The software and hardware for echome developed reciprocally with a pedagogy. Pedagogy here is broadly understood as the set of principles, influences and assumptions that guide the use of the technology. As such, the term encompasses the embodied, immediate experience that the use of echome is striving to engender; the set of activities that make up a/the practice; and the ethics and values that underpin it.
Pedagogy is situated at the intersections of: the affordances of the technology; the abilities, preferences, habits and needs of the users; and the contexts that render the use of the technology valuable and meaningful. The development of a pedagogy for echome as well as the development of echome in response to a set of pedagogical principles were guided by the following questions:
- What activities does echome make possible? What can one do with it?
- What abilities and competencies may the use of echome foster? Are these skills unique and/or do they dovetail with existing skillsets?
- What constitutes a benchmark for good practice? How would an accomplished use of echome look-sound like?
- How should a set of activities be scaffolded? How should one begin working with echome? How should a session be concluded?
- What kind of vocabulary is needed for this kind of practice? What kind of language may be useful to constitute this vocabulary?
- What is the relationship between the technological interface and lived experience ? How can a facilitator or user move smoothly between the two?
- In what ways does echome facilitate solo, partner and group work?
- What are the limits of the practice?
The activities have been developed over the years and through collaboration with a range of users and stakeholders (see Applications). They combine principles and exercises from a range of sources including: somatic disciplines, primarily Feldenkrais and Skinner Releasing Technique; movement improvisation and composition; theatre devising; ‘deep listening’; discourses on accessibility and scholarship on intermedial and digital performance. In addition to the activities presented in this section, preliminary work with echome may include:
- Listening Activities. Exercises from Pauline Oliveros’s ‘deep listening’ practice might be useful, as well as invitations to explore the different sounds that can become audible in different parts of the room as well as the different sounds that inhere in objects, once these are tapped, dropped, pushed, lifted etc.
- Movement Activities. echome aspires to cultivate the user's joy, trust and confidence in their own movement. If you would like to warm up the participants in advance, you can introduce the concept of the kinesphere and invite them to move different parts of the body towards different directions. This can then be augmented by asking them to place the sensor on different body parts and explore the sound that is created in response to different movements.
- Activities of passing the sensor. The way in which the sensors are introduced to the user is a key part of the practice. The sensors can be strapped on any part of the body but they can also be held or carried. When working with a group for the first time, an easy way to introduce the technology is to sit in a circle and ask the participants to pass the sensor around. The facilitator can change the sound that the sensor triggers each time the sensor is passed along or once a circle is completed. This gives the participants the opportunity to get a feel of the sensor’s shape and weight whilst having the freedom to leave the sensor and end the interaction at any point.