In July 2020, fifteen TIMARA majors and other Oberlin students joined TIMARA faculty Aurie Hsu and Technical Director Abby Aresty in attending the virtual New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference ‘together’ remotely, from the comfort of their own homes. NIME is an annual, international conference that brings together artists, musicians, and music technologists from around the world to share their expertise and innovations. The conference began as a workshop hosted at the 2001 Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) conference and has since turned into an annual gathering held at research institutes around the world with different themes highlighted each year. The theme this year was accessibility in NIMEs.
TIMARA students and faculty gathered at the start of the conference to discuss the history of NIME and to share strategies and best practices for conference attendance. TIMARA-specific conference highlights this year included a performance of string song, a piece by Aurie Hsu in collaboration with instrument builder Kyle Hartzell, and the Crafting Sound Workshop: Accessible Interfaces for Education and Creation, co-led by Abby Aresty and Rachel Gibson (’20). Aresty and Gibson shared the STEAM toolkit they created together over the summer with help from members of Aresty’s Crafting Sound Lab, a TIMARA-based undergraduate research group exploring hybrid technologies, multimodal storytelling, and STEAM education.
Over the course of the week, students attended workshops, paper sessions, and performances throughout the week and then debriefed at the end of the week. Asked about the experience, Hsu reflected: “TIMARA made the most of virtual NIME this summer. With workshops, performances, papers, demos, poster sessions, installations, and keynotes from all corners of the music technology and new interfaces design field, we got to interact with scholars, innovators, and artists from all over the world. It was very gratifying to see and hear Oberlin students asking insightful questions and participating in such varied and involved dialogue with our peers in music technology.”