Blog Posts

Sonicules at Stockholm Tech Fest 2017

We are really excited to be invited to present Sonicules at Stockholm Tech Fest by Embassy of Poland in Stockholm and Polska Instituet Stockholm. We showcased Sonicules on prestigious VIP event opening the festival.  We feel really lucky to be able to perform in the same place where dinner after Nobel Price ceremony takes place – Stockholm Stadshuset.

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We were networking and exchanging ideas with startup companies and likeminded visitors of this biggest tech festival in Sweden. We also met with Deputy Minister of Economic Development from Poland.

Meeting with Jadwiga Emilewicz

Following the festival Radek and Jakub presented Sonicules among other projects focused on art, science and cultural heritage from Precyzja.org on Polish Innovation Days 2017.

Here is few pictures from Sonicules trip to Stockholm.

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Radek and Jakub

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Sonicules with Goodbooks.pl and Polska Instituet Stockholm
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Sonicules: Tour de Pologne

Sonicules team was invited by University of Warsaw and Copernicus Science Centre for number of presentations and performances in Poland. This made very exciting trip for our group. We have brought the Sonicules game with us, so both students, researchers and local public could try to beat Jude’s highest score.

Sonicules team at CNK
Sonicules team at Copernicus Science Centre 

We gave presentation, performance and installation workshop with Sonicules game at ‘Masz wiadomość’ event at Copernicus Science Centre. It was organised for adults keen to learn about science and engage with technology. Right after this, Sonicules made it straight to the Polish TV, as Canal + interviewed our team at the venue.

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Radek sound checking at Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland

Visiting University of Warsaw we had number of meetings including our future partner Visualisation Group from Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling. We also presented Sonicules at Center of New Technologies, CeNT at University of Warsaw where Radek performed with his modular setup. 

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Radek’s setup at Center of New Technologies, CeNT at University of Warsaw

Our host walked us around the beautiful campus, after that our international team got back to their homes in Krakow, York and Wellington.

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Campus walk at University of Warsaw

Sonicules film on tour

The 9min documentary we made about the Sonicules project will be presented at  SOUND AND MUSIC IN DOCUMENTARY FILM on Friday 24th February at the University of Huddersfield.

Abstract: Radoslaw Rudnicki (Poland / University of York)

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Sonicules was commissioned for the Festival of Ideas, University of York in June 2016, and utilised modular and analogue synthesis throughout, both in sound design of a specially designed video game as well as during an interactive audio-visual performance. Sonicules is a live performance, which engages audiences with the process and challenges involved in the design of new anticancer drugs. It centres on current research in the Departments of Electronics and Chemistry, which is investigating the potential use of spatial sound to speed up the drug design process.

Sonicules at AHRC Commons 2016

(available on the AHRC commons blog too )

From early quick-sketch ideas about complementing visualisations of molecular structures by using spatial audio, the sonicules project grew ‘on paper’ to include a computer game for all ages and live musical performance as part of our public engagement activities.

Throughout the project, I’ve often been surprised, and sometimes overwhelmed, by the richness of interactions between the disciplines represented by the team.  A planner by nature, but a musician by training, I had to remind myself often to ‘let go’ in order to allow the creative processes free reign.

Taking part in the AHRC commons underlined the importance of such creative discovery.  Sonicules has science at its heart, but aesthetic aspects are also vital for the success of the project and to enable us to  engage with new audiences.  It was fantastic to be able to meet and discuss with colleagues from all areas of Arts and Humanities research and to see reactions to the artwork produced.

Seeing our specially commissioned short documentary video in the 3Sixty was a thrill – the amazing graphics by Jakub Hader and surround-sound audio by Radek Rudnicki took on an additional immersive dimension, enveloping the audience with music, shapes and colours in order to portray the complexities and seemingly insurmountable challenges of designing new anticancer drugs.

The struggle to shape and fit a new drug molecule into the active site of the target enzyme holds an achingly compelling attraction; as scientists we analyse and design and plan and engineer often without success.  But by embracing the artistic, the musical, the emotional, the beautiful we can edge towards discoveries not yet known or understood.

In a smaller, but still important way, the sonicules  computer game itself demonstrates simply how important it is to ‘let go’ of our science and engineering ‘intuitions’ and trust in the holistic beauty of the aural and visual aspects.  

During the sonicules project our team members – from chemistry, music, visual art, audio engineering and sociology – had to allow themselves to be guided away from first instincts, towards artefacts and outcomes which were not originally envisaged or designed or engineered, trusting in a more fluid way of working with creative possibilities.


The result was an emotionally compelling aural and visual experience – born of science but shaped by art and music – a tangible demonstration of importance of meeting on common ground.

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Future plans : game play data analysis 

We’ve collected game play data from over 100 people who played the sonicules game. The summer of 2016 will see us analysing this data. We want to know more about how people played the game, how the sound world we created helped them to get close to the molecule docking solution. We’d also like to know which game play technique git players to the solution quickly and efficiently.

We’ll be working with colleagues in the Department of Computer Science here at the University of York to start to answer some of these questions.


The three columns represent 3 successive plays; top row shows rotational accuracy of the drug molecule (with the correct solution at the top of the graph) and the lower row shows accuracy on terms of location of the drug molecule (again the correct position is at the top of the graph). With some practice this player got really good at the game – on the third play reaching a very accurate solution in just over 40 seconds!

Understanding how the game is played will inform the next iteration of our drug design software incorporating spatial auditory display.

A summer of Sonicules

It’s nearly a month now since we first presented SONICULES at the York Festival of Ideas. It was fantastic to meet so many different people and share with them the exciting interdisciplinary research we are undertaking at the University of York in the Department of Electronics and Department of Chemistry.

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The interactive audio-visual performance piece created by Radek Rudnicki and Jakub Hader was a fantastic event, combining audio-reactive visuals and live analogue synthesis – footage of part of the performance (if you missed it) can be seen on our video page.

20160611_120004The whole SONICULES team were busy during a weekend of Festival of Ideas events and enjoyed sharing our research vision with visitors young and old alike.  Around 1000 people visited the C2D2 events

Continue reading A summer of Sonicules

AHRC Common Ground blog

 

We presented Sonicules at the AHRC Common Ground Event  on 21st June 2016 in the 3Sixty –  surround sound and visuals  – and discussed the use of art work to engage the public with science research with many other academics, researchers and arts practitioners.

It was fantastic to be able to showcase Sonicules to an audience of academic and industry stakeholders – with conversations weaving around themes of science/art collaboration, creativity and engineering, and the rich opportunities afforded by developing art and music to engage and inspire.

Dr Damian Murphy’s blog about the AHRC Common Ground Event gives more detail about the background to the event and the focus of the day.

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A Weekend at York Festival of Ideas

This weekend, we presented the Sonicules project at two events for York Festival of Ideas(FOI). We have 88 game plays recorded on our leaderboard and had countless conversations about the drug design process and how sound could help. The weekend culminated in a fantastic audio-visual extravaganza from Jakub and Radek which blew us all away!

Continue reading A Weekend at York Festival of Ideas