Improvisational Interfaces

Improvisational Interfaces

How can we build new forms of human-machine interfaces that support improvisational creativity?

Project Members

Toby Gifford
Shelly Knotts
Jon McCormack


Art & Design

Computer software designed for the arts (design, illustration, cinema, music, fine art, performance, etc.) is now a mature, multi-billion-dollar global business. While computer systems support the production and organisation of creative outcomes effectively and extensively, the vast majority of these systems are founded on the assumption that the users – not the software – supply all the imagination in the evolution and performance of a work. Software is considered an inert tool that should passively support an artist’s inventiveness but never intervene as a partner. In short, the computer’s involvement has been conceptualised as reactive, not creative.

What if the computer could act more like an equal, or at least as an inspirational assistant, understanding an artist’s own style and abilities, interacting with them as they generate new art? The computer could then challenge the artist to forge new ideas, and support or critique them as they emerge – akin to working with an artistically sensitive human partner who understands and buoys one’s own originality. This system would encourage learning and practice by adapting to each individual’s current style and technical abilities, developing in sophistication and empathy just as the human artist’s own abilities mature.

More information on the project web site.