The Cutatune is a music player that fits on your arm like a cuff. To play it, you run a thin rubber stylus through three slots at the top of the device.
“This was interesting to Maria because that was the spot where she most frequently cut,” wrote its designer, a homeless young woman in Seattle. “She was soothed and lost the urge to cut herself.”
The Cutatune does not exist. Neither does the Musical Blanket, the Nicatune, the Music Emote or any of the dozens of imaginary music players that will be featured in “Music is My Life,” an art show set to open Thursday in Molly’s Cafe at the Henry Art Gallery.
But they paint a compelling picture of how much music matters in the lives of homeless teens and young adults — and why.
The show is based on dissertation research by Jill Woelfer, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington’s Information School, who since 2007 has been studying how homeless young people use technology. After conducting a study to see what happened to iPods a group of them had earned by completing a technology-based life skills course she helped teach, Woelfer, a trained musician and former piano teacher, became curious. Even among very few possessions, she noticed, music players stood out.More