Interactive Exhibit Design Idea 1: “Swing and Jazz: A Who’s Who Experience”

For the Interactive Exhibit Design Class, we are required to create an exhibit using interactive and digital techniques. Below is one of the ideas that has been slowly percolating in my brain. Lets hope I can succeed spectacularly, rather than fail spectacularly as I wade into this unknown technical territory!

Title: “Swing and Jazz: A Who’s Who Experience”

Plan:
The plan for this exhibit is to set up as if the person entering the exhibit is on a stage, like they are part of the show. They will sit down on the stool which will activate a welcome screen instructing the visitor to interact with the items around them. They will have the option to press a key on the keyboard, say something into the microphone, turn the page of a score, or press down a valve on the wind instruments (maybe just one instrument, or maybe a different person will be represented by a saxophone, trumpet or clarinet). When the person does one of the above described actions, part of a song that relates to a certain Jazz or Swing musician will begin to play which will lead into the biography of that musician being displayed upon the screen. The person can then choose to learn more about Jazz and Swing as a genre or play another instrument and learn about another musician. When finished they can leave, once they stand, there will be a Swing/Jazz song that plays them out of the exhibit with a screen that says goodbye or something that relates to the Jazz and Swing eras. I could have poster boards with instructions and an overview of the Jazz/Swing era at the entrance to the exhibit so that visitors would know what to do and would have a good understanding of the material before beginning the exhibit exercise.
Tools:
– multimedia Computer with Sensors, using Max since it was made by musicians anyway it would probably do the project justice. I would need a sensor for turning a page of the score, for sitting down and standing up from the stool, for pressing down on the valves for the wind instruments, for sensing vocals, for the keys on the keyboard (or maybe done without sensors on Max)
– a program built by me to control all of these ideas and ensure the correct video plays when an action is performed
-t.v. or computer screen to show video of history of swing and jazz eras, and specifics on certain influential musicians
– a music stand, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, stool, old microphone, and a keyboard
– a mannequin (or two if not expensive) to be the musicians, possibly holding multiple instruments, could also dress the mannequin up in period clothing for a performance (one female, one male) on either side of the keyboard
– fabric to create drapes to make it feel like the visitor is on stage, they would hang behind and on either side of the t.v./computer screen the visitor will be facing
Time Period:
– 1910-1970, focus more on the 1920s and 1930s
Purpose:
– Identify some key figures in the rise and popularity of Swing and Jazz music (for example: Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington)
– Identify and explain the origins of Swing and Jazz
– Identify and explain why Swing and Jazz originated from African-American roots
– Provide an interesting way to learn about music history rather than just reading it. Includes hands-on activities, music and text.

Idea number 2 coming soon…

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