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Reinhard Gupfinger

The Design of Musical Instruments for Grey Parrots: An Artistic Contribution towards Animal-Human-Computer Interaction

Abschluss des PhD-Programms / Completion of the PhD-Program: April 2020

Betreuung / Supervision:
Martin Kaltenbrunner

This dissertation was carried out in the framework of an artistic research and art project called metamusic and documents the process of designing musical instruments for grey parrots in captivity. The cumulative work discusses the different steps towards an animal-centric design for auditory enrichment in the context of Animal Computer Interaction (ACI) and related fields on the basis of four publications.
It presents a wide range of artistic and scientific projects that involve animals in a musical settings. I analysed and categorised these projects focusing on the interplay between animals and music technology in order to arrive at a better understanding of animal-based musical projects.
This was followed by a series of sonic experiments with our subjects of research – a group of African grey parrots living in a parrot shelter near Vienna. These investigations intend to gain information about how grey parrots perceive, respond to sound and music and the individual interaction and sonic preferences of the birds.  
Building on this, I describes the iterative design process of musical instruments and interfaces for auditory enrichment for grey parrots living in captivity and discuss how the implementation of such technological mediators could provide new auditory and interaction opportunities for improving the quality of life for grey parrots living in captivity.
This research closes by exploring the implication of the research and artistic output of metamusic for both – animals and human participants in experiments, installations and performances. The findings also expose a research void concerning musical instruments and sound design in the context of ACI.

Kurz-Biographie / Short Bio
Reinhard Gupfinger is a university assistant and PhD candidate researcher at the Tangible Music Lab at the Institute of Media Studies, where he is undertaking a study in the context of Animal Computer Interaction (ACI) by designing musical instruments for grey parrots. He holds a Master of Arts and Mag. art. degree from the University for Art and Design Linz, Austria.

Email-Adresse / Email-Address:
reinhard.gupfinger@ufg.at

Weblink:
tamlab.ufg.at/projects/metamusic

Grey Parrot Wittgenstein on Joystick Device; Foto © Otto Saxinger