How still is still? How silent is silent? Sverm was an artistic research project that explored the use of human micromotion in artistic practice.
The Sverm project grew out of the acknowledgment that a lot of both scientific and artistic research of music-related body motion focus to on what can be called "meso-level" actions. That is, motion happening on the scale of centimetres or metres. But what about motion at the micro-scale, typically at the scale of millimetres? What happens there and how can it be used in artistic practice?
To look more into the phenomenon of micromotion from, musician-researcher Alexander Refsum Jensenius teamed up with dancer-choreographer Kari Anne Vadstensvik Bjerkestrand. They decided to carry out a short pilot study in the then new fourMs Lab at the University of Oslo. Here they explored micromotion through the act of standing still in silence for ten minutes at a time. Their head swaying was captured with a state-of-art motion capture system, and the data from these studies, together with their subjective reflections, formed the basis for a succesful application to the Arts Council of Norway.
The Sverm project ran from 2010-2012 and culminated in a series of dance-music performances that explored the concept of human micromotion in an artistic setting. The success of the project led to a successful application to the Research Council of Norway, and the project MICRO - Human Bodily Micromotion in Music Perception and Interaction that ran from 2017-2020. Here many of the ideas that came out of the artistic exploration have been investigated scientifically. They have also sparked off more artistic experimentation in the form of RITMO's Self-playing guitars.
- Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2017). Exploring music-related micromotion, In Clemens Wöllner (ed.), Body, Sound and Space in Music and Beyond: Multimodal Explorations. Routledge. ISBN 9781472485403.
- Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2017). Sonic Microinteraction in "the Air", In Micheline Lesaffre; Pieter-Jan Maes & Marc Leman (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction. Routledge. ISBN 9781138657403.
- Jensenius, A. R. (2015). Microinteraction in Music/Dance Performance. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression. Baton Rouge, LA, pages 16-19.
Jensenius, A. R., Bjerkestrand, K. A. V., and Johnson, V. (2014). How still is still? Exploring standstill for artistic applications. International Journal of Arts and Technology, 7(2).
Jensenius, A. R. and V. Johnson (2012). Performing the electric violin in a sonic space. Computer Music Journal, 36(4):28–39.
- Jensenius, A. R. and Bjerkestrand, K. A. V. (2012). Exploring micromovements with motion capture and sonification. In Brooks, A. L., editor, Arts and Technology, Second International Conference, ArtsIT 2011, Esbjerg, Denmark, December 7-8, 2011, Revised Selected Papers, volume 101 of LNICST, pages 100–107. Springer, Berlin.
- Jensenius, A. R. and Johnson, V. (2010). A video based analysis system for realtime control of concatenative sound synthesis and spatialisation. In Yildirim, S. and Kofod-Petersen, A., editors, Proceedings of Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Symposium, pages 85–88, Trondheim. Tapir Akademisk Forlag.