Proyectos en Residencia 2021-2022 Proyectos en Residencia 2021-2022

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Justin Kennedy in short residency to work with Eyeharp technology

Justin Kennedy in short residency to work with Eyeharp technology

One week residency to work on a system to control analogue synths with eye-tracking technology.

08.02.2022

 

Accessible Routes is a research project exploring control possibilities of existing audio hardware and analog equipment through the use of face- and eye-tracking software. Thoughtful cable routing and custom digital patches enable hands-free manipulation of sound-making studio devices. Hand-operated gear become face- and eye-operated.

This project implements FaceOSC. It also integrates the EyeHarp gaze-controlled music interface. Other standard data protocols and synthesizer control methods such as MIDI, OSC, UDP, and control voltage are leveraged.

Two natural question arise. Why use hardware? Why not stick with software exclusively? While using software emulations of cutting-edge gear and vintage analog units is practical, a special interconnectivity between the user and machine can emerge when operating real devices. This project presents a hypothesis, arguing that an especially deep connection with electronic sound can be felt by the performer, producer, and audience when a face or a set of eyes moves a component on a physical controller, such as a motorized fader. This enriches the sonic embodiment since the music is given a visible three-dimensional form. Music hardware and sound itself are three-dimensional. Screens are two-dimensional. 

During his one-week Phonos residency in February 2022, Justin Leo Kennedy will compose music for analog synthesizers. The morphology of the sound synthesis and the levels of the motorized mixer will be controlled entirely hands-free through the techniques explained above. Video documentation featuring Justin and an EyeHarp student will be also registered during this one-week residency period.

The ultimate aim of this research project is to find ideas and solutions that make accessible control of music hardware more ubiquitous and immersive. Many great developments in the field of accessible music technology have been made. The goal is for Accessible Routes to positively contribute to this effort.

Justin Leo Kennedy is a composer and sound artist specializing in electronic music. He is Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Western Carolina University, where he's also Director of the WCU Music Technology Ensemble (Velocitties). Dr. Kennedy has been invited to show his work at the Spoleto Festival (Italy), ISEA (Hong Kong), SEAMUS (Georgia), MUSLAB (Mexico), and more. His music has been heard at venues such as Disneyland, Hamburger Sprechwerk (Germany), and the Naru Arts Center (South Korea). 
 
Justin's pieces for electronics and Mongolian-inspired vocalizations have earned him a selection as an Alternate for the Fulbright Fellowship, a Title VIII Fellowship, and Ventura's Endowment for the Arts. He holds composition degrees from Chicago College of Performing Arts (B.M.), CSU Long Beach (M.M.), and Arizona State University (D.M.A.). 

Before academia, Justin worked full-time in the commercial market as Creative Director at Baltu Technologies, where he composed music for games, did sound design for VR applications, and programmed interactive media installations. His current research focus explores accessible hardware capabilities for electronic music creation and audio production.

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