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Robin Meier, Ali Momeni and the sound of insects

ants.jpgSwiss acoustic artist Robin Meier and Ali Momeni manipulate the sounds of insects and birds to create ethereal soundscapes. Read an interview with him about his mosquito-inspired musical installation Truce recently aired in the French city of Nantes. Meier talks about firefly synchrony and setting up feedback loops in nature.

From the interview:

Why did you choose to work with mosquitoes?

Male mosquitoes serenade potential mates with a ‘love song’ by vibrating their wings. They synchronize their wingbeats with those of the females to mate in mid-air.The constant glissandi — gliding from one pitch to another — and ‘tuning in’ of mosquito wingbeats reminded me of dhrupad, an ancient form of Indian classical music often sung by brothers in unison. My collaborator Ali Momeni and I played male mosquitoes some dhrupad and, sure enough, they tuned in.


Jan 31, 2012
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Interview: Adam Nash

adam3.jpgAdam Nash is a new media artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer. He works primarily in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live audiovisual performance spaces. His sound/composition and performance background strongly informs his approach to creating works for virtual environments, embracing sound, time and the user as elements equal in importance to vision. Adam’s work has been presented in galleries, festivals and online in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas, including SIGGRAPH, ISEA, and the Venice Biennale. He also works as composer and sound artist with “Company in Space” (AU) and “Igloo” (UK), exploring the integration of motion capture into real-time 3D audiovisual spaces. He is currently undertaking a Master of Arts by Research at the “Centre for Animation and Interactive Media” at RMIT University, Melbourne, researching multi-user 3D cyberspace as a live performance medium; and he’s a Lecturer in “Computer Games and Digital Art” in the School of Creative Media at RMIT University. Continue reading


Jul 13, 2009
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Interview: Natasha Barrett

Natasha BarrettNatasha Barrett is a freelance composer, performer, and installation artist. The composition and manipulation of space is a central element in much of her work, and it is the focus of this interview. Barrett completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Birmingham, where she studied with Jonty Harrison and became practiced in the art of live sound diffusion using Birmingham’s renowned BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre) system. She completed a Doctoral degree in composition at City University in London in 1998, studying with Denis Smalley. Her body of work includes large architectural installations, electroacoustic concert pieces, works for instruments and performers, and live improvisation. Barrett’s works have won international acclaim and numerous awards, including the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2006, a first prize at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (1998 and 2001), and most recently, a commission from the 2008 Giga-Hertz Award. Barrett was born in the UK, but currently lives in Oslo, Norway. She has released numerous CDs, available through her website. Continue reading


Apr 19, 2009
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Interview: Jeff Talman

Jeff Talman - Photo by Ginger MarleyJeff Talman’s sound installations focus on notions of “self-reflexive resonance”, often using no other sound source than the natural ambient resonance of the installation site. His works also have a strong visual component, owing to his dual backgrounds in music and the visual arts. His latest work, “A Play of Flows” premiers on October 23, 2008 at the Galleria Mazzini in Genoa, Italy. Talman was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Sound Art in 2006 and was a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Award in Computer Arts in 2003. He currently resides in Manhattan.

Due to the nature of his pieces, Talman does not provide sound samples on his website – the pieces are simply too site-specific to experience in any other way than first-hand. As such, we will only be providing photos and discussion with this interview.

Peter Traub: Before you began creating sound installations in the mid 1990s, you were a more ‘traditional’ computer music composer and musician. Could you discuss how you made the transition into sound installation work? Was there a particular experience of a space or place that pushed you in this new direction? Continue reading


Aug 19, 2008
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Interview: Karen Van Lengen

Karen Van LengenKaren Van Lengen is the Edward E. Elson Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. She is also the former Chair of Architecture at the Parsons School of Design.

Van Lengen’s current work focuses on the use of sound as a significant design component. Her designs mix environmental sounds into public and private space, often taking sounds from one space and playing or mixing them into another. Her most recent project is a collaboration with Joel Sanders Architects to create a sound installation within the newly renovated Campbell Hall, home to the UVA School of Architecture.

Peter Traub: Your 2003 paper co-authored with Ted Sheridan, “Hearing Architecture: Exploring and Designing the Aural Environment”, argues for a greater emphasis on sound and aurality as elements of modern architectural design. When and how did you become interested in sound and “designing the aural environment”? Continue reading


May 29, 2008
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Interview: Stephen Vitiello

vitiello_photo_s.jpgStephen Vitiello creates sound installations that often feature pristine recordings of natural environments and phenomena – the Amazon rain forest or flapping moth wings for example– sonically magnified to expose their internal detail and beauty. His installation work also focuses heavily on the use and implications of space as a compositional parameter. Vitiello has released several CDs and his work has been performed at The Tate Modern, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Kitchen, NYC. His work was also featured in the 2006 Biennale of Sydney and the 2002 Whitney Biennial. He is currently Assistant Professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University.

On September 21, 2007, Vitiello visited the University of Virginia. We sat and discussed his work for an hour in the university’s Jefferson Rotunda. The recording and transcript of that interview is presented below. Continue reading


Mar 16, 2008
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Interview: Golan Levin

307275574_f679e27c5d_m.jpgGolan Levin is an artist/engineer interested in the exploration of new modes of reactive expression. His work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into formal languages of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. Through performances, digital artifacts, and virtual environments, Levin applies creative twists to digital technologies that highlight our relationship with machines, make visible our ways of interacting with each other, and explore the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity. Presently he is Associate Professor of Electronic Art at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Continue reading


Jan 31, 2008
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Interview: Bill Fontana

curr-interview-fontana_portrait1.jpgBill Fontana has been creating musical networks and making “sound sculptures” since the early 1970s. His works are usually large in scale and often involve the transmission of sounds from one ‘listening’ location with a network of microphones and/or sensors to another location where the sounds are overlayed onto the local sonic environment. Fontana’s work focuses strongly on the idea of listening as a compositional act – that is, it is driven by the idea that music surrounds us constantly and that the patterns of music are audible if we just take the time to listen. Examples and excerpts of many of Fontana’s works can be heard and seen at his website, resoundings.org.

Bill Fontana will be answering reader’s questions in the comments section below until December 6, 2007. Continue reading


Nov 1, 2007
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Interview: Cardiff + Miller

cardiffmiller.jpgJanet Cardiff and George Bures Miller create multimedia pieces that combine aspects of sculpture, cinema, sound installation, and short-story fiction. Installations such as ‘The Paradise Institute’ (2001) use forced perspective and a three-dimensional sound track to create the illusion that one is sitting in a large theater. Their ‘sound walks’ and ‘video walks’ are immersive pieces that use common consumer technologies, such as iPods and video cameras, to create experiences that blur the line between experienced reality and narrative fiction. Their works are exhibited internationally and they currently have a solo exhibit ‘The Killing Machine and other stories’ that will arrive at the Miami Art Museum on Oct. 15, 2007.

Due to Janet and George’s busy schedule, they will not be able to answer reader’s questions in the comments section following the interview. Continue reading


Sep 20, 2007
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Interview: Max Neuhaus

max-neuhaus.jpgMax Neuhaus is a pioneer of artistic activities with sound. Utilizing the sense of sound he developed in fourteen years as a musician, Neuhaus began to make sound works which were neither music nor events. He coined the term ‘sound installation’ to describe them. In these works without beginning or end, the sounds were placed in space rather than in time.

Neuhaus continued his activities in music with his Networks or Broadcast Works, virtual architectures which act as forums open to anyone for the evolution of new musics. In the first, “Public Supply”, in 1966, he combined a radio station with the telephone network and created a two-way public aural space twenty miles in diameter encompassing New York City, where any inhabitant could join a live dialogue with sound by making a phone call. Later in 1977 with “Radio Net”, he formed a nationwide network with 190 radio stations. To listen to selections from ‘Public Supply” and “Radio Net”, click here. Neuhaus’ current project, “Auracle”, constructs a twenty-four hour a day global entity for live interaction with sound over the Internet. Continue reading


Aug 20, 2007
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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