Previous Talks

13. October 2016 - Mental Imagery and Emodiment in the Sonic Arts

24 Oct, 2016

LASERZurich will be featuring a renowned artist and a renowned scientist that will cross pollinate their research and creativity by presenting their own work. The following will be speaking from 18.00 to 20.00: Luca Forcucci and Oliver Kannape. You are welcome to join us for dinner after the talk at Salotto Café.

Oliver Kannape

Will talk about Alvin Lucier’s work. Music for Solo Performer (1965) – premiered at a time where great advances in information technology were accompanied by the rise of cognitive science as an academic discipline. Engineers, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers explored artificial intelligence and discussed the “essential equivalence of the human brain and a computer” (von Neumann); the use of neural signals in biofeedback was in its infancy. In this talk he aims to explore these topics in relation to Alvin Lucier’s work as well as on-going research ranging from conceptual ideas in embodied cognition to specific experimental paradigms illustrating the dynamic malleability of our corporeal self. With this he aims to build a bridge to his collaboration with Luca Forcucci, combining these elements to explore the perception of the spatially localised self by externalising conscious and autonomic signals of the observer sitting in a room.

After completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the MIT Media Lab in 2015, sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Oliver Kannape took up a lecturer position in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK. The overarching goal of his research is to understand the functional and neuronal contributions of human action and (action) awareness to body perception and self-consciousness. In other words - how does the brain define the self, the body, and bodily boundaries? How do actions distinguish one’s self from the environment and from other selves? Oliver’s second goal is to translate these findings to drive the design and ultimately embodiment of wearable robotics and neuroprostheses. Oliver holds a PhD in Neuroscience (EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland), a MSc in Cognitive Science (UCD, Dublin, Ireland), and a BEng in Information Engineering (HAW Hamburg, Germany). Among others, his work has featured on National Geographic TV and at TED 2014.

Luca Forcucci

will present space perception in sonic arts as it necessarily involves the body. Therefore, the notions of listening and embodiment are central. Sound and space are linked to vibration and resonating energy within the body that may result in mental imagery of space. Mental Imagery delineates relations between external situations experienced by the author (travels, urban drifts, performances) and internal spatial interpretation (mental imagery) consequently perceived by the participants. That is, a sense of agency explored in relation to the perception of one’s own body in mental imagery. Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer and I am sitting in a Room are the basis for two recent personal projects recombining the writings of Blaise Cendrars’ travels with the Brazilian modernists in 1924, Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novel L’épidemie virale in South Africa included in a performance where the body of a dancer becomes a soundscape. These works developed through an on-going collaboration between sonic arts and cognitive science. How such collaboration may provide new questions for both disciplines and how the perception of space and self is embodied with sound? These projects were created with the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Luca Forcucci is a composer, artist, writer, scholar of Swiss and Italian citizenship. His research observes the perceptive and dynamic properties/relations of sound and space. The field of possibilities is explored in music and art as experience. In this context, he is interested in perception and consciousness. The research informs his artistic work and vice versa, and was conducted at University of the Arts of Berlin, INA/GRM Paris, Brain Mind Institute in Lausanne. He holds a PhD in Music, Technology and Innovation from De Montfort University, and a MA in Sonic Arts from Queens University of Belfast. Luca regularly lectures in universities around the globe. The artworks are presented worldwide on a regular basis (Biennale of Sao Paulo, Centro Municipal d’Arte Heliò Oiticica Rio de Janeiro, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Carnegie Mellon USA, MAXXI Rome, Rockbund Museum Shanghai, House for Electronic Arts Basel) and are in the collections of the Swiss National Library, Swatch Shanghai, the Djerassi Foundation in San Francisco, Red Bull in Sao Paulo. Luca was nominated in the arts at the World Technology Summit in New York. The compositions are released by the music labels Universal, Cronica Eletronica and Subrosa.