The Music Informatics and Performance Technologies Lab is an open research laboratory set up in the Music Department at Sussex with the aim of channelling research and development in the areas of musical analysis, computational creativity, and musical performance technologies.
The lab’s objective is to continue and expand upon the impressive work done at the now defunct Music Informatics Research Centre at Sussex. The centre existed within the Informatics department, which had for a considerable time conducted important research on computational creativity, epitomised by the work of people such as Margaret A. Boden and Nick Collins. Doctoral research at the MIRC included music and cybernetics (Alice Eldridge), musical meta-creation (Matthew Yee-King), philosophy of music technologies (Thor Magnusson), neural network haptic interfaces (Chris Kiefer), computational creativity (Anna Jordanous), and networked live coding (Chad McKinney).
Accompanying the new Music Technology degree in the Music Department, the new lab aims to maintain the strong links forged between the Music and Informatics departments, welcoming researchers across the university to participate, contribute, and organise research events that relate to the lab’s focus. This might involve people from fields as diverse as philosophy, marketing, law, or engineering. Current doctoral research by people involved with the lab includes: media-archaeology in music through the study of tape (Joe Watson), code and maker culture (Paul McConnell), trance and technology in dance music (Gemma Farrell), sound hauntology and space (Danny Bright), interactive installations exploring memory and perception (Cécile Chevalier), and interactive music theatre (Thanos Polymeneas-Liontiris). Faculty research includes areas such as robot opera (Evelyn Ficarra), computational culture and software studies (David Berry), cybernetic systems in musical instruments (Alice Eldridge), music informatics, interfaces, and live coding (Thor Magnusson), technology in the contemporary orchestra (Ed Hughes), performance technologies (Sally Jane Norman), modular synth community research (Andrew Duff), and musical materialities (Richard Elliott).
The lab has a flat organisational structure and members organise activities and collaborations under the umbrella of the lab when and as they see fit. We aim to run monthly activities at first, but this might become more frequent as time passes. Some events are lined up for this summer, such as an Algorave in Brighton, live coding research symposium in the Creativity Zone, publication of a book on sound coding in SuperCollider, Chad McKinney kick-starting the SLOW (Sussex Laptop Orchestra Workshop), and the hosting of a visiting researcher who will contribute to the lab activities. More soon!