College to host arts and technology symposium

NoiseFold (David Stout and Cory Metcalf) perform “Four Direction Home.
NoiseFold (David Stout and Cory Metcalf) perform “Four Direction Home." Courtesy of NoiseFold.

Connecticut College’s Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology will present the 14th biennial arts and technology symposium, Feb. 27-March 1. The symposium brings artists and researchers together to share ideas and present new works, research and performances, all addressing one or more forms of fusion between technology and the arts.

This year’s theme is “Presence, Immersion and Location,” and, as with past symposia, the events comprising the symposium have been chosen to “highlight the Ammerman Center’s mission for initiating and fostering multidisciplinary dialogues among symposium participants,” according to Ozgur Izmirli, associate professor of computer science and the center’s director.

“We have a very exciting lineup of events, all at the crossroads of arts and technology,” said Izmirli. “Since its inception in 1984, the Ammerman Center, through its programs and symposia, has been actively promoting the exploration of creative expression through use of technology. The center has also been instrumental in shaping the boundaries of computational approaches with a quest to better understand idiomatic processes in the arts. We are thrilled to be hosting such an event at a time when technology is playing an increasing role in the creation and dissemination of artistic works.”

The public is invited to attend several symposium events, all of which are free. They include:

Keynote Address
Golan Levin, the director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, will speak on Friday, Feb. 28, at 9:30 a.m. in Evans Hall, Cummings Arts Center. Levin is a two-time TED presenter who uses performance, digital artifacts and virtual environments to highlight our relationship with machines and our ways of interacting with each other. He was named one of the "50 Designers Shaping the Future" by Fast Company magazine in October 2012.

In his talk, “Interaction Art, Information Design, Critical Making,” Levin will explain the ways in which he seeks to shape culture through the revelatory power of visualization and the design of open systems that awaken people to their potential as creative agents.

Multimedia Concerts
At the end of each day of the symposium, the Ammerman Center will present a multimedia concert comprising short, electrifying performances from artists and performers working on the leading edge of their disciplines in electroacoustic music, dance and interactive performance. These concerts take place at 8 p.m. in Evans Hall. In addition, the “Global Net Orchestra,” comprising 100-plus performers around the world making music on laptops, will perform at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, in Oliva Hall, also in Cummings Arts Center.

“While the experience of music is ancient, the medium is new,” said Arthur Kreiger, the Sylvia Pasternack Marx Professor of Music and associate director of the center. “Electronic tone now expands the orchestral palette. Electronic noise extends the percussive battery. Digitally created and digitally controlled, the biennial symposium is certain to engage us at many levels.”

Exhibition in Downtown New London
For the first time in its history, the Ammerman Center has collaborated with the Hygienic Art Galleries for an exhibition of works related to the symposium’s mission. Artists from around the world were invited to display their interactive installations, projections, videos, digital paintings, musical kinetic sculptures and more in a show that continues a relationship launched by donations Connecticut College made to the Community Foundation in support of the Hygienic Galleries in 2012. The exhibition will begin with a gallery opening on Friday, Feb. 28, from 5-9 p.m. at the Hygienic Galleries, located at 79 Bank Street, and will run through March 15. For gallery hours, visit

“This show presents a sampling of the myriad and exciting ways in which contemporary artists working with technology engage both time and place and delve into the intersection of the political and the personal,” said Andrea Wollensak, professor of art and an associate director of the Ammerman Center. “Through their innovative and articulate work, the selected artists draw us into the contemplation of fundamental questions about what it means to be situated by place, oriented by time and contextualized by identity.”

Libby Friedman, assistant director of the center, added, “This year's symposium is a true reflection of the collaborative nature of arts and technology, reflecting global and local partnerships. The symposium ties together the center, the College’s art departments and, this year in particular, the College and the Hygienic Galleries.”

Several artists will deliver short talks about their pieces on Saturday, March 1, from 12:30–1:30 p.m at the Hygienic Galleries.

For more information, visit the symposium website.

February 21, 2014