Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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sonicSENSE (Spring 2010 - Winter 2011)

sonicSENSE is a collaborative interactive extensible and expandable platform created by Jennifer Parker and Barney Haynes for artists, musicians, and scientists to develop and exhibit information through the sonification and visualization of data. It is a meeting place for art, culture, new technologies, digital media and participation. SonicSENSE uses the creative diversity of computational media and traditional visual art practices to cultivate space for sharing, questioning, and exploring cross-disciplinary frameworks, methodologies and experiences.


Each exhibition of the platform is a new iteration consisting of a complex series of robotic sound sculptures and video projections that employ the viewer’s vital signs and breath as one of the interface systems. This interactivity intermittently produces a wide range of audioscapes, data projections and mechanical noises that build collect and distribute media into the exhibition space. The number of interactions with the sculptural nodes increases collectively with the number of components, allowing for many new and subtle types of behavior to emerge.


sonicSENSE is currently working with graduate students in the Digital Arts New Media program at the University of California Santa Cruz. This Mechatronics lab will expand the platform physically and programmatically to prepare it for the next exhibition. We are most interested in created "open source hardware" that is both expandable and extensible. Ultimately, the final platform will be the result of our initial inquiry that forms an umbrella over these events – “How can the exploration of new media, as a complex multidimensional medium situated in both physical and virtual space, be communally interactive?"


Participating universities, galleries and institutions include University of California Santa Cruz; California College of the Arts in Oakland/San Francisco, CA; University of California Santa Barbara; Galerie Califia in Horazdovice, South Bohemia; Školská 28 Galerie; and the Insitutue of Intermedia in Prague, Czech Republic. The goal of this project is to forge dynamic ongoing relations that link artists, faculty, students, and viewers in dialogue through the creation of artworks that use interconnective systems of reactive interfaces both physical and virtual.