MISC Talk: Michael Gurevich

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

The Michigan Interactive and Social Computing research group connects researchers studying human-computer interaction, social computing, and computer-supported cooperative work across the University of Michigan.

The Social Construction of New Digital Musical Instruments


This talk situates the practice of designing digital musical instruments with respect to models of musical-social interaction. I argue that the conventional composer-performer-listener model, and the underlying metaphor of music-as-communication upon which it relies, cannot reflect the richness of interaction and possibility afforded by digital technologies. Building on Paul Lansky’s vision of an expanded and dynamic social network, I present an alternative, ecological view of music-making, in which the opportunities for creation, design, and the production of meaning emerge from the inherent uncertainty in the interfaces that mediate musical-social interactions. However, the increased potential afforded by digital systems is undermined by our tendency to treat digital musical instrument design as a form of invention, wherein the various roles in this network are collapsed into a single individual. Using examples from my own practice, I describe approaches to designing instruments that respond to the technologies that form the interfaces of the network, which can include scores and stylistic conventions.

Speaker Bio: Michael Gurevich is Associate Professor and Chair of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he teaches courses in physical computing, electronic music performance, and interdisciplinary collaboration. His research employs quantitative, qualitative, humanistic, and practice-based methods to explore the aesthetic and interactional possibilities that can emerge in music performance with computer systems. Prior to the University of Michigan, Professor Gurevich was a Lecturer at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, and a research scientist at the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore. He holds a B.M. from McGill University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford. He is an active author and editor in the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), computer music, and human-computer interaction communities, was Music Chair for the 2012 NIME conference in Ann Arbor, and is a Vice-President of the International Computer Music Association.