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Alexander Sigman: alarm/will/sound: A multidisciplinary research/installation project

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  • Seminar
When Jan 27, 2014
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where A-832, New Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke Street West.
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To date, the audio and interface design for many components of vehicles—e.g., the sound system, engine, exhaust system, horn—have received significant attention. However, there is little variation from one automobile security system to the next in sound vocabulary and triggering mechanism design. Why is this the case? What is the essential function of the alarm system: to deter potential perpetrators, to alert a car’s owner, to inform the public of a possible danger, or to delineate a boundary between a public space and the private space of the automobile? If a security system’s sonic vocabulary is expanded and sensitivity to specific physical parameters is heightened, is its kernel identity preserved or shifted? In an effort to critically and creatively address these questions, Korea-based composer and sound artist Alexander Sigman and Stuttgart-based product designer/visual artist Matthias Megyeri—in collaboration with the IRCAM Sound Perception and Design (SPD) research team⎯are currently undertaking a researched-based interdisciplinary project entitled alarm/will/sound.  

The primary objective of this project in progress is to transform the car alarm from a passive, oft-ignored public nuisance with a predictable repertoire of sounds into a dynamic and intelligent interactive audio-visual instrument that engages with the car’s environment. The first phase of the project (January-April 2013) consisted in building, organizing, and indexing sound libraries, designing and training machine-learning-driven interaction systems, and beginning to construct the hardware for a series of alarm prototypes. 

During the second phase (January-February 2014), the sound library categories are being characterized, evaluated, and refined through experiments in sound perception. Subsequently, the interaction design models will be tested in a gallery installation context. Uniting the fields of sound art, perception research, product design, and industrial design, it is hoped that the outcomes of this project will have artistic, research, and interface design implications. 



Alexander Sigman’s award-winning instrumental, electroacoustic, film, multimedia, and installation works have been featured on major international festivals, exhibitions, institutions, and venues across Europe, Asia, the US, and Australia. He has been awarded residency fellowships by the Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart, Germany), the Djerassi Foundation, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble Artists Residency Center. In 2013 and 2014, he is undertaking a musical research residency at IRCAM. 

Since 2008, Sigman has been Co-Editor of the Search Journal for New Music and Culture and Managing Director of Ensemble Modelo62, an 11-member Dutch contemporary music ensemble, among other leadership roles. Since that time, he has published and presented his research and creative work extensively at international conferences and institutions. 

Sigman completed his doctorate in Music Composition at Stanford University in 2010. Prior to Stanford, he obtained a BM in Music and a BA in Cognitive Sciences from Rice University. Further postgraduate studies were undertaken at the University for Music and the Performing Arts Vienna, as well as the Institute for Sonology of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Netherlands). He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea. 

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