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Crafting Sound Concert and Panel Discussion
May 28, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 9:15 pm EDT
In the Crafting Sound concert and panel discussion, we will turn a critical eye towards the technologies of sound, examining unspoken and unquestioned value systems inherent in these technologies. The program features artists who reclaim creative agency in their practice through intentional design of bespoke hybrid instruments and technologies, exploring how handicraft and technologies can engage new audiences and transform creative sound-making practices.
Kimsa (2021) — Patricia Cadavid (b. 1990)
Music for Bodyspace (2019) — Jess Rowland (b. 1971)
Punch Embroidery Study (2020) — Sam Topley (b. 1988)
RAVEL (2019) — Asha Tamirisa ’10 (b. 1998)
Hums, Beeps and Squeaks (2021) — Afroditi Psarra (b. 1982)
Please refrain from unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this performance.
Program Notes & Biographies
Punch Embroidery Study by Sam Topley
The Punch Embroidery Study is a short video, documenting Topley’s exploration of a handcrafted textile interface.
The textile piece is made using the punch needle technique, where a sharp pen-like tool is used to push yarn through fabric. Conductive thread is blended with brightly coloured yarn, creating a soft, but densely textured, interactive textile piece. The interface is positioned next to a ‘yarnbombed’ loudspeaker.
This handmade textile interface responds to touch to generate musical material. Simple gestures excite the sounds, creating rich and evolving textures.
The Punch Embroidery Study is a part of a larger body of work, investigating a craft-focused approach to making electronic musical instruments and sound art work.
Sam Topley is a sound artist and educator from Leicester (England, UK). She works with textiles to create handmade electronic musical instruments and interactive sound art work. Her work includes giant pompom musical instruments, knitted or ‘yarnbombed’ loudspeakers, and electronic musical instruments with e-textile interfaces.
Sam’s craft-focused projects are designed to be playful, engaging and accessible. She explores ideas in ‘craftivism’, considering how DIY textile handcrafts can be used to engage audiences with alternative and experimental ideas in music making.
Topley shares her work internationally through performances, exhibitions, workshops, and presentations. Her work has received recognition and awards: AHRC Cultural Engagement Award 2019; BBC micro:bit Featured Artist 2019; Dubai Maker Faire Featured Project Award 2019; Best Paper and Best Workshop prizes at New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2016 and 2020; and features in Nicolas Collins’ Handmade Electronic Music (3rd Edition).
Sam is a doctoral candidate at the Music, Technology and Innovation – Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2), De Montfort University, where she also lectures in experimental music, creative music technology, and community arts practice. Her PhD is co-supervised by Nottingham Trent University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership).
social media: @samtopley
Kimsa by Patricia Cadavid
Kimsa (three in Quechua language) is one of the four parts of “Tawa” a sound composition released in January 2021.
This sound composition encoded in the knots of a contemporary Electronic_Khipu_ (an instrument inspired on The Andean Khipu, is an ancient textile computer) is embraced with textures that reminisce about the Andes from a prepared charango and immersive rhythms that bring back the present moment. A sound Abstraction knots the past with the present, creating the balance to face the future.
Patricia Cadavid is an immigrant, artist, and researcher, born in Colombia. In her work, she looks at the relationships and effects of coloniality in new media from the migratory experience and decolonial & anticolonial thinking.
She is currently working on the vindication of the memory contained in the ancestral interfaces of the Andes taken away by colonization, and their connections with art and science reusing them in new artistic processes related to video, NIMEs, tangible live coding, sound, and multimedia performance.
Student at the Interface Culture Lab (Kunstuniversität Linz), she received her BFA from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha and her MFA from the Universitat Politècnica de València, Visual arts & multimedia program. Her work has been exhibited in different festivals as Ars Electronica (Austria), ADAF (Greece), or the NIME conference as well as in several spaces in Mexico, Spain, Germany, and Colombia.
Music for Bodyspace by Jess Rowland
Music for Bodyspace is a spatialized sound piece for the human body. It uses audio wearables in the form of necklace, earrings, and a bracelet to form a four-channel composition. Each wearable is a Bluetooth controlled remote one-channel speaker. The piece is controlled remotely by Max MSP. The music itself could be thought of as “sound perfume” or a “subtle body”.
Jess Rowland is a sound artist, musician, and composer, and a 2018-20 Princeton Arts Fellow. Much of her work explores the relationship between technologies and popular culture, continually aiming to reconcile the world of art and the world of science. In addition to an active art practice, she teaches sound art at Princeton University and The School of Visual Arts in New York and continues to present her work internationally.
RAVEL by Asha Tamirisa
RAVEL is a multimedia performance motivated by the interrelated yet often obfuscated connections between textiles and sound and image technologies. The performance highlights the processes of spinning and weaving and uses the textile as a metaphor for the construction of history.
Asha Tamirisa (she/her/hers) works with sound, video, film, and researches media histories. Along with many colleagues, Asha co-founded OPENSIGNAL, a collective of artists concerned with the state of gender and race in electronic music and art practice. She now works with the organization TECHNE (technesound.org). Asha has taught sound and media production at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Girls Rock! Rhode Island, and Street Level Youth Media in Chicago. In 2019, she received Ph.D. in Computer Music and Multimedia and an M.A. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. Asha lives and works in Portland, ME and is currently an Assistant Professor at Bates College.
Hums, Beeps and Squeaks by Afroditi Psarra
Hums, Beeps and Squeaks features the Lilytronica instruments, which is a project inspired by folk tradition, pop culture and DIY electronics, utilizing hand-made electronic embroidery in the context of experimental sound performance. The work is based on live improvisation through the use of three embroidered synthesizers with LilyPad Arduino micro controllers, sensors and actuators embedded into fabric. The primitive digital quality of the square-wave sounds, and the fragile and glitch-prone nature of the electronic embroideries, reference the DIY character of e-textile experimentation. The intrinsic aspect of this work is the contradiction created between the “soft” interfaces of the embroidered instruments and the loud and immersive soundscape that they produce.
Afroditi Psarra (GR/US) is a transdisciplinary artist and an Assistant Professor of Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the art and science interaction with a critical discourse in the creation of artifacts. She is interested in the use of the body as an interface of control, and the revitalization of tradition as a methodology of hacking existing norms about technical objects. She uses cyber crafts and other gendered practices as speculative strings, and open-source technologies as educational models of diffusing knowledge. She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her dissertation entitled Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merging of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process.
Her work has been presented at international media arts festivals such as Ars Electronica, Transmediale and CTM, ISEA, Eyeo, Amber, Piksel and WRO Biennale between others, museums like BOZAR, EMST and the Walker Art Center, and published at conferences like Siggraph, ISWC (International Symposium of Wearable Computers) and EVA (Electronic Visualization and the Arts). She has worked on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She recently won the Bergstrom Award for Art and Science for the collaborative project Listening Space with Audrey Briot, and a Mellon Foundation Faculty Fellowship in the Arts for the collaborative research project Everyday Voices & Voids: Reclaiming our Data as Performance. She lives and works in Seattle, Washington.