Aurie Hsu performs string song, Abby Aresty shares accessibility strategies in Crafting Sound Workshop.
In July 2020, 15 TIMARA majors and other Oberlin students joined TIMARA faculty Aurie Hsu (pictured above, left) and Technical Director Abby Aresty (right) in attending the virtual New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference "together" remotely, from the comfort of their own homes. NIME is an annual, international conference that brings together artists, musicians, and music technologists from around the world to share their expertise and innovations. The conference began as a workshop hosted at the 2001 Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) conference and has since turned into an annual gathering held at research institutes around the world with different themes highlighted each year. The theme this year was accessibility in NIMEs.
TIMARA students and faculty gathered at the start of the conference to discuss the history of NIME and to share strategies and best practices for conference attendance. TIMARA-specific conference highlights this year included a performance of string song, a piece by Hsu in collaboration with instrument builder Kyle Hartzell (pictured, right), and the Crafting Sound Workshop: Accessible Interfaces for Education and Creation, co-led by Aresty and Rachel Gibson '20. Aresty and Gibson shared the STEAM toolkit they created together over the summer with help from members of Aresty's Crafting Sound Lab, a TIMARA-based undergraduate research group exploring hybrid technologies, multimodal storytelling, and STEAM education.
Over the course of the week, students attended workshops, paper sessions, and performances, followed by a debriefing at the end of the week.
"TIMARA made the most of virtual NIME this summer," Hsu says. "With workshops, performances, papers, demos, poster sessions, installations, and keynotes from all corners of the music technology and new interfaces design field, we got to interact with scholars, innovators, and artists from all over the world. It was very gratifying to see and hear Oberlin students asking insightful questions and participating in such varied and involved dialogue with our peers in music technology."
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