Keynote Speakers

Atau Tanaka

Biography
Atau Tanaka conducts research in embodied musical interaction. This work takes place at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and gestural computer music performance. Atau’s first inspirations came upon meeting John Cage during his Norton Lectures at Harvard and would go to on re-create Cage’s Variations VII with Matt Wand and :zoviet*france: in 2008. In the 1990s he formed Sensorband with Zbigniew Karkowski and Edwin van der Heide and in the Japanoise scene he has played alongside artists like Merzbow, Otomo, KK Null and others. In his research, Atau studies our encounters with sound, be they in music or in the everyday, as a form of phenomenological experience. This includes the use of physiological sensing technologies, notably muscle tension in the electromyogram signal, and machine learning analysis of this complex, organic data. At the other extreme, he studies user experience through ethnographic methods of participatory design where activities of workshopping, scenario building, and structured brainstorming lead an understanding of a mediums affordances in bottom-up, emergent ways. Atau has been Artistic Ambassador at Apple, and researcher at IRCAM and at Sony Computer Science Laboratory. His work has been supported by the European Research Council (ERC). He is professor at Goldsmiths, University of London.

(Photo credit: Pierre Bouvier)

Keynote Abstract

The era of music recorded on physical media is over. While music has become dematerialized, there is an equally strong potential for music to rediscover its embodied, visceral roots. Jacques Attali predicted that society would pass from a use of music in répétition (reproduction) to physically engaged acts of composition. Christopher Small coined the term, musicking to refer to all acts of engagement with music, breaking down the barriers between performer and spectator. The MetaGesture Music project draws upon the complementary research fields of human-computer interaction (HCI), sound studies, and machine learning to create gestural, interactive musical instruments for both musicians and non-musicians alike. We study humans’ corporeal relationship to sound in everyday settings, investigating the affordances that sound have to invite corporeal action, with the human body as the source of musical gesture. We study the source of musical gesture inside the body by using physiological signals, notably the electromyogram. User centred design methods use scenario building and creation of design mock ups. Machine Learning techniques perform recognition and report on expressive variation of musical gestures. We connect gesture to sound to propose new engaging, accessible, challenging interactive musical instruments. This results in forms of embodied musical interaction, interaction with music that are physical, situated, social, and participatory.

MetaGestureMusic Project homepage.

Keynote Abstract

Similar to the delayed development in Malta of most international mainstream and experimental art practices, media art, particularly experimental video has had a latent impression on the Maltese artist’s sensibility, and barring a few exceptions, was largely ignored in Malta up until the middle to late 1990s. The keynote will trace and assess the development of video art and media art in Malta and its state of play in an environment dominated by the broadcast media, with a view to exploring sociological, philosophical and anthropological implications of the historical relationship between media art and society in Malta, bringing it up to its current, fertile proliferation.

Vince Briffa

Biography
Artist, curator and academic, Briffa studied at the University of Leeds and the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. He produces gallery and site-specific artwork, objects and installations integrating traditional artistic practices with digital and electronic media. As an artist, he has represented his country internationally and had his work exhibited in major museums and art galleries worldwide, including the 48th edition of the Venice Biennale (1999). His work forms part of numerous prestigious private and public collections. Briffa has curated numerous exhibitions internationally and published papers and books related to visual arts practice. He is also a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. As an academic, he is the Head of Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta, course director and supervisor for the taught Masters programmes in Digital Arts and doctoral studies in the same area. He is directing research in art practice, particularly in the areas of drawing, mixed reality interaction and three-dimensional and holographic sound. Briffa has been involved in the creative industries for the past thirty-five years and was instrumental in launching computer graphics for television broadcast in Malta in the late 1980s.

www.vincebriffa.com