[ISEA2011] Paper: Ayça Adviye Ünlüer, Oguzhan Özcan & Hüseyin Kusçu – Embedded Sound: A Project on Turkish Traditional Calligraphy and Its Multi-Touch Transformation


As digital technologies evolve, new forms of art are discovered by designers and artists. Yet throughout this fast evolution it is hard to say these art forms develop a solid background. It’s a credible idea to achieve a well established approach by experimentally adapting art forms from past cultures to new digital media. One of the subjects of inspiration can be Turkish Traditional Calligraphy named as ‘Khatt’.

‘Khatt’ (pronounced as ‘hut’) is the art of aesthetic and measured lettering. Hat which gets its origins from the philosophy of Sufism/Tasawwuf, can be properly applied only after a long and difficult training. Master artists develop a visual composition by blending a given text in to a metaphorical form. A work of Khatt not only presents a group of words that make up a composition with a symbol that stands out; but also involves a dynamism formed by the emotional expression of the drawing technique. This paper is about the idea of composing contemporary interactive screen designs using multi-touch technology in union with the dynamism and spirit lying beneath the art of Khatt.

In these sorts of experimental designs, it is aimed for the user to catch the right rhythm and exhalation, then imitate the ‘Khattat’s (the Khatt artist) flow of movements with the help of certain clues with high predictability, and finally recreate a composition. For the auditory orientation, the sound of a wind instrument called ‘ney’ has been chosen. Demonstrating the same space of time and variability with the exhalation, ney is an instrument originating from the philosophy of Tasawwuf as a visual concept as well as a musical one.

In the application process of such project, sound and image take part in the orientation simultaneously. Consequently the result revealed after experimental studies can be defined as ‘a contemporary auditory output of a visual composition in Khatt’ or in another point of view ‘a new interpretation to the visual notation of music’.

  • Adviye Ayça Ünlüer received her Bachelor’s Degree in the Communication Design Program, Art and Design Faculty, Yildiz Technical University (YTU) and her M.A. degree in the Interactive Media Design Program, YTU, where she also works as a lecturer. She teaches typographic animation, icon design and multimedia projects. Ayça Ünlüer is doing her PhD study on Gestural Interaction Design Education. Her current interests are Natural user interface, interactive media design, creative thinking.
  • Oguzhan Özcan is  specialised in interactive design education and practice. He is supervising a number of research projects, publications and book contribution relating to interactivity and design art. He was awarded a UNESCO Aschberg Fellow in 2003. Currently he is supervising  several industrial research  for  international  companies i.e. Imagination Studious, Upsalla,  VOLVO CE and VESTEL Electronics.  His  publications can be accessed at http://oguzhan.ozcan.info.
  • Hüseyin Kusçu [ISEA2011 provided no biographical information]

Full text (PDF)  2445-2451