Sounds of Science

October 3, 2019

Oli Bentley ’21

Electroacoustic artist Eli Stine ’14 works at a laptop computer.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi

Electroacoustic artist Eli Stine ’14 returns to teach and create at Oberlin.

Former TIMARA and computer science major Eli Stine ’14 has returned to the Bibbins Hall basement once more, this time as a visiting assistant professor. He steps in as TIMARA Professor Peter Swendsen serves an interim stint as associate dean for academic affairs in the Office of the Dean of the Conservatory. Stine’s year includes a TIMARA studio class and the course Introduction to Electroacoustic Music, which he teaches this fall.

Since graduating from Oberlin, Stine earned a PhD and master’s degree in composition and computer technologies as a Jefferson Fellow at the University of Virginia. His work spans from sound design to virtual-reality projects and has been programmed across the globe. His work as been featured in festivals such as the International Computer Music Conference and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, which recently programmed his 2018 creation Vestigial Wings, a piece for animated video art and multi-channel electronic sound.

Eli Stine teaching students about processors
Stine returned to campus in spring 2019 to take part in TIMARA's (T)echs Machina Festival, in which he led this session on processors. Photo credit: Pang Fei Chiang ’19 

Stine’s work incorporates aspects of the natural and physical world, with elements of technology and synthesized sound. Through collaboration with environmental scientists, he has conducted research in the field of bioacoustics, which focuses on sounds produced by or affecting living organisms. This work informed his 2018 projects Virginia Barrier Islands Seabird Sonification and Oyster Reef Sound Translations, two immersive, educational sonic experiences that combined environmental research with recording and production techniques. Stine has presented both works at international computer science and environmental science conferences.

A product of Oberlin’s unique Double Degree Program, Stine finds that his computer science and TIMARA backgrounds often inform and interact with each other. As an artist working with multimedia technologies, he custom-builds software and utilizes video projection and multi-channel speaker systems. In the spring, he will be teaching Advanced Electro-Acoustic Music, which focuses on the spatialization and multi-channel diffusion of audio. His software instrument, the Murmurator, created for multi-channel speaker configurations, allows for improvisational and performable control over various parameters of sound generation and distribution.

Stine's return to campus comes at an exciting time for TIMARA, as the department begins a celebration of 50 years of electroacoustic music at Oberlin. The TIMARA family extends far beyond the walls of the conservatory; the impact of the time spent at Oberlin remains with alumni as they share their work with the world.

Stine is enjoying teaching and looks forward to his upcoming projects, among them a multi-speaker head-enveloping sculpture for the Crafting Sound Symposium, taking place October 4 and 5, and a collaboration with a Javanese gamelan ensemble on a 15-channel loudspeaker system in Finney Chapel for the Kaleidosonic Music Festival on November 16.

Oli Bentley is a third-year TIMARA student at Oberlin.

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