Hands where we can see them! Investigating the impact of gesture size on audience perception
This paper explores the relative effect of gesture size on audience perception of digital musical instrument (DMI) performance. In a study involving a total audience of 28 people (split into 2 groups of 13 and 15), we used a small and large version of a DMI to examine how the size of performers' gestures might differ, and how this affects post-hoc audience ratings of enjoyment, interest and understanding, as well as their indications of `enjoyment' and `error' in real time. For each audience we held two 5-minute performances, the first on a custom-designed percussion DMI, and the second on a laptop. The DMI used in each performance was made up of three elements identical in shape, materiality, interaction and sound, but the physical size was different: For one each element was approx 12x10x5cm, and the other was about 3.5 times bigger (approx. 40x30x20cm). Data was collected both during and after the performance via post-hoc and real-time methods. We found that beyond a performance simply involving physical gesture, the size of gesture has an impact on audience ratings. In this paper we detail this study and its results, and present the implications that this finding has for DMI design.