Coffee & Opening Remarks
Ben Houge — Food Opera
Composer and digital artist Ben Houge has been collaborating with chefs to develop multisensory dining experiences since 2010. These events adapt techniques and technologies from the fields of sound art and video game music to achieve an unprecedented synchronization of music with a meal. Each diner hears a unique soundtrack delivered via a custom speaker array that positions the source of the sound as close as possible to the food itself. Prior collaborators include Jason Bond of Bondir, Tracy Chang of Pagu, Todd Maul of Café ArtScience, Jozef Youssef of Kitchen Theory in London, the St. Paul-based new music ensemble Zeitgeist, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Ben is an associate professor in the Electronic Production and Design department at Berklee College of Music, where this summer he is developing a new course on the aesthetic, technological, and psychological aspects of pairing music with food. More information is available at www.audiogustatory.com.
In designing basic pressure sensors, this lecture/performance explores the relationship between movement and sound, focused particularly on using wearable technology as biofeedback devices for elucidating the nuances of partnered movement including the coordinated shifting and sharing weight.
Dancers: Ilya Vidrin and Riley Watts
Technical Support: Peter Martel
Design I/O / Theo Watson — Immersive Installations and Experimental Tools for Play
As founder of creative studio Design I/O, Theodore develops large scale interactive installations, experimental interfaces and new tools for visualizing the unseen. This talk will go behind the scenes to reveal the process of creating these experiences, the tools and techniques used and the lessons learned along the way.
Ian Howell — Necessary roughness: The special psychoacoustics of singing
The role of the hearing mechanism in defining the sound of a singer is frequently under-explored in the voice pedagogy literature. However, the human senses are physical systems. They have limitations that shape one’s mental image of reality. This mental image of a thing perceived is called a percept. The eye cannot produce a detailed image of a very far or very near object, and sensitivity to touch is not uniform across the entire body. Such limitations change the percept, rather than the objective nature of an object. If the compression wave produced by a voice is a physical phenomenon, one may explore the underlying rules of hearing to ask how the human voice might possibly be perceived. This is another way of asking what sounds the human voice is capable of making.
This may seem like an academic, tree-falling-in-the-woods-esque distinction: that all the richly colored and varied sounds we hear exist as a silent, colorless soup of vibrating air until they are perceived. However, sound waves may be understood as instructions for timbre, not the timbre itself. This means that the human hearing mechanism limits, colors, and in some cases creates aspects of the voice. This presentation will explore and attempt to synthesize three such aural limitations directly relevant to singing: acoustic roughness, the resolvability of harmonics into the pitch, and absolute spectral tone color.
Lunch Provided for Event Registrants
Please note: while every effort was made to provide as broad a set of food options, we cannot guarantee to accommodate all special dietary needs.
Rob Hart — How to make (almost) anything & Unseen Harvard: Elements of Ambience
Rob will discuss and demonstrate examples of projects pursued by students and colleagues in the courses, “How to make (almost) anything” and “Unseen Harvard: Elements of Ambience” and will describe the less formal learning that is going on in the Science Center fabrication shops.
This talk is about games as a design tool. When asked “What is Design?”, Charles and Ray Eames responded, “Design depends largely on contraints.” Constraints are rules, and where there are rules, games are played. We’ll explore competition and collaboration at the scale of individuals, communities, and species, and think about how to design playing fields where everyone realizes a gain by participating.
How does fiction inform fact? What are the social, political and emotional implications of emerging technologies? What are the thresholds between science, speculative design and social critique? This talk explores the relationship between science fiction and science fact.
In this talk, Rune Madsen will present his thoughts on working in the intersection between art, design, and computational systems – and how he considers teaching a vital part of his artistic practice.
Chris Swithinbank — A bunch of string: technology and the place of relation
This talk will present a recent performance piece made by Chris Swithinbank with the musicians Yarn/Wire alongside work by Carolyn Chen, Sivan Cohen Elias, Jenna Lyle, and Sarah Pitan. Common among these performances is the use of string or thread to produce a communal place of relation each with its own characteristic implications, allowing us to consider the role of thread as a deceptively simple technology for intervening in social and material networks.
Let’s make things that help us know each other in new ways, that excite not only our minds but also our bodies. What can make expressiveness more welcoming? We’ll find ways to cope with the overbearing void and the hyperanxiety from online addiction. Sometimes vision and voice are cultivated from the simplest mediums.
Saba is an architectural-urban designer turned education-technology entrepreneur. As Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of NuVu, an innovation school for middle and high school students based in Cambridge, MA, Saba leads the school’s agenda of creativity and experimentation. Students at NuVu collaborate with experts on projects such as 3D printed prosthetics, to occupational therapy toys for kids with CP, to brainwave-generated art. Saba received her Masters in Urban Design at MIT.
Last year Harry Yeff partnered with The Mill and Aurelia Sound to make the world’s first gyroscopic audio, VR music video. Yeff asks: what is purposeful use of technological experimentation within performance? And when does this kind of exploration intelligently amplify the needs and horizons of artists?
Rus Gant — “Black Rock” a VR documentary film about the Burning Man Art Festival
Once a year, participants at the Burning Man Festival come from all over the world to spend a week in a remote American desert to experience magical art, music and a sense of community that exists nowhere else on the planet. Since its founding in the early 1990s the festival has grown from a few hundred to more that 80,000 participants. Rus Gant will talk about his VR 360 film shot over a week at Burning Man called “Black Rock” This project is an ongoing experiment in how to create long-form documentary VR films.
Southworth and Ziporyn talk about their work with musical robots, Van de Graaff generators, and new underwater explorations. Their work with Ensemble Robot and the Museum of Science in the mid 2000s changed conceptions about human performers working with machines. Recently, they’ve been performing immersive works for them, as soloists, with video and electronics, exploring world music traditions, sounds from space, and becoming more involved in environmental art. They will talk about their upcoming project exploring the 9 coral reefs of the American National Park system.
Jeff will demonstrate a variety of experimental museum visualizations and interfaces built with the Harvard Art Museums’ API, IIIF, and machine processing services.
Gavi will bring two in-progress interactive museum data projects, leveraging the Harvard Art Museums’ API to explore aspects of the collection like color and location with sounds and visuals.
Experiment with a whole host of virtual reality applications, including Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush, a device that lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality.
Photograph yourself as a point cloud with the Kinect photo booth, and take a polaroid to go!