general. In addition, I present a number of things that Ive come across and that I found interesting, but were outside the scope of this thesis. They might form a basis for further research.


A flow-based method for design?

The most important conclusions from my analyses of the Pilot and Komedie project are, that having plans influences interaction speed differently at different levels and that skills, or the absence of them, also influences interaction speed, albeit on a small scale. Whether it also does so on a larger scale is indeed probable, but the answer to this question can not be found in these two projects alone. Further the more, time and effort put in the development of design representation, the more interesting the results were. The conclusions Ive drawn based on these two projects dont necessarily go up for all other design projects. However, I think theyre interesting enough to discuss and to see whether they can form a basis for a flow-based method for design. 5.1.1. When challenges meet skills In part one, chapter two, section two, I introduced my interaction speed model of design. This model represents the act of designing as an interaction between designer and design representation that occurs at both a conscious and an unconscious level. The design representation consists of properties and propertyrelations. The designers artefact-idea consists of property-ideas and property-relation-ideas. These property(-relation)-ideas move in and out of focus when interacting with the design representation. When they move around very little, the property(-relation)-ideas that are in focus, stay in focus, and interaction speed slows down. This looks like what happens when a designer gets stuck. When the property(relation)-ideas move around very quickly, interaction speed is high. This high interaction speed seems highly suitable for flow, a state of optimal involvement to occur. Flow appears to be in between challenges and skills. Designing can be looked at as a way of challenging ones skills. Bigger challenges require greater skills and greater skills require bigger challenges. Acquiring greater skills seems


difficult at high interaction speed. As a design process is typically chaotic, though, the challenges faced within it can be different every time, and present skills can be used in many different ways, making it many times unnecessary to acquire new skills. Therefore, at high interaction speed, new insights and ideas can be reached every time. The interaction between designer and design representation can last a few minutes or several hours. A process space is an interaction between designer and design representation within a certain period of time in one place. Within such a process space, interaction speed may vary. When you look at a project on a larger scale, in the space in between process spaces, changes can occur in the artefact-idea. In this way, interaction speed varies also on a large scale. The development of a design representation can be distributed over several process spaces, and as such, the interaction speed with which it was made can also vary over the course of its development. In my projects, on a small scale, high interaction occurred in situations where little or no plans were made in advance about the design representation. In the light of my interaction speed model of design, I would picture this as follows: the artefact-idea consists of a small number of property(-relation)-ideas at the start, and grows along the way. Outcomes of this high interaction speed can be very surprising, as the designer does not know in advance what hes going to make. In addition, when interaction speed is high, property(relation)-ideas do not stay in focus very long, so the time to consciously think about one aspect of a design representation or desired properties very short. In this scenario, the challenges that are necessary for flow to occur are to be found in the process itself, and the skills needed to face these challenges seem to naturally meet them, as challenges and skills constantly adapt to each other. It means that the flow channel, as Csikszentmihalyi described it, is relatively narrow 50. While the artefact-idea and design representation grow more complex, interaction speed slows down, because there need to be more property(-relation)-ideas in focus, for a longer period of time for the designer to be able to determine which properties can be changed, and which ones have to remain the same, in order to keep unity in the design representation. As a result, the skills required to do so, have to be more specifically aimed at changing that particular property(-relation). So, as the design representation develops, challenges grow and skills have to grow along, causing the flow channel to getter wider. Picturing it like this, the absence of plans at the start of the development of design representation will result in high interaction speed in any design situation, given that the designer is able to recognize the challenges of the unknown and is able to adapt his skills to it in a fast and flexible way. The designer also needs to recognize when the design representation gets more complex and adapt accordingly. Whether this can be learned or practised is another question. It would seem that this behaviour is something that is present in many designers, but without them being aware of it. But, on a small scale, high interaction speed also occurred when there were plans in advance. I planned to make leadsheets, for example, and did this very quickly. The design representation changed shape very quickly. Interaction speed was high. Looking at

Gradual growth

Sudden transitions

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003) Flow, psychologie van de optimale ervaring (5th ed.). Amsterdam: BOOM. Original publication: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience.


the interaction speed model of design, this would mean that when certain properties and property-relations of the artefact-idea have been determined before direct interaction starts, interaction can still be very high. In a way, you could even think of this scenario as a short-cut: determining a number of property(-relations) in advance, saves time making these up. However, skills have to be more specified from the beginning of such a process: the design representation might not be complex from the beginning, but the artefact-idea is. The first step of skills meeting challenges is much bigger than in the previous situation. In this situation, the designer may feel to be rather behind things, than really on top of things, like driving a car without knowing whether the breaks work or not. However, when the challenge is indeed met, the ride can be all worth it. I doubt, however, whether the outcome of such a process can be very surprising. First of all, the designer has no time to be surprised during the process, and secondly, when properties and propertyrelations are determined in advance, much of the outcome is predictable beforehand. Looking at my projects at a larger scale, I had concluded that the presence of plans increased interaction speed. Though the design representation doesnt change without direct interaction between designer and design representation, the artefact-idea of the design can, and probably will, change. So looking at any design project, you will get some sort of dynamic of interaction speed at a larger scale. You could label all these smaller process spaces one bigger process space, something I explained earlier in this thesis in part one, chapter three, section two. The reflection that occurs within the smaller process spaces was in my project a fundamental part of the process and I gather that this can, and often will, be the case in other design projects. The extend to which designers reflect can be different for every designer, project of design situation, and it would maybe be interesting to see whether this reflection ratio is in some way connected to the design discipline, as I can imagine that the more rational approaches to design have a higher reflection ratio. The dynamic movements of interaction speed and the development of the design representation through both the Pilot and Komedie project have been very different. Nonetheless, I think its safe to conclude from these projects, that challenges have been the driving force behind the interaction speed in both projects, and that the reason that the overall results were satisfying are to be found in that most of the challenges were met. However, when I look at the way I experienced both projects, I have to say that this experience was more satisfying when challenges were well within reach. Too big a challenge in relation to skills created uncertainty about the outcome, and a sense of being on the brink of losing control. Further more, I think the design representations which developed along a more equally distributed dynamic movement of interaction speed are more interesting and that on the whole, experiencing such equally distributed dynamic movement, was more satisfying than unequally distributed dynamic movement. Generally, I feel that these dynamics should neither be too great nor too little. So, when interaction speed is high, this is a good thing, but on a larger scale, high interaction speed should take turns with low interaction speed to come to a both satisfying process and result and vice versa. However, this is something that might differ between designers and it could also be

Time for reflection

Satisfying process and results


that one type of distribution suits one design project or discipline, but not the other. Again, it would be interesting to see whether this is is the case. 5.1.2. When skills fail to meet challenges Assuming that an equally distributed dynamic movement of interaction speed as described in the previous section, is an ideal situation, several things can prevent this ideal situation from occurring. Circumstances sometimes prevail that the challenges that have to be met require skills far greater than the designer has. Visa versa, circumstances can also prevail that the designer has skills that are far greater than needed for the challenge to be met. In either case, the designer does not necessarily stand with his back against the wall. The complexity of the design representation determines the magnitude of the changes made within it. Big changes made in a complex design representation can be just as big, relatively speaking, as smaller changes in less complex design representations. However, in relation to the number of people involved in such a complex design representation, and the number of people responsible for such a change, the absolute magnitude of such a change does matter. When, within a very complex design representation, involving many designers, a very big change has to be made by only one designer, this designer will have to work at very high interaction speed. Dividing the work over more designers, and like that dividing the big change into smaller changes, would probably be a better solution, if at all possible. A similar solution to another problem, namely that of challenge being too low, would be to transfer the work to someone else whose skills match the challenge more adequately. Again, this is not always possible. Whenever transfer of work to other designers is not possible, a suitable solution would be for example to either break the challenge down into smaller pieces, or add an extra challenge to the work. In this last case, a time limit for a certain task might be an interesting way to create more challenge. In improvisation, the ability to recognise challenges is very important. However, Ive noticed that in some situations, people have much difficulty with this, where in others, they have no problem at all. In both the Komedie and the Pilot projects, the sense that a certain standard had to be met, that this time it was for real, blocked the creative output and the alertness of the designers. The most logical explanation for this to me seems that when improvising, you need to be involved with what youre doing, not with what you ought to do. The last thing seems to trigger a conscious stream of thoughts which interferes with the unconscious stream of thoughts which is so important in improvisation. When property(-relation)-ideas seem to move in and out of focus very quickly, as discussed in chapter two, section two, focussing too much on one aspect would cause this process to slow down. If this process is reflected real-time in a design representation, this would mean that the design representation changes less and is probably less interesting to watch or listen to. In this case, regaining control seems to be not about holding on, but about letting go. Equal distribution of interaction speed

Distributing work

Being involved


5.1.3. A flow-based method for design Though high interaction speed might trigger a sense of flow very easily, in the context of a whole project, it makes more sense to say that interaction speed needs to vary to trigger a more continuous flow throughout a project. When interaction speed is continuously high there is far too little time for reflection, and when interaction speed is continuously low, there is far too little time for action. An interaction speed somewhere in the middle would seem perfect for reflection-in-action, but when a project is distributed over a longer period of time this interaction speed cannot be constant. Maybe, when interaction speed stays too low too long, because the designer focuses on one aspect of the design representation too long, it is wise to apply more active reflection, which could hopefully introduce new possibilities. Visa versa, when interaction speed stays to high too long, as a result of the designer loosing focus, it might be good to apply more reflective action. This could maybe bring new focus to the development of the design representation. So, knowing when to act and when to reflect, is one starting point for a flow-based method of design. Another starting point would be to know when challenges are too high and skills too low and the other way around. Like this, a designer is more likely to be able to anticipate in advance how the interaction speed within a project will change and how the design representation will develop. Challenges that can easily be met with the skills available could save time, which could be used to put into acquiring skills that are needed to face challenges that can not be met with the skills available. Adding time pressure might add an extra challenge to easily met challenges, while releasing the difficult challenges from time pressure make the available skills more appropriate. However, it can be very difficult, or impossible maybe to determine in advance all the different challenges that are hidden in a design project. In addition, a designer will not always be aware of what he can or cannot do. For this, reflection during a project offers an interesting solution, again underlining the need for both high and low interaction speed in a project. It is then up to the designer to recognise when to reflect and when to act, when to introduce more challenges and when to acquire new skills. This results in the final difficulty of a flow-based method for design: designers (at least this one) can be pretty hard-headed at times, and will go on sometimes even when they know its not the most sensible thing to do. Furthermore, designers (at least this one) can also be very lazy sometimes, and can be quite reluctant to face new challenges and acquire new skills. So maybe a flow-based method for design would be more about how to get yourself to either stop or begin working. Or maybe thats just me.

Reflection and action

Recognising challenges

The human dimension



Further considerations

After having conducted design research and presenting the results in this thesis, there are just a few things Id like to add that have come to mind throughout the process and that might offer nice starting points for further research. This section introduces them briefly. 5.2.1. Methods for transcription The conclusions I drew in this thesis are mainly based on my own experiences as a designer, as a researcher. The most logical step then would be to see whether these conclusions make any sense in the light of several other designers in several other disciplines. The nice thing about the concept of interaction speed, and why I chose to let it be the backbone of my thesis, is that is applicable to any situation where a designer and a design representation interact. Therefore, it could be interesting common ground for multi-disciplinary design (research). Im personally very much interested in how interaction speed changes in other design projects along the development of the design representation. I wonder whether such findings could offer more starting points for a flow-based method for design. Just like the concept of interaction speed, I think the concept of process spaces could also be interesting common ground for different design disciplines. The relations between them, and the way they can make visible the development of the design representation, make a design project very easy to look over. It avoids the problem of time gaps between process spaces and the x-marked process spaces avoid the problem of designing being not only about action, but also about reflection. However, this type of representation would probably need considerable alteration, which can only be seen as a good thing. Ive introduced a number of other things with regard to transcribing design processes in chapter three section one of this thesis. Developing realtime methods for transcription would be especially helpful I think. Maybe, such a method could even be combined with a flow based method for design; A plug-in that both asks you what youre doing and at the same time tells you change pace when interaction speed either stays too high or too low too long. Whether this would work in practice is another question. 5.2.2. Design and time Having all the time in the world is far more often a luxury than a starting point. Being able to keep focus and control even when interaction speed is constantly high, seems a big privilege in this context. What senior management really wants is described by Rhea in Bringing Clarity to the Fuzzy Front End, a predictable process for innovation:
[Management needs to preserve the core of the enterprise by maintaining and growing it in a way that limits risk and maximizes return.]

Clarifying the design process

Other projects


This thought doesnt exactly match with design practice. As Rhea discusses, the front end of a design project is often very fuzzy. Limiting risks does not rely on fuzziness. Limiting risks relies on clarity and predictability. As mentioned earlier in this thesis, the act of designing is of both predictable and unpredictable nature. As my analysis of the Pilot project shows, reflection played a big role in this project, with a good result. On the whole, the project developed quite naturally. However, this is not a financially tied project. Furthermore, the music doesnt serve any purpose but to be listened to. Its not the answer to global warming, or the alternative for fraud-sensitive credit cards. Im very much aware of this difference between different design disciplines. So why bother making such a detailed description of a process which seems to serve no other purpose than to (hopefully) lift peoples spirits? I think that exactly the fact that this project doesnt really have all that much restrictions, or taskconstraints, it shows how a product can come to be in an unforced, unprecedented way. In this way, projects like these can be interesting subjects for researching design, as they leave out many design choices that are made because of either time or financial pressure. As shown, also in a project like this, both high and low interaction speed occurs at times, and this is the kind of information that might be useful with regard to What senior management really wants. Knowing how interaction speed changes over the course of a project, and how the design representation develops as a result of it, might bring much more clarity, not only to the fuzzy front end, but also to the rest of the design process.

Project maps

Real-time reflection





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Additional sources of inspiration

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Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary: Georgia Institute of Technologys Design in the Classroom project, aimed at teaching students about design processes: Innovatieplatform, an initiative of the former Dutch government aimed at strenghtening the position of the Dutch and European economy through the encouragement of innovation:



Muziekontwerp, mogelijkheden tot samenwerking, science park held at the HKU on 18-05-06


Appendix 1: The Pilot Project


A. List of audio and video

DVD 1 audio material Pilot project Nr. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 Name Suffer 1 Suffer 2 Suffer 3 Suffer 4 Suffer 5 Jam 1 Jam 2 Jam 3 Jam 4 Spannend 1 Spannend 2 Spannend 3 Spannend 4 Spannend 5 Spannend 6 Bewerking 1 Bewerking 2 Jam at Jargs 1 Jam at Jargs 2 Zout 1 Zout 2 Zuton fever Us Kids Know Big Red Balloon Bullet with Butterfly Wings This Boy Wheres your head at Screenager Long Snake Moan Repetitie 3 R5T1 Hold your Breath R5T2 Hold your Breath R5T1 I Want To R5T2 I Want To R5T1 Suffer from Love R5T2 Suffer from Love Repetite 6 R6T1 Hold your Breath R6T1 I Want To R6T1 Suffer from Love R6T2 Suffer from Love Dag2-Take1-Get Away Mastertje.wav Dag2-Take4-Hold Your Breath Mastertje Dag2-Take4-Only One Mastertje Premix 20-07-06 Get Away Premix 20-07-06 Hold Your Breath Premix 20-07-06 Only One Michel Mix get Away Michel Mix Hold Your Breath Michel Mix Only One Niek Get Away Niek Hold Your Breath Niek Only One Get Away Sander Hold Your Breath Sander Only One Sander Get Away Michel Hold Your Breath Michel Only One Michel DVD 2 video material Pilot project Nr. 1 Name Video Tagrijn


B. Songs on paper
Lyrics Only One

Chords for Only One (Suffer from Love)

Chords for the first bridge of Only One

Chords for Hold Your Breath


Lyrics Get Away

Sketches for leadsheet Get Away

Chords for the verse of Get Away


Leadsheets for all three of the songs

Translation (by myself): A Instrumental. Resting-point. Rats scurry through sewer. A Strange voice in sewer, where does the voice come from? Whoehahahaa! B All hell and damnation! Aaaah! Everything collapses! Tidal wave! Filth all around! C Lets step aside for a moment overview sewer appears to be a postcard D Fast imagesall mixed upfragmentsflashesspeeding up A Back in the sewer. Stills of the sewer, the rats and the strange voice


Translation (by myself): A Instrumental parts, resting-points, except solo, which should make a climax. Associations: Regular car runs stationary. A Verses with vocals, basically the same as A, bit with more room for the vocals. Steady and to the point, easy and straight ahead. Associations: Metal. Regular car drives in the city. B Bridge, extracted form A, but rhythmically different, more colourful too, little bit reggae-like, almost clownesque. Associations: Flowers, butterflies C Chorus. Has to rock! Little bit like Muse, Franz Ferdinand, lots of energy! All brakes loose! Associations: motorcross race, mud fight.


Translation (by myself): A Instrumental. Suffocating feeling. Crawling. Associations: Swimming under water in a covered pool. A First part verse. Suffocating feeling, Eerie, somethings about to happen. Towards the end a little opening. Swimmer takes a breath of air. Associations: The same situation as before, only with someone standing on the side of the pool watching everything happen. A Second part verse, but now it ends all open. The swimmer can breath, lots of coughing and splashing. B Chorus. Go! Rock from the gut, emotional, dramatic, but not too much. Association: From position of power, the watcher addresses the swimmer in a begging manner. C Well look at that later.


Score for Get Away

Michels alternative for the bridge of Only One

Note: Like this, it sounds somewhat more organically and if you build it up dynamically from the Bb, the chorus will punch in very surprisingly. As such, it also modulates a bit, but remains comprehensible. Maybe on the fourth count of the last bar leave the bridge and then the chorus punches in on the one again.

My transcription of Michels chords on paper


My alternative for the bridge of Only One

Score for Only One


C. Notes
To Do Lists


Third rehearsal notes Hanneke

(translated from original Dutch document) Hold your breath Slower !!! Vocals more staccato/ more tight Dynamics! Start vocals on dominant Transitions more tight, Ben backing vocals punch in! More build-up in each part In the end guitar silent Delay on vocals! Drums build up in bridge

I want to Keep interlude short, no psychedelics Rhythmical guitar in verses is good + sometimes a long chord on an accent Double backing vocals right a way Solo should KICK in!!! Backing vocals to a cappella part Dont shout in build-up you

Notes from songwriting workgroups

I Want To More contrast ! Power More doubt Build-up in second and third verse I want to get away with you is the song statement Look at the structure of the So if you want me-part In the same part make the clue of the song Reference song: Elvis Costello When I was Cruel Make transitions very quickly! The intention of the song is not quite clear yet, needs too many comments

Hold Your Breath Staccato vocals, make longer through the song Maybe other line for second Hold (your breath) Slows down at transition to bridge A lot happens in bridge. No coherence Maybe refer to the bridge in the beginning of the song Needs less material. Do more with the same material

Suffer from love It doesnt do what it promises Maybe modulation in the end?


Notes from blog


Translation blog:
Comments Michel Ive had quite a brainstorm and wrote things down. If somethings not clear, just let me know! --------------------------------------------------------Hold your breath Intro Ticking clock


Reminds me of a sound on Nevermind Nirvana. The last one with the seven minute silence in it. Id play another progression here. For example, instead of Bb Ab Bb Ab, Bb Eb Ab Eb to keep it fresh Maybe just vocals (also no Vocals should have more guts.. Sounds too nice. Backing vocals are great, that high one Whats happening here with the kick? Triple Jarg on the MOVE?


Verse Just bass and drums, completely dry (for building up) Chorus Long strokes distorted neurotic sound, but not too much, once every two bars Bridge then gone Feedback very heavy until verse

Bridge drums) Chorus


Verse2 On every count crunch distorted strumming like for example Anouk: Are You Kiddin Me / Girl. Possibly half-way all gone Chorus2 Is played two times. Second time instead of fills bang on crash (more alternative) Bridge1 Maybe directly from where vocals come in a backing vocal from Ben. Hanneke varying pitch and Ben holding pitch, creating a sort of pedal-tone, with a melody moving over it. Help me maybe a bit more exciting and quiet, so when Jarg and Ben punch in, theres more contrast. Ending is very good like this

--------------------------------------------------------Suffer from love Intro Id play four bars here and immediately with the flageolets, otherwise it gets too long and boring. I like it when they open up every time They should go on longer, without interruption. Then you get into a sort of trance motion, but now this is constantly interrupted. So maybe skip a number of breaks? Progression sounds made up. Nice to do something weird but maybe another progression. Second part of the bridge is better than the first one.

Verses Choruses


** Is there a distortion on the vocals? Anyway, thats very cool. --------------------------------------------------------I Want To Intro Verse Nice Here, something strange is happening. The kick and parts Ben and Hanneke play do not really match. Maybe there already a double hihat and second kick also straight and not syncopical. Good More like Bens part, it doesnt really stand out. Maybe all play country Good Good Backing vocals are not clear. Intention is good. Maybe Queens of the Stone Age is something this could refer to

--------------------------------------------------------Anymore reference material? If anyone has any, make an mp3 and send it to me and Ill put it on the website. Squier Bass to Suffer Jarg said: Squier bass to Suffer from Love, instead of blues bass. Seems like a good idea. Notes video Tag These were the notes taken from the video recording of our performance in the Tag: I Want To More contrast. Bar sorter at transition to chorus. Maybe guitar should double bass somewhere. Modulation at third verse. Ben on melodica.

Bridge Interlude

Verse Bridge Chorus

Suffer from love Verses more tight, as in more compact, not more legato. Choruses more dragging. We have nothing left towards the


end. Systematically cut away bars in the chorus. Only one higher instead of lower sometimes. TEMPO! Hold your breath Too fast. And I wanted to add to this: I want to change bass part every now and then, because now its always the same. Maybe at the a capella part also with bass, but long, sustaining notes. Sixties sound We should maybe search for the sixties/ seventies sound a little. Jargs Lesley, my springverb, things like that. The Beatles-bass is already there : ) I also have an old chorus and delay module. And a synthesizer, completely Retro! Comment From Michel: I think we can have some freaky sounds now and then. Indeed Lesley Dirty delays Delay on hihat? (Maybe a bit too Police) We could try it in the studio. Tremolo sounds

Hold Your Breath Guitar gone when vocals punch in + possibly second part of first verse strumming guitar on quarter counts Chorus to verse long feedback guitar exactly until verse starts In second chorus bang crash Pedal-tone Ben in bridge same rhythm, same line bit only one tone Help me intimate, close to mic Guitar should be overwhelming in chorus, long strokes

Notes recording sessions Michel

(translated from original Dutch document) Hold your breath Take 1: day 1 sounds convincing Take 2: went okay till 75% Take 3: bass + drums relaxed, Ben less so Take 4: GOOD! Only One Take 1: day 1 too slow Take 2: intro restless, middle part steady, bridge Ben Take 3: start break Jarg, Ben delay Take 4: GOOD! Get Away Take 1: solo climax, bass start soft attack, end, break chorus 1 Take 2: country more dragging break to chorus Take 3: good (a bit more power needed) Take 4: Ben country + too lazy, Michel thinks its good, band doesnt Take 5: Nice Day 1 Get Away Take 1 okay, too fast Hold Your Breath Take 1 Many nice ideas (Bens solo cool) Only One Take 1 not okay

Notes from video, by Michel, Hanneke and Jarg

(translated from original Dutch document) Things were going to try: I Want To Guitar in verses different rhythm, more towards syncopical kick + make melodical statement. Drums and bass more towards guitar in country interlude. Transition to bridge build-up with drum roll, starting on you Solo even dirtier Third verse something of a change in the bass A Cappella part no guitar, just hihat and long bass notes Suffer from love Cut away bars in a structural way Other chords in the bridge, less made-up Bridge should move smoothly into chorus


D. Process Spaces
The process spaces presented in this part of the appendix search to represent the Pilot project in such a way that it shows the development of the design representation through different circumstances and with different intervals. As such, I thought it would be a good way to get insight into development of the interaction speed throughout the project. Ive included all process spaces which I thought were relevant to this project, and that I could trace in time through notes, files and my agenda. There are some events that I have not included: 1. In the winter of 2005-2006, I practiced some songs on bass with vocals and sung these with a friend on one of the jamsessions. This was somewhat of a pilot for me, as I had never sung and played bass simultaneously in public. I hadnt really sung in public either. I also practiced the songs we did with the band at home before starting the rehearsals. This took me about week of practicing two hours a day to for every song. 2. I found several notes of lyrics, chords and to-do-lists without an indication of a date on them. For that reason, I chose not to include the making of them in this list of process spaces. The notes are included in this appendix. 3. With the pictures taken at our performance in the Tagrijn on 18-05-06, I made a website to present Stretch Cunningham as a band. This website included a blog, recordings, background information and reference material. Though I havent made pictures of these events, I do include them in my analyses if the process. Hence my mentioning of them here.

Hanneke Vos (myself); initiator, composer of the songs, project leader. Ben Lammerts van Bueren; guitarist, backing-vocalist and co-arranger of songs. Jarg de Gooijer; drummer and co-arranger of songs. Michel van der Zanden; producer Sander Pahlplatz; engineer during recording sessions. Sander van Unen; mastered the songs together with Michel. Niek Beukers; also mastered the songs.


The texts below the pictures give more details about the process spaces. In some of them, dates are presented. These correspond to the list found in appendix e of dates and events. Sometimes, the text refers to another part of this appendix when mentioning a design representation of some sort. In the end, a map is presented, including al these process spaces. People in this project that are named more than once and hence referred to with only their first name are:

This picture represents the jamsessions I attended. I kept no record of the people who attended these jamsessions, or the people I played with, hence the question marks. I played bass in these jamsessions. The music-as-played was to my knowledge never recorded. In general, one session would take about ten minutes. Usually, the same line-up would do about two or three of these sessions in a row. An evening of jamming would last from about eight until one


oclock. In general, I would take part in about two times three sessions in one evening. In total, I participated in 11 of these jamsessions between 28-04-2005 and 18-05-2005.

This picture represents my first recording of the song Suffer from Love, later referred to as Only One on 16-05-2005. This process would take about two to three hours. In the process, I started playing guitar and singing. I would write down the lyrics bit by bit on paper whilst making them up and record the music-asplayed on my hard disk.

This picture represents the kelder 1 experiment Jarg and I did on 06-09-06. I played bass and Jarg played drums. We improvised and recorded what we played. Then, wed listen a bit to the results. Audio examples six to nine represent the four sessions we recorded.

Listening to the music-as-recorded, I would play other instruments and record them. This iterating process lasted about two to three hours and is represented in the picture above. In two of these sessions, on 04-06-2005 and 0207-2005, the song evolved, as can be heard in audio-examples one to five.


This picture represents how I listened to the recordings made in kelder 1 and selected the pieces I thought were the most interesting the same day. I selected six pieces, represented by audio examples 10 to 15.

On 13-09-2005, Jarg and I did another kelder 1 experiment. We improvised, but didnt make any recordings. I played bass and sung. Jarg played drums.

This picture represents how I used the selected pieces to make a new song. I selected pieces that worked well together, than played and recorded other instruments to this music. I made one song on the day as I recorded selected the material. I made the other song in two sessions on 06-10-2005 and 11-10-2005. Go to audio examples 16 and 17 to hear these results.

This picture represents how Jarg and I improvised and recorded some of what we played at his house on 16-09-2005. I played bass and Jarg played guitar. Audio examples 18 and 19 represent this material.


This picture represents how I recorded Zout, later to become the song I want to, which was eventually called Get Away. I started playing and recording and gradually worked out some lyrics for this material. The playing, recording and writing of the lyrics happened simultaneously. A session like this would take a couple of hours. Sessions like these occurred on 13-01-2006, 0402-2006, 05-02-2006, 09-03-2006 and 10-032006. Audio examples 20 and 21 represent this evolving song.

The above picture represents another jamsession I attended. This jamsession was held at an old friends house. I played bass and sung. To my knowledge, nothing of the music played was recorded.


This picture represents the making of the leadsheets for the songs Hold your breath, I want to and Suffer from love. I would listen to the music-as-recorded, and read the lyrics-as-written. I would play the music and sing the lyrics and gradually put down the structure of the song in the leadsheet and retype the lyrics. Id think about the atmosphere of the song and try to describe it in metaphors. Sometimes I referred to other bands. I made these leadsheets on 03-03-2006, 30-032006 and 11-04-2006. Please look at appendix b for more details.

I would make recordings on some of the rehearsals. See appendix a for more details. We did not use these recordings during the rehearsals.

On one occasion, on 08-05-06, Jarg couldnt make it to the rehearsal, so Ben and I worked together on the songs. We focussed on the vocal harmonies and the details in the chords.

I would copy the leadsheets for both Jarg and Ben and bring them to the rehearsals. We arranged and rehearsed the songs in Kelder 1, at our school. Each rehearsal would take about two hours. Id play the song first on bass and sing and explain the leadsheets to Jarg and Ben. Gradually, Jarg and Ben would play along. Whenever I thought what they played was too different from what I had in mind, Id correct them and suggest a change.

Michel joined us with the last two rehearsals, on 27-06-06 and 29-06-06. He had taken notes from the previously recorded material. Wed play the music and hed make comments on it and give us directions.


This picture represents how I made a score of the music-as-recorded on two occasions, on 12-05-06 and on 12-06-06. Instruments recorded as midi were easy to translate into score, as this process is automated. Tidying up the score would then take some more time. The translation of my singing into score took more time. I would play the notes I sung and had recorded and record these in midi.

This picture represents the performance we did in the Tagrijn on 18-05-2006. We played all three songs on this occasion. Jean-Michel Molenaar made pictures and a video recording of the performance. See appendix a for more details.

This picture represents Michel writing additional chords for the song Suffer from Love (Only One). This picture is not yet finished, as I havent asked Michel how he did this specifically. I imagine he listened to the music recorded on a rehearsal. Played the chords on his guitar and from there wrote the new chords, which he wrote down. He sent me these chords over mail and I took them to the rehearsal to try them out with the band. See appendix b for more details.

This picture represents me writing additional chords for the song Suffer from Love (Only One). I would play and sing the song and write additional chords and vocal notes. I wrote these down on paper.


This leadsheet then I would take to the rehearsal and wed try the new chords.

This picture represents recording day one, on 0307-06. First, we would set up and test every musician individually. Then, Jarg, Ben and myself would play the songs together and Sander and Michel would make some test recordings. Michel would take notes and keep an overview of which takes were the best. See appendix c for more details. Then, wed all listen to the test recordings and make adjustments when needed. These last to processes iterated until we had a test recording of every song.


the guitar parts of Only One and dubbed some guitar parts of it.

On recording day two, on 04-07-06, we would do takes of every song a few times and listen to the results. This process was iterated until we were satisfied with the result, but not so much that we got fed up with it. Listen to audio examples 42 to 44 in appendix a to hear the takes we selected. After we had made a satisfactory take of every song, we had some time left, so we re-recorded

On recording day four, on 06-07-06, we rerecorded the lead and backing vocals of all the songs, except the backing vocals of Only One. For the lead vocals, Id sing the whole song and later do smaller pieces. For the backing vocals, Ben did the songs in pieces. After singing, wed listen to the results and sometimes do another recording.


This final recording day was quite experimental. We listened a lot and on the spot thought of things to add.

On 17-07-06 and 18-07-06, I edited the material we had recorded, so Michel. I did this in Strategy room a school, at the time equipped with a small Protools setup.

After I edited the material, I brought it to Michel and he mixed it. I dont know how long it took him exactly to mix the songs, the five hours a session are an estimate, but he had them finished by 11-09-06. On recording day four, on 07-07-06, we did some more dubs. Ben sung the backing vocals to Only One. He also did some guitar dubs for Get Away and Hold Your Breath. He also added a violin and a kazoo to Get Away Michel and I would take turns on the mixer and computer. In between sessions, we would listen and sometimes record again. Jarg also did some dubs. He added a shaker to the song Get Away.


Michel then sent the mixed material to Niek, who had a go at mastering it. He had these masters done by 25-10-06. Again, I do not know how much time a mastering session would take him. These five hours are an estimate.

As Michel was still not satisfied with this result, he mastered the mastered material again, in a much more extreme way.

We decided not to use the masters Niek had made, so Michel and Sander v. U. mastered the material again, using the mix Michel had made. This resulted in audio examples 57-59, appendix a.

I introduce this x-picture to cover all instances where a recording made of the music-as-played, was listened to and/ or watched and analysed and discussed, and/or notes were taken of it. This picture also represents instances where no recording was listened to and/ or watched, but had been in the past and was discussed nonetheless. Sessions like these generally took about an hour. They occurred in several places at several times. The information gathered from them, was sometimes used in other process spaces as a design representation (when the information was stored as notes), or as property(-relation)-ideas (when the information was stored as a memory). This picture represents the following occasions: 1. The songwriting workgroup I attended, as well as Ben, together with Jan van der Ven and Arthur van Westerop, at Arthurs house. In these workgroups, all three songs have been analysed and these analyses have made a difference in the further development of the songs. I also attended compositions workgroups at school with teacher Marc van Vugt and



several other students. I showed them the video made of our performance in the Tagrijn. The comments I got were also of influence on the development of the songs. 3. I had a private session with this same teacher and let him hear one of the songs, showed him the lyrics and told something about the process. This talk was mainly focussed on the process, not on the design representation. 4. I had a private session with another teacher, Jannie Pranger about singing techniques. I also showed her the video. She gave some directions concerning the use of my voice, which were quite helpful during further rehearsals and the recording sessions. 5. I watched the Tagrijn-video on at least two other occasions, together with Ben and Jarg and another time together with Jarg and Michel. Information gathered from this also influenced the further development of the songs. 6. Ben, Jarg, Michel, Sander P. and myself all occasionally listened to recordings made on some of the rehearsals. Information gathered like this also influenced the further development of the songs. 7. Ben, Jarg, Michel, Sander P. and myself held one production meeting before we did the recording sessions. We mainly discussed the recording process and planning. 8. On recording day three, on 05-07-06, I went to the studio and listened to the tracks recorded the days prior to that. No further recordings were made that day. 9. After Michel mixed the edited material, Jarg, Ben, Niek and I went to his studio to listen to what he had done. We made some remarks and after that, Michel changed a little bit more. 10. When Niek finished mastering the mixed material, we went to Michels studio and listened to what he had done. After this meeting, Michel had a telephone-call to discuss it a little bit more. We decided not use the material.


E. Project map; a blueprint of interaction speed




Table of dates and events

pc 1 1 2 1 1 3 3 4 5 6 7 1 8 6 6 1 9 1 9 9 1 10 11 9 9 1 11 11 12 12 1 13 x 14 17 13 x 1 16 x x x x x x x 18 19 17 13 x 15 15 20 21 x 22 23 24 24 25 x 26 x 27 28 description Jamsession Jamsession Recording idea suffer from love Jamsession Jamsession Working out idea suffer from love Working out idea suffer from love Kelder 1 experiment Selecting material Kelder 1 experiment Working out selected material kelder 1 experiment 1 Kelder 1 experiment Jamsession Jam at jarg's Working out selected material kelder 1 experiment 2 Working out selected material kelder 1 experiment 2 Jamsession Recording idea zout Jamsession Working out idea zout Working out idea zout Jamsession Jam at niels' Making leadsheet I want to Working out idea zout Working out idea zout Jamsession Making leadsheet suffer from love Making leadsheet hold your breath Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 1 Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 2 Jamsession Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 3 Songwriting workgroup Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 4 Making score I want to Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 5 Marc lesson Jamsession Performance Songwriting workgroup Watch video Tagrijn performance Songwriting workgroup Comments Michel Composition workgroup Watch video Tagrijn performance Production meeting Think of chords for bridge suffer Think of chords for bridge suffer Make score suffer from love Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 6 Jannie lesson Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 7 Stretch Cunningham rehearsal 8 Stretch Cunningham recording day 1 Stretch Cunningham recording day 2 Stretch Cunningham recording day 3 Stretch Cunningham recording day 4 Stretch Cunningham recording day 5 Editing recorded material Hanneke Editing recorded material Hanneke Mixing edited material Michel Discuss mixed material Mastering mixed material Niek Discuss mixed material Mastering mixed material Sander and Michel Mastering mixed material Michel place Tagrijn Tagrijn my home-studio Tagrijn Tagrijn My home-studio My home-studio Kelder 1 My home-studio My home-studio Kelder 1 Tagrijn Jarg's home My home-studio My home-studio Tagrijn My home-studio Tagrijn My home-studio My home-studio Tagrijn Niels' home My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio Tagrijn My home-studio My home-studio Kelder 1 Kelder 1 Tagrijn Kelder 1 Arthur's house Kelder 1 My home-studio Kelder 1 School classroom Tagrijn Tagrijn Arthur's house My home-studio Arthur's house Michels home School classroom School Stratego room School kantine Michel's home My home-studio My home-studio Kelder 1 School classroom Kelder 1 Kelder 1 Studio 4 Studio 4 Studio 4 Studio 4 Studio 4 School Stratego room School Stratego room Studio Utrecht Studio Utrecht Niek's home Studio Utrecht Studio Utrecht Studio Utrecht date 28-04-2005 12-05-2005 16-05-2005 26-05-2005 02-06-2005 04-06-2005 02-07-2005 06-09-2005 06-09-2005 06-09-2005 13-09-2005 15-09-2005 16-09-2005 06-10-2005 11-10-2005 20-10-2005 13-01-2006 19-01-2006 04-02-2006 05-02-2006 16-02-2006 17-02-2006 03-03-2006 09-03-2006 10-03-2006 16-03-2006 30-03-2006 11-04-2006 12-04-2006 19-04-2006 20-04-2006 25-04-2006 04-05-2006 08-05-2006 12-05-2006 15-05-2006 16-05-2006 18-05-2006 18-05-2006 19-05-2006 24-05-2006 02-06-2006 05-06-2006 06-06-2006 07-06-2006 07-06-2006 11-06-2006 11-06-2006 12-06-2006 12-06-2006 13-06-2006 27-06-2006 29-06-2006 03-07-2006 04-07-2006 05-07-2006 06-07-2006 07-07-2006 17-07-2006 18-07-2006 11-09-2006* 11-09-2006 25-10-2006 25-10-2006* 10-11-2006 20-11-2006

*) The material was finished before this date and after the previous one.


Appendix 2: Komedie project


A. Audio and video DVD 1 audio material Komedie project (data) Nr. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Name Ref LHomme a lHarmonica Ref Carneal Ref Circo Snap Ref Circus Ref La donna e mobile & quartetto Ref Largo al factotum Ref Lo Sceicco Bianco Ref Mareia Ref Prova dorchestra Ref Rotatie Ref Saraghina Ref Terra loutane Ref Valza Ref Vogelgeluiden R1 Muziek loop R2 bel R2 viool R2 ritme R2 tuba R3 huiskamer 10 min R3 bel middel R3 binnendeur naar binnen R3 binnendeur naar buiten R3 bons langzaam R3 bons snel R3 deur naar binnen R3 deur naar buiten R3 hond bij buren R3 telefoon loop R3 bel kort R3 klop hard snel R3 muziek bij de buren loop R3 voetstappen langzaam loop R3 buitendeur naar binnen met sleutels R3 buitendeur naar buiten met sleutels R4 Lucia R5 groep 1 R5 groep 1b R5 groep 1c R5 intro Exp Intro 1 Exp Spion Exp Chaos 1 Ref Volare Andre Hazes Def Ambulance Def Autodrone Def autokomt 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Def Autoos Autooverig Autouil autoweg Botsing buiten deurdicht 1 deurdicht 2 deurdicht 3 deurdicht 4 deurdicht 5 deurdicht 6 deurdicht 7 deurdicht 8 deurdicht 9 deurkrak deuropen 1 deuropen 2 deuropen 3 deuropen 4 deuropen 5 deuropen 6 deuropen 7 deuropen 8 deuropen 9 fabriek Gang Hal Helicopter hond Hoofdkantoor huisoverig jodel kerkklokken krekels Kromme machinegun muziek ongeval Piepkort Pieplang Pistool Politie 1 Politie 2 Politie 3 Respirator schenk Scheur 1 Scheur 2 Scheur 3 Schreeuw 1 Schreeuw 2 Schreeuw 3 Schreeuw 4 sleutels


102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120

Def Telefoon Def voetstappen Def ZiekOverig Ref Marechiare 1 Ref Marechiare 2 Ref Marechiare 3 Exp Tijdsprong 1 Exp Volare 1 Exp Chaos 2 Exp Operatie 1 Def Dans Def Intro Def Chaos Def Operatie Def Tijdsprong Def Maskers Exp Volare 2 Exp Volare 3 Def Volare

DVD 2 video material Komedie project Nr. V1 V2 V3 V4 V5 V6 V7 Name Chaos Operatie Tijdsprong Marechiare Eugene maskers Johan volare Volare

DVD 3 Komedie performances 1 Perfomance Faculty Theatre


B. Notes
1. Notes made on reading script


Notes on Gezichtsverlies by Dario Fo Komedie project HKU faculty of theatre There are three musical intermezzos in the piece that serve as transitions between two scenes. Theres one theatrical musical moment, namely, when the clarinet is put in the mouth of Antonio, in the first scene of the second act. Very Once upon a time in the west Gezichtsverlies (original: Claxon, Trombette e Pernacchi) is from 1981, Once upon a time in the West is from 1968. Coincidence? There are several moments/ things that could serve as a motion-cycle. Introduction where Antonio en Lucia have an encounter (sc. 1-1, pg. 199) The hospital bed with the puppet on ropes (sc. 1-2, pg. 208 and farther) Unwrapping Agnelli, Antonios double in the hospital (sc. 1-3, pg. 219) Rosa hiding Antonio and Agnelli (sc. 2-1, pg. 242 and farther) Rosa feeding Antonio with the food machine (sc. 2-1, pg. 248) The introduction of the spies and their game of hide-and-seek (sc. 2-2, pg. 251 and farther) It seems to me that the musical moment with the clarinet could be a part of a motion-cycle. This motion-cycles could replace the musical intermezzos Because the sound needs to create the set, theres a minimal number of set-changes A possible blackout could be carried by a crossfade between two sound-sets, if necessary. There are four different settings where the story develops: a car graveyard intensive-care in hospital quiet room in hospital Rosas house

There are also places that are mentioned in the conversations, but that do not exist in the piece: on the side of a road at night the FIAT factory the basement the police station A concrete approach tot the set-sound could have quite a cinematic effect. This could have pros and cons. The car graveyard is well suitable for an atmospheric soundscape, but the rest is more difficult to put down in sound, because: (Loud) noises from cars, metal, debris et cetera are more easily identifiable than (soft) house noises, like a clock, the buzzing of electrical equipment, street noise, et cetera. These first sounds put down a very exciting atmosphere right away. The first scene has less changes than the other scenes. As a substitute for a set, a soundscape needs to be very prominently present, I figure. This is not a problem at a car graveyard. The hospital, and especially the living room are more difficult, because they are in themselves quite quiet environments, that are not merely identifiable on their sound alone. It might be interesting to illustrate the places that we dont see, but that are told about with sounds To me, approaching the scene from the atmosphere it should have, seems best. Maybe I could make an interactive machine with the different layers of sound, so I can adjust to the atmosphere of the scene. Atmospheres like that are maybe difficult to combine with sounds for movements and bodysounds. Youd have to make a machine that responds to movement in such a way that it puts out more energy in sound when the actors put out more energy in their play.


2. Abstract of script


Abstract of Gezichtsverlies by Dario Fo Komedie project HKU Faculty of Theatre

First act First scene Location: Characters: Other elements: Atmosphere: Synopsis:

199 199 car graveyard. Antonio en Lucia. police siren in the distance. daunting, confused, forbidden, tense Antonio tells Lucia what happened to him. what happened earlier. He witnessed a car crash and brought one of the victims, who appears to be Agnelli, the boss of the FIAT-concern and whose face is totally ravaged, to the hospital and then burned his car in fear of being confused for one of the kidnappers.

Second scene Location: Characters: Other elements:

208 Intensive-care unit of a hospital. Doctor, Rosa, Nurses, Commanding officer, Lucia. puppet on ropes, bed where the puppet lies down in, bottles of oxygen et cetera, all of this extremely revolving, something that is used several times for a comical and chaotic effect. Atmosphere: nervous, chaotic, dramatic, dramatic, serious Synopsis: Because Antonio put his jacket around Agnelli, the people in the hospital assume that their patient is Antonio. His wife, Rosa, and his lover, Lucia, are called upon to


identify him. Lucia of course already knows about the mix-up and deliberately identifies Agnelli as Antonio. Musical interlude between second and third scene 219

Third scene 219 Location: Intensive-care unit of a hospital. Characters: Doctor, Rosa, Double, Nurses, Commanding officer, Judge. Other elements: double is being unwrapped. Ropes connected to him. Atmosphere: hopeful, cheerful, later serious, nervous Synopsis: Agnelli underwent plastic surgery is now Antonios double. He also suffers from amnesia though and doesnt remember hes Agnelli. In confronting his environment he of course sees nothing that reminds him of himself Musical interlude between third scene and first scene of the second act. Second act First scene Location: Characters: Other elements: 232 233

233 Rosas house. Rosa, Lucia, Antonio, Officers, Commanding officer, Judge, Double, sound of a clarinet, food machine, hiding places for double and Antonio. Atmosphere: daunting, nervous, chaotic, confusing Synopsis: Agnelli knows by know that he is Agnelli and escaped form the hospital. Antonio comes down to Rosas house with the intention to tell his story to the commanding officer. Antonio knows nothing about his double yet. The commanding officer doesnt believe his story and Antonio fleas again. When the officers have left, Agnelli enters. Later, Antonio enters as well without Rosa noticing this. Rosa hides them in turns without noticing there are two of them. When the commanding officer returns, he takes Antonio with him to the police station. Musical interlude between first and second scene Second scene Location: Characters: 251

251 Rosas house. Spies, Rosa, Lucia, Antonio, Officers, Commanding officer, Judge, Double. Other elements: furniture the spies hide in Atmosphere: exciting, aggressive, climax towards the end. Synopsis: Rosa now knows that Agnelli is Agnelli and that her Antonio is in the police station. Agnelli tells his story to Rosa. Meanwhile, the spies spy on them from within the furniture. The commanding officer returns with Antonio, who has been pumped with water and has confessed everything. Rosa also confesses, but is dictated for this by Agnelli, who is hidden. A complicates story of politics and intrigue begins. Eventually, Agnelli exposes himself to finish the story. The commanding officer is furious to this come-out. The spies also come out of their hiding places.


3. Themes



Themes to Gezichtsverlies by Dario Fo Komedie project HKU Faculty Theatre The four most important themes in my opinion: Power Confusion Paranoia Jealousy Power and control Agnelli has power as Agnelli, but as Antonios double, hes completely powerless. The commanding officer has power over Agnelli until he exposes himself. Antonio is subject to torture and at that point is powerless Agnelli Commanding officer Agnelli as Agnelli Agnelli as Antonios double Who controls who at which point? What do the powerless do to relief themselves from their powerlessness How do these power relations shift? Confusion, chaos In the play, many confusion emerges because of the doubles, but also because of all the intrigue Fear, restlessness, paranoia Antonio is afraid to get caught Rosa is afraid to loose Antonio Commanding officer is afraid of failure Many acts result from fear for something, wanting to run away from something, being worried about something. Jealousy Agnelli, the boss of FIAT and Antonio, a worker at FIAT. Rosa and Lucia, both competing for the same guy. Agnelli Antonio Lucia Rosa


4. Method

Method to Gezichtsverlies by Dario Fo Komedie project HKU Faculty of Theatre A few exercise based on the themes that seemed important to me, aiming to create interaction between actors and music/ sound. Music as means of power With our choice of music we show who we are. Playing loud music in public draws peoples attention Experiment: A gettoblaster. Whoever has the gettoblaster has power. Leader dictates a movement/ dance. Others move along with the music and follow the leaders directions. Leader has to keep them moving/ dancing. Actors have to try to take the gettoblaster from the leader. At every change different music. When the music changes, other leader. Music as a means for confusion Music and sound can help you concentrate but they can also distract you. Experiment: Iemand moet een monoloog improviseren. Een groep probeert deze persoon af te leiden, de andere groep probeert hem/ haar in een diepere concentratie te brengen. Dit alles door middel van lichaamseigen geluid. Afstand van twee meter tussen spreker en groepen. Het gebruik van woorden met betekenis is verboden, enkel ideofonische klanken wat betreft spraak.


Music to create an atmosphere In scary movies, the music and sound determine for the most part whether something is scary. They can give a totally different meaning. Experiment: One or several actors are in a space. Something is happening there, but they dont know what. The music determined the situation and the actors react accordingly.

C. Max patches
1. First patch (03-09-06)


2. Second patch (06-09-06)


3. Third patch (07-09-06)


4. Fourth patch (12-09-06)


5. Fifth patch (20-09-06)


6. Sixth patch (26-09-06)


7. Final patch, version 1 (15-10-06)


8. Final patch, version 2 (19-10-06)


9. Final patch, version 3 (23-10-06)


10. Final patch, version 4 (17-11-06)


D. Process spaces
The process spaces presented in this part of the appendix search to represent the Komedie project in such a way that it shows the development of the design representation through different circumstances and with different intervals. As such, I thought it would be a good way to get insight into development of the interaction speed throughout the project. Ive included all process spaces which I thought were relevant to this project. I kept a log of this project, so this was relatively easy to do. There are some events that I have not included, but might consider in my analysis of this project: 1. I read the script once, before I decided to do the project. This was spread out over a number of days between June 14 and August 7. 2. Apart from the creative part of this project, there were of course also some more formal things to deal with. As I consider their influence on the development of the design representation practically non-existent, Ive not included these in this overview of process spaces. 3. Neither and for the same reason have I included the talk I had with Daan when he asked me if Id like to do this project, on 18-05-06, when he came to watch the Stretch Cunningham performance in the Tagrijn, and my first introduction to Marja on, when I came to watch Daans performance of a play he wrote and played. 4. On the morning of October 11, we did a soundcheck in the Faculty Theatre. 5. After the first set of performances in the faculty theatre, I wrote an enquiry for the actors to fill out. I didnt include this in this overview because I dont consider this enquiry as a design representation. I did, however include the group and individual evaluations, held on 08-11-06, as these talks have In my opinion had an influence on the further development of the design representation relatively high enough to include in this overview.



The texts below the pictures give more details about the process spaces. In some of them, dates are presented. These correspond to the list found in appendix e of dates and events. Sometimes, the text refers to another part of this appendix when mentioning a design representation of some sort. In the end, a map is presented, including al these process spaces. People in this project that are named more than once and hence referred to with only their first name are: Marja Vinkenburg Director Ramses Graus Hanneke Vos (myself) Milo Zipson Evrim Kurc Kurc and teacher of choreographical aspects of the project Director Music- and sound designer Actor playing the parts of Rosa (B) and Nurse (A)

This picture represents the first real talk I had with Marja about the project on 20-06-06, in which she explained her plans to me. I made some notes.

On August 7, the next thing I did was read the script and make notes. I also listened to Ennio Morricones Lhomme a lharmonica, because a passage in the script reminded me of it.


After I had mailed my work to Marja, we had another meeting, and discussed the work I had done. We also listened to some music she used as reference. We both made notes.

The day after, I made an abstract of the script, and from this, I distilled the most important themes. Next, I worked out a couple of methods.

On September 3, I made a plan for my Maxpatch. Danil made the maxpatch.


That afternoon, I attended the first rehearsal. The actors and I interacted with the Maxpatch. Marja and I made notes. This picture represents all rehearsals where I was present. On some of them, Ramses was also present and he would then make notes.

The next morning, I made some music to put into the patch. I used the abstract I made of the script as a starting point. Id begin with one instrument and record this, then record the rest. This process of playing and recording would iterate until I had all the required tracks.


After the first rehearsal, I used the notes I had made as a starting point for the new music to put in the Maxpatch. When I put the new music in the patch, I altered the patch.

The next morning, September 9, I started altering the Maxpatch. Then, I made some new music to put in the Maxpatch. Then I altered the Maxpatch again and then made the rest of the music. Finally, I altered the Maxpatch again.


After the second rehearsal, I started with the soundscapes. I again used the notes I made earlier as a starting point. I would record sounds, with a microphone, or from cd and assemble them in Logic to get a feel of the total picture. Afterwards, Id alter the Maxpatch to make it fit for the sounds I had assembled.

After a short period of reflection, I made some new music on September 20, to go into the Maxpatch. I also altered the Maxpatch after I had made the music. I started the session with listening to some reference music and reading notes made earlier.


After another rehearsal and a day of reflection, I did some research on different instruments, as represented above. Again, I used notes from earlier sessions as a starting point.

After another session of making music and two other rehearsals, it was time to start making the final material. I started with the notes I had taken on the sixth rehearsal to make a list of sounds and the way I wanted to use them. Meanwhile, I listened to the sound I had recorded and assembled, and recorded and assembled more sounds, adjusting the list when needed. After this, I made an inventory of the instruments I wanted to use for the music and assembled these in a Logic file.


On October 7, 8 and 9, I altered the Maxpatch, so it would be fit for the sounds, and the music and what I wanted to do with these. This picture represents the altering of the Maxpatch as a process of two hours. In these three days, making alterations would take about ten hours a day.

On October 10, I also altered the Maxpatch. Danil also altered the Maxpatch, and I would look at the video recordings I had made on the previous rehearsal, to get ideas for the music I had to compose.

Using the video material, notes on paper, notes made earlier, reference music and the instruments I had assembled, I started composing the rest of the music to put into the Maxpatch. I had two make four more pieces, so the process would iterate four times. I used notes on paper and reference music in two pieces.


On October 14 and 15, I practiced playing the Maxpatch alone at home.

This picture represents the performances and try-outs we did in the Faculty Theatre. The perspective is that of the music and sound, as only the interaction of myself and the actors with the Maxpatch is represented. Marja and Ramses would make notes.

On October 15, Danil made some more alterations on the Maxpatch, to remove some bugs.

On October 12, I altered the piece Volare, as it was in the wrong key.

On October 18, I made a new version of Volare. I downloaded a midi file of the song, and altered this into a loop with my own instruments.


After the first set of performances, the actors had to write a project report. I made an enquiry for them to fill out. On November 8, we did individual and group evaluations.

On October 23, I altered the Maxpatch a little bit more. I did this in the Faculty Theatre.

Finally, I introduce this ?-picture. In the Komedie project, there were many different places where different designers interacted with different design representations. I only have records of those process space I was involved in. So, to make a map of process spaces which can also represent the development of the design representation, I use this picture, to represent process spaces of which I have no record, but which I know they have occurred. These process spaces are: Ramses and Marja had some discussions about the piece before I joint them. Somewhere in the process, the costumes, the props, the videos and the lighting were developed. The actors rehearsed every weekday. They had a workshop on working with masks. They also had singing/ choir lessons, with Itamar Lapide.

This x-picture, represents a number of situations where there was discussion on or thought about the design representation and notes where made. These situations occurred a number of times. I included the first two talks with Marja as separate process spaces, because they were far more significant to the course of the project, than these other discussions. However, these also contributed to the whole. The following events occurred: After rehearsals, Marja, Ramses and I would discuss the things that happened and make plans for the next rehearsal. Of course, through the process, within rehearsals, or whenever different people came together, these discussions would take place. On September 19 and 25, I reviewed what I had done and thought about what I had to do next. This occurred in almost every design session, but these were the most intensive reflection sessions.


E. Project map; a blueprint of interaction speed




Table of dates and events

pc 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 7 10 10 7 X 11 7 X 12 6 7 6 7 13 14 14 14 15 16 17 18 17 19 19 20 17 21 17 21 17 14 17 17 22 17 17 X 22 17

description First talk with Marja Read script, make notes Make abstract of script, distil themes, write method Second talk with Marja Design plan for Maxpatch, make first Maxpatch Make music to put in patch First rehearsal Make music to put in patch, alter patch Make music to put in patch, alter patch Second rehearsal Make soundscapes Make soundscapes Third rehearsal Think about music to put in patch Make music to put in patch, alter patch Fourth rehearsal Think about concept and planning Research different instruments Make music to put in patch Fifth rehearsal Make music to put in patch Sixth rehearsal Assemble sounds and instruments Alter patch Alter patch Alter patch Alter patch Make music to put in patch Try-out without audience Make new "Volare" Try-out without audience Practice with patch Practice with patch Remove bugs from patch First Try-out Make new "Volare" First performances Make new "Volare" Second performances Alter patch Third performances Fourth performances Alter patch Fifth performances Sixth performances Evaluate group and individuals Alter patch Art Attack performance

place Theatre faculty classroom My home-studio My home-studio Marja's home Daniel's home My home-studio Theatre faculty classroom My My Theatre My home-studio home-studio faculty classroom home-studio

date 20-06-2006 07-08-2006 09-08-2006 21-08-2006 03-09-2006 04-09-2006 04-09-2006 06-09-2006 07-09-2006 07-09-2006 11-09-2006 12-09-2006 12-09-2006 19-09-2006 20-09-2006 22-09-2006 25-09-2006 26-09-2006 27-09-2006 28-09-2006 04-10-2006 05-10-2006 06-10-2006 07-10-2006 08-10-2006 09-10-2006 10-10-2006 11-10-2006 12-10-2006 12-10-2006 13-10-2006 14-10-2006 15-10-2006 15-10-2006 16-10-2006 17-10-2006 17-10-2006 18-10-2006 18-10-2006 19-10-2006 19-10-2006 20-10-2006 23-10-2006 23-10-2006 24-10-2006 08-11-2006 17-11-2006 17-11-2006

My home-studio Theatre faculty classroom My home-studio My home-studio Theatre faculty classroom My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio Theatre faculty classroom My home-studio Theatre faculty classroom My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio Faculty Theatre My home-studio Faculty Theatre My home-studio My home-studio My home-studio Faculty Theatre My home-studio Faculty Theatre My home-studio Faculty Theatre My home-studio Faculty Theatre Faculty Theatre Faculty Theatre Faculty Theatre Faculty Theatre Theatre faculty classroom Faculty Theatre Faculty Theatre


Authors background
Hanneke Vos (21-11-1981, The Netherlands) studied Music Technology at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Faculteit Kunst, Media en Technologie (Utrecht School of the Arts, Faculty of Art, Media and Technology). In 2004 she graduated as a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Music Production and as a Master of Arts in Composition in Contexts. She has been mainly occupied with designing music and sound for theatre and writing songs in different contexts. She has interest in many different forms of creative expression and has engaged in writing, acting and fine arts, though to a far less extend than music. Throughout her research into design processes she has also become more interested in psychology-related subjects. As such, she likes to look at things from different perspectives, in search of commonalities within diversity. For more information you could go to her website: You can also visit the band Stretch Cunninghams MySpace and listen to their songs at:

Final word to the reader

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading this thesis and Id like to thank you for making the effort to do so. It would be most rewarding to me if parts of it have inspired you, but I would also be very interested in hearing your critical comments on it. You might do so by emailing to this address:

2007 H.M. Vos