Arts and Technology Speakers Come Together At Conference

By Theresa A. Byrne

Speakers from the arts and technology sectors came together on Thursday for “Art, Technology, Psyche,” an all-day conference hosted by the Digital Futures consortium and the Digital Arts and Humanities Group, which aimed to spark a dialogue among those interested in the intersection of the two fields.

“Art and technology are both human creations; the wisdom underneath that is what we’re trying to get to,” said Christopher Morse, a research computing specialist at DARTH, who co-organized the event with Susan Berstler, information technology coordinator for Tozzer and Cabot libraries.

Tod Machover, a professor of music and media at MIT, opened the event with a keynote address titled “Meditated Music: From Robot Operas to City Symphonies and Beyond.” Machover, who is currently composing symphonies compiled from sound files collected in various cities, spoke about the “empathy” behind his cross-disciplinary work and how melding art and technology together resonates with the psyche.

While Machover views technology as a common language of the 21st century, Berstler added that “it’s the dialogue about it that’s the important part.”

In addition to Machover, Henry “Trae” Winter III, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, spoke about digitally analyzing images of the sun, and James Yamada, a creative technologist with metaLAB, spoke about origami and its analogues to digital modeling.

The artwork on display featured a large-scale collaboration between the Harvard Ceramics Department and the Graduate School of Design, which utilized computation and information technologies in ceramic design.

The event took place at Arts @ 29 Garden, a space intended to facilitate creativity amongst students, faculty members, and others affiliated with Harvard. According to Berstler, the space was chosen because it allowed for two levels of simultaneous events, as well as a space for attendees to sit and converse. Attendees said the event made progress toward collaboration among fields that, while related, are not inherently collaborative.

This article originally appeared in the Harvard Crimson: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/4/24/arts-technology-together-conference/