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<nettime-ann> [event] atc {AT} ucb: jaron lanier, wed sept 21
ken goldberg on Wed, 21 Sep 2005 15:51:55 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> [event] atc {AT} ucb: jaron lanier, wed sept 21

The Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium
of UC Berkeley's Center for New Media Presents:

Can Soulful Music Survive Digital Epistemology?
        Jaron Lanier, Artist and Musician, Berkeley
*Wed*, 21 Sept, 7:30-9pm: UC Berkeley, 160 Kroeber Hall
All ATC Lectures are free and open to the public.

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Robert Moog.

Lanier feels that many people have the wrong idea about "Digital
Information" and how to use it, and that a tough reassessment of
computation could get us unstuck so we can have new musical styles and
be soulful again.According to Lanier, pop music in America is in a
bizarre state. This
is the first time since electrification that a new musical style
hasn't appeared with a new generation.  Hip Hop, weird attitude rock,
and so on, are in many cases the music of the grandparents of today's
undergraduates. Meanwhile, the term "Soulful" has been applied to
music more frequently since the rise of digital metaphors and
computational challenges to the very idea of "Soul."  "Soulful" music
is typically pre-digital, with old blues recordings being the
canonical examples; New music described as "Soulful" is usually
nostalgic. Making everything fungible gradually reduces the
differences between things. This is what happens when all music is
digitized, easily available, and remixable.  Shouldn't ideas,
including musical ideas, be anti-entropic?  Is remixing enough?

Digital objects have more explicit boundaries than other objects.  Do
we have enough self-knowledge to know where the boundaries of music
are?  A clarinet is made of matter but a computer is made of ideas,
and ideas might never be good enough for music making.  Do computers
confine us to eternally re-digesting the ideas of programmers, even
when we are the programmers? Definitions of music and personhood tend
to gain and lose transcendental components together. Does attitude
about "Soulfulness" matter?  His talk will include brief musical
examples and performances.


Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and
author.  Lanier's name is often associated with Virtual Reality (he is
credited with coining the term).  Lanier served as the Lead Scientist
of the National Tele-immersion Initiative, a coalition of research
universities studying advanced applications for Internet 2.  Lanier is
currently an External Fellow at Berkeley's International Computer
Science Institute and is visiting faculty at at Dartmouth, UPenn,
Columbia, and at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University
(where he is a visiting artist).

As a musician, Lanier has been active in the world of new "classical"
music since the late seventies. He is a pianist and a specialist in
unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string
instruments of Asia.  Lanier has performed with artists as diverse as
Philip Glass, Ornette Coleman, George Clinton, Vernon Reid, Terry
Riley, Duncan Sheik, Pauline Oliveros, and Stanley Jordan.  He also
writes chamber and orchestral music, including an opera that will
premier in South Korea.  Lanier has also pioneered the use of Virtual
Reality in musical stage performance with his band Chromatophoria,
which has toured around the world as a headline act in venues such as
the Montreux Jazz Festival. He plays virtual instruments and uses real
instruments to guide events in virtual worlds.

For more information see:  http://www.jaronlanier.com


ATC Primary Sponsors: UC Berkeley Center for New Media (CNM) and
Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS)

Additional ATC Sponsors: Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and
Provost, College of Engineering Interdisciplinary Studies Program,
Consortium for the Arts, BAM/PFA, and the Townsend Center for the

ATC Director: Ken Goldberg
ATC Associate Director: Greg Niemeyer 
ATC Assistant: Irene Chien
Curated with ATC Advisory Board
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