This past weekend, I made the trip down to Atlanta for the ACM Creativity and Cognition conference at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, and it was a great experience. My project, RhythmSynthesis, was an accepted artwork, and I was also selected to speak on the Creativity and Technology: Control/Improvisation panel.
Along with a couple hundred computer scientists, engineers, psychologists, designers, and artists from around the world as well as a number of my fellow Parsons MFA DT graduates, including Haeyoung Kim, Julynn Benedetti, Ramsey Nasser, and Matt Ruby, the topic of creativity and technology was fully explored, from improvisation in sound to the analysis of dynamic narrative and creativity systems.
Moderated by Bryan Pardo, I shared the Creativity and Technology panel with Haeyoung, Sang Won Lee, and Brian Magerko. After we each gave presentations on our work, one of the interesting questions we received was about different approaches to improvisation. Both Brian and I referenced John Coltrane as an example of someone who used the spectrum of improvisation (not one, single approach but many methods from free to rehearsed/controlled improv).
I was also part of the Art Performances in the High Museum Auditorium, which was the first opportunity for me to use my instrument in a large audience context. Not since The Mugs have I felt that great performing. The crowd reaction was joyous, and it felt so amazing to perform again. After finishing my performance, I invited audience members to come up on stage to collaborate on their own piece. I had expected it to be difficult to coax the audience up on stage, but a number of people from throughout the audience rushed the stage. I unfortunately don’t have a full recording of the performance, but I do have clips here:
Both Atau Tanaka and Sara Diamond gave inspiring keynote talks. Tanaka discussed the role of creative interfaces in sound and composition, while Diamond reviewed data visualization and the changing role of the artist/designer. Three projects that Tanaka discussed that show his amazing creative range were his Net_Dérive, Global String, and Chip Tune Marching Band. Seeing that work encourages me to continue my own investigations.
The Georgia Tech students and faculty as well as many other outside parties (such as Fox Harrell) put on an amazing conference, and I look forward to submitting work and attending the next one. Photos and videos are also posted at rjraffa flickr and Ramsey’s flickr.