Berlin-based artist and TIMARA alum Benjamin Bacon ’11 is back in town to share a three-part workshop series, Gestural Cartography: Designing New Notations, with the TIMARA community. Bacon’s work currently focuses on the creative application of information design techniques in music composition, choreography, and instrumental performance. He has presented his creative work and research at various institutions across the globe such as IRCAM, EMS Stockholm, CIRMMT, and STEIM in Amsterdam. Benjamin is an associate researcher of the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab at McGill University as well as program lead of the Electronic Music Production and Performance department at the Catalyst Institute for Creative Arts and Technology in Berlin.

In this workshop series participants will explore how framing notation as a design problem can open up the door to a wide array of interdisciplinary tools for composition and even choreography. Lessons from fields such as information design, human computer interaction, gestural analysis, and multisensory perception offer pathways for creative exploration and the development of new techniques for visually representing a composition. While the workshops are structured to support each other, participants are invited to attend any combination of sessions.

The first workshop, held on Wednesday, November 3rd, afforded participants the opportunity to evaluate the challenges posed to traditional music notation by complex timbres, electronic instruments, and human perception and to consider the graphical limits of accurately representing how something should sound. First year TIMARA major Penina Biddle-Gottesman attended the first workshop and shared that she “learned an entirely new way to think about creating scores from a choreographic standpoint. It was engaging and inspiring!”

If you missed the first workshop, don’t fret! You still have two more opportunities to learn from Bacon’s work over the next two weeks. Find more information and sign up below!

Workshop 2: Information Design for the Creative Practitioner – Friday, November 12, 4:00-5:30pm: On a daily basis, we read from and interact with numerous information graphic schemes; from weather maps to instructional diagrams and health charts. How can we deconstruct these graphical tools and repurpose them for musical and choreographic composition?

Workshop 3: Mapping Gesture – Thursday, November 18, 7:00-8:30pm: In music technology, the act of connecting user interaction to expressive sounds is a key design process which threads the needle between art and engineering. As a result, various analytical frameworks for mapping gestures to technology have been developed. Can these same tools be used to develop new notations?