Vision for Interactive Media in Interdisciplinary New Media Studies

Lewis C. Hill II


My vision for interactive media reflects my diverse research and industrial experiences including: human computer interaction, computer engineering, virtual reality, music, synesthesia, interactive design, biotechnology, avionics, genetic algorithms, artificial-life techniques, and adaptive systems. My doctoral research seeks to demonstrate the automatic cross-modal sensory experience of Synesthesia in response to music and sound. My earlier research has resulted in the development of intuitive user interfaces, systems to study design thinking processes, and the use of digital systems to provide new insight into interdisciplinary settings.


Through my studies and experiences of both Synesthesia and improvisational musical expression, I have begun to understand that the human experience is a constant transition through states of consciousness. Transitioning through sensation, cognition, inspiration, emotion, action, and reflection leads to the recombination of ideas and generation of new creative inspirations. As we develop and grow spiritually, we come to greater understanding and awareness of our environments and ourselves. Our minds employ new modes of thought as we acquire new skills. We begin to have interdisciplinary insights, which span diverse modes of thought. Our artistic and computer generated digital creations serve to document those moments of inspiration, insight, awareness, beauty, and harmony.


HCI practitioners have observed that humans are increasingly connected and digitally instrumented through our powerful media technology tools. For example, a single computer can operate as a video imaging suite, a music production system, a creative writing lab, and a computer graphics development platform. Computers have become archives, historians, observers, confidants, and vehicles for digital exploration. To borrow an analogy, the computer is a metaphorical ‘bottle’ for communicating creative ‘messages’ to a worldwide audience. Further, generative music, art, and design systems have also established the computer as a creative partner in diverse professional practices. Computer facilitated HCI experimental methods provide the means to observe users’ attention, thought processes, and creative inspirations.


I envision that future interactive media systems will leverage digital technologies to automatically generate creative multimodal expressions. I foresee an expanded role for intelligent systems that leverages knowledge about human perception, attention, and communication. I anticipate that computer systems will become capable of performing synesthesia-like sensory transformations in response to users’ creative activities and behaviors. I envision technology participating in a dialog of human expression just as synesthesia inspires the renaissance mind or as an improvisational musician participates in creative dialog with an ensemble. I envision new media systems that can automatically and algorithmically convert spoken ideas, artistic expressions, and scientific inspirations into coordinated dynamic multi-sensory experiences, while simultaneously evolving the presentation in response to the user and the audience.


In this vision, the computer system becomes a means for bridging digital ideas, analog experiences, artistic expressions, conceptual inspirations, metaphorical insights, and human responses. The computer becomes an interactive, intelligent, adaptive, customizable, and synesthetic assistant for shaping, molding, and expressing separate inspirations into multimodal experiences. The computer augments the users’ creative processes by suggesting connections between ideas and by recommending interdisciplinary connections to their digital content. I envision systems that constantly adapt to simulate, stimulate, and augment the thought processes of a creative mind.