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Speaking of Abstraction III

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Speaking of Abstraction III
Tuesday 27 November, 6.30-8pm
Eastside Projects

November’s Salon, Speaking of Abstraction III, will explore sensory perception, sound and physical space with two experts from the fields of Computational Neuroscience and Music Technology.

The information we pick up from the environment is continuously varying: we reach out, explore, and interact with objects that can move unpredictably. We also have multiple sensory signals available contemporarily (from touch, vision, audition, etc.). Despite this complexity, the brain is very efficient in deriving a coherent perceptual representation. Dr Massimiliano Di Luca investigates how the brain integrates multisensory information for perception and action and is especially interested in capturing the temporal properties of multisensory processing to model how they influence perception. Through a series of demonstrations, Dr Di Luca will illustrate some of the effects of information convergence in the complex, abstract realm of human sensory processing.

Music is inherently abstract, and musicians often think in terms of abstract ideas, which are difficult to clearly relate to the physical properties of sound and space. By contrast, computational systems are deterministic, providing the possibility for precise control over the fine details of sound synthesis and processing. Jamie Bullock will explore the relationship between musical intention and physical sound as mediated through computer-based interaction. He will discuss the tensions that arise between musicians and technology as the result of an “abstraction mismatch” between system design and human cognition, and suggest how these tensions might be resolved through musician-centred design.

Massimiliano Di Luca is Lecturer in Computational Neuroscience at the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. He works in the newly established research centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics. He received the Laurea in Psychology from the University of Trieste in 2000 and a PhD in Cognitive Science from Brown University in 2006. Following this he was postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.

Jamie Bullock is co-founder of Integra Lab, a music technology research centre based at Birmingham Conservatoire. He has experience in the fields of sound art, composition and performance with live electronics, music informatics and user-centred development. His current work focuses on systems that transform the way musicians interact with technology.