A new art form is evolving that engages sonic art, modern media, technology and quite possibly, you!  Sonic art is not necessarily just music.  It incorporates all types of sounds, musical and environmental, to create meaningful works of art.  Traditional approaches have included: real time digital manipulation of sound, sound installation and sonic sculpture, electroacoustic compositions and audio synthesis comprising ambient music, loops, noise composition, soundtracks for video, minimalism, structuralism, and silence.  Things are about to evolve as the art form branches out to include live, significant audience participation.

Jesse Allison, LSU assistant professor of experimental music and digital media in the School of Music and Center for Computation & Technology, was awarded $30,162 from the Board of Regents for his project, "Perception--a Sonic Art & Media Concert Utilizing Distributed Performance Systems." This project will aid in the development of software tools to enable distributed composition and performance systems and to disseminate the tools created to make the work possible through open source code for the global arts community.

"This is not simply an experimental music project (which would be viable in itself), but something much more profound," said Allison.  "Previous Web based art leans toward large scale data visualization/auralization, which the internet is known for. Distributed performance art has been fairly limited in scope with the most advanced efforts falling into virtual world environments--a notoriously limiting environment to program in. Through the efforts of this project, a new distributed/collaborative form of art is just beginning to take shape."

With the development of the new software, Allison will compose "Perception," a large scale media work encompassing live performance from both the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana and audience participation through mobile devices. The work will be premiered at the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to help establish Baton Rouge as a center for groundbreaking art.

"Perception" will be a concert length collaborative creation between a trained ensemble and the audience exploring human perception including cognition and the experience of time, through the lens of sonic art. A real-time performance instrument will distribute small parts of its interface to anyone who logs into the Website. Audience performers will be able to make significant contributions to the work, both through traditional Web methods like submitting words and phrases to be immediately incorporated into the sonic environment, to newly developed tools allowing direct triggering of sonic and video events and manipulation of sonic parameters.

"This work represents a significant development in art--a real-time, collaborative performance that is feasible, engaging, and accessible technologically. Distributed performance is severely handicapped by the fragmentation of computer technology into platforms that are rarely compatible. Compound this by the difficulty of distributing an interface to many parties at great distances and coordinating their various responses and you have our current situation--a form of art that is difficult to do anything beyond insipidly simple and explorable by a privileged few. The innovations contained in this project will move a substantial number of experimental artists past this barrier," said Allison.

Jesse Allison received his D.M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is co-founder of Electrotap LLC, an innovative firm developing tools for electronic art.  His position at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology enables him to explore the evolving relationship between technology and music and pursue new avenues for artistic and sonic expression.

For more information on Allison and this project, visit:  http://avatar.lsu.edu.

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