This dissertation was carried out within the framework of an artistic research and art project called metamusic and documents the process of designing musical instruments for grey parrots in captivity. This cumulative work discusses the different steps towards an animal-centered design for auditory enrichment in the context of Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) and related fields on the basis of four peer-reviewed publications.
It begins with a presentation of a wide range of artistic and scientific projects involving animals in musical settings. I analyzed and classified these projects focusing on the interplay between animals and music technology in order to arrive at a better understanding of these animal-based musical projects and the musical agency of the animals involved.
This is followed by a description of a series of sonic experiments with my research subjects: a group of African grey parrots living in a parrot shelter near Vienna. These investigations were intended to gain information about how this specific group of grey parrots perceive and respond to sound stimuli. I then used the results of these experiments to determine the interaction and sonic preferences of the parrots, which in turn informed the subsequent design process.
Building on this, the thesis describes the animal-centered design process for creating musical instruments and interfaces that provide auditory enrichment for grey parrots living in captivity and discusses how the implementation of such technological mediators could foster new auditory and interaction opportunities for improving the quality of life of grey parrots living in captivity.
This dissertation closes by exploring the implications of the research and artistic output of metamusic for both the animal and human participants in experiments, the design process as well as artistic installations and performances. The findings also suggest further research opportunities concerning the auditory enrichment of captive grey parrots.