Monday, 10 August

10:00 Keynote, Cheever Hall

Picturing Sound (and First Contact) — Carla Scaletti

11:30 Morning Session, Cheever Hall

Kyma: Creative environment for musical interface design — Kiyoung Lee

Creation of musical instrument/controller with Kyma’s inspirational environment. Monome and Soundplane act as input/display devices for the projects. The presentation includes three main topics: the concept of instrument design, bi-directional OSC to communicate between the Monome and Kyma, and synthesis of sound.

To Heaven — Mei-ling Lee

This piece is dedicated to the memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary School children.

The piece has three sections, each of them conveying a similar idea. In the first section, the names of the children are floating in the air. The second section’s lyric is based on the poem “Cradle Song”, a lullaby by the 17th century dramatist Thomas Dekker. Though 400 years old, the poem may seem familiar from its use in a song by the Beatles. The last section is a traditional Taiwanese lullaby, depicting a mother swinging her baby to sleep.

To Heaven was created live with real-time processed sound. The only pre-recorded sounds were the names of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

14:00 Afternoon Session I, Cheever Hall

Rhetorical figures, sonifications and elements of Programmusik in live sound tracks for silent movies — Franz Danksagmüller

Since I was a child I used to improvise to stories and pictures on the piano and on the organ. Later I started to improvise to silent films (solo and with other musicians). I’m fascinated by Sergej Eisenstein’s thought that each period will make it´s own soundtrack to his films.

Searching for suitable elements for the music I not only analysed works of the genre Programmmusik but also studied medieval modes and baroque rhetorical figures. I also used visual elements of the films to structure the soundtrack.

When playing with other musicians some improvisation sketches are necessary. It´s thrilling to find the right balance between just enough notation and too much fixation. My talk also includes my experiences with my latest projects of this kind – we muted the soundtrack of finalised films and re-did all the sound (music, sound design, voice) live.

15:30 Afternoon Session II, Cheever Hall

NOPera and Tiger & Dragon: Thoughts on composing for Kyma and traditional instruments — Simon Hutchinson

Kyma offers a broad range of possibilities for live performance, including integrating traditional acoustic instruments into hybrid electronic works. This integration leads the composer to interesting new decisions about notation, musical coordination, and compositional control. In this talk, I share some of my thoughts and experiences from my last 5 years of composing interactive works for Kyma and traditional instruments, giving specific examples from my KISS2014 work, NOPera, and my KISS2015 work, Tiger & Dragon.

What do you MEAN? A journey in visual and auditory symbolism — İlker Işıkyakar & E. Zoe Schutzman

We are buried within ourselves; we send out signals, gestures and sounds indefinitely.
            —Michel Serres, The Parasite

The very existence of Language is proof of the human being’s need to communicate. The graphic (visual) representation is more often than not an attempt at pinning it down, whereas the spoken (auditory) tends to take place in the moment. These image-sound-meaning units that make up language are far from static. Language is a living thing, with a beginning, middle and end, or in other words… It is born, flourishes and eventually may die or become something else. Is it possible to harness this evolution via graphic pictures governed by structural configurations? Human beings, with the languages that they create and imbue with their respective visual and auditory essences, look to communicate and, in so doing, hope for understanding.

In our presentation we shall elucidate our unfolding journey with the above ideas as we have come to experience and ponder them in time, and provide a glimpse of our multi-layered synesthetic-driven composition which serves to embody the ideas presented. It is a story that unfolds between two characters wherein words and images trigger communicative processes.

17:00 Concert, Black Box Theatre

#Carbonfeed (45.676998, -111.042934) — Jon Bellona. Jon Bellona, Kyma; SoundProof

With the advent of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, humans have increased their production of digital content. Even simple online interactions generate carbon emissions; a Google search has been estimated to generate 0.2 grams of CO2. To keep pace with growing online media, there is an increasing dependence upon data centers, which now account for 2% of the US’s electricity consumption.

#CarbonFeed directly challenges the popular notion that virtuality is disconnected from reality. Through sonifying Twitter feeds and correlating individual tweets with a data visualization, #Carbonfeed invites viewers to hear and see the environmental cost of online behavior and its supportive physical infrastructure.

During the performance, you, the audience may choose to participate by tweeting #carbonfeed or #kiss2015. Each tweet will add to the sonic world of the piece while simultaneously emitting 0.02g/C02e. For a bibliography of facts cited in this program note, or to learn more about the project, please visit

Natural Perturbations — John Mantegna & Ingrid Pfau. John Mantegna, brainwaves, guitar & Kyma; Ingrid Pfau, video

This film was created in response to a classical guitar piece by the composer. During this performance, the music is perturbed by the viewer’s brainwaves in real-time using an Emotiv “EEG neuroheadset” controlling Kyma.

The film responds to the tone of the music . The tension of rhythm inspires the aesthetic of images flowing in and out of the viewers eyes. Nature meets the skin of humans as the film goes on, and in the end, ripples of water and thoughts take over.

The unusual sequence of music before film was proposed by the filmmaker and embraced by the composer. One can think of this approach as a chain of responses: the filmmaker responds to the composer’s music, then the composer responds to the film via brainwaves.

Syzygy: Life in a Healthy Constellation — Kiyoung Lee & Kathy Kasic. Kiyoung Lee, Kyma; Ha-Young Park, piano; Kathy Kasic, video

Syzygy is a gravitational interaction that is meaningful to the one who seeks and observes at the right moment. Such phenomenon happens not only in the night sky but also in our lives and surroundings.

We search for a maximum internal coherence to get to the closest possible fit to nature, for the new image of life in a healthy constellation. — From “Road Wide” by Native American poet Henry Real Bird

the secret life of burton — Marinos Giannoukakis. Marinos Giannoukakis, Kyma

the secret life of Burton is part of an anthology of real time narratives named “X short stories”, investigating different aspects of narrative construction in multimodal environments, based on an approach named by the artist as “transconsistent composition”.

The objective of the anthology is to present loads, different, short stories, fragmented from a ‘whole’ generic idea that could be found in the anthology, and observe how these short stories could essentially be combined to form larger, more complex narratives that shed light to different aspects of the central idea. The work is presented in a virtual environment a fused virtual space, visual and sound environment, between a game engine and Kyma as one expressive performance and story-telling instrument. The audio events are controlled by actions in the virtual environment while audio feature extraction is used in the audio output to control the narrative in the virtual world.

Slow Glass Rush — Mark Phillips & Theo Lipfert. Mark Phillips, Kyma; SoundProof; Theo Lipfert, video

Slow Glass Rush is a collaborative music film that explores life in an imagined future. In this alternate reality life is refracted through “slow glass,” a material that dramatically slows the passage of light by months or even years. With economic and ecological collapse on the horizon, the use of slow glass has become a source of conflict between those who hope to preserve memories and visions of the past and their opponents who want to face societal problems directly. This music and film piece envisions the clash as it colors the daily life of a young couple who seek beauty while struggling with basic survival.


Biographies of Presenters and Performers