MSCA Fellow of the week

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I have been featured in the Facebook portal of MSCA as Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellow of the week:

“Listen up! Sound artist and #MSCA IF fellow of the week Ximena Alarcón from Colombia develops the project INTIMAL at the University of Oslo. Ximena has a Deep Listening Certificate and practices Chi Kung, a form of body and mind energy practice with fluid and continuous movements. The body and mind experience with the sonic space, the intersection of sound art, music cognition, psychology, and human-computer interaction influence Ximena’s current research. She links socio-psychological experiences of migration and the reference to distant places through memory and dreams, with practices of networked sonic improvisatory performances and listening. Her case study focuses on Colombian post-conflict and peace building. Ximena works with Colombian migrant women in Europe to explore and test relational listening. Can listening to spoken word, expressing embodied feelings with the voice, and sharing these dynamically with others, be a potential act for healing and reconciliation?
Read more about Ximena and her research project at:
http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/209391_en.html “

 

Technological and Artistic Training

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Interacting with XTH Sense Instrument, by Marco Donnarumma

To nourish the development of INTIMAL and to review technologies of sonification of body movement, I have attended during the last two months to very interesting workshops organised by fourMs at the Department of Musicology-University of Oslo. These have invited me to think of the many different options to listen to the body by using technologies from an artistic perspective. For instance, in the Interactive Sonification workshop led by Dr. Thomas Hermann from Bielefeld University, I experience listening to data collected from body movement, stimulating new forms of research and creative interaction; in the Bela workshop-talk led by Andrew McPherson from Queen Mary University of London, I experimented with processing of sound in a reliable and fast way, exclusively with physical computing, inviting me to think of the creation of new interfaces; and in the Biophysical Workshop led by the performance artist and scholar Dr. Marco Donnarumma, from Berlin University of the Arts, we explored the XTH Sense instrument, which invites to listen to the body in a direct way (an interesting inner listening perspective) by amplifying muscles’ sound. Last week, I attended to the SoundTracer Workshop: Music Information Retrieval, at the National Library of Norway  organised by the SoundTracer project  , exploring retrieval of “in large music libraries through the movement of the phone in the air”.  Olivier Lartillot, designer of MIRtoolbox  demonstrated the first prototype of an IPhone app retrieving Norwegian Folk Music.  These different perspectives are opening my ideas for both analysis and interaction using body movement in the context of the INTIMAL research.

NIME Reader – Book launch

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This week I had the great opportunity to participate in the panel discussion as part of the launch of the book NIME Reader Fifteen Years of New Interfaces for Musical Expression co-edited by Alexander Refsum Jensenius. I shared the panel with a variety of artists-scholars from different backgrounds between the panelists including composer Tellef Kvitte, percussionist Kjell Tore Innervik, interactive musician Charles Martin, popular music scholar Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen, and sound artist Trond Lossius.

Alexander proposed the panel to reflect on our experiences and respond to the questions of: what is a musical instrument?; why is it interesting to create new musical instruments?; how new instruments influence the performers?; and what is the future of musical instruments?.

I reflected on Installation(s) for improvisatory networked sonic performance as instrument and for me it was a great opportunity to bring in the discussion the idea of agency (rather than control), collaborative environments to connect (technologies, people, ideas, through sound), and the future of new instruments and distributed systems. Envisioning INTIMAL as a new system for installation(s) within networked improvisatory performances I highlighted the importance of listening and making relations between complex interactions: listening, remembering, expressing, and listening again in the improvisatory cycle through mediations, that expand our perception of sound as it travels in time and space, transforming fixed narratives.

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Video invitation to MSCA prospective candidates Colombia

I offered a testimonial video about INTIMAL and my Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship in the “Conferencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Internacionalización de la Educación Superior” LACHEC 2017, which took place in Medellin, Colombia from November 21st to 23rd, 2017. The purpose of this video was to stimulate Colombian and Latin American candidates to apply for postdoctoral research opportunities anywhere in the world, where they could reach their research potential. It was streamed online during the event. This opportunity is open to all mid career researchers from any nationality. It is an honour for me to have received this award and thanks to it to be researching at the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo. I encourage researchers from all over the world, and from all disciplines to apply. For information visit Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.

 

Presenting at Musikkteknologidagene 2017

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I presented INTIMAL at Musikkteknologidagene 2017 at the Norwegian Academy of Music. It was a good space to share my initial thoughts about the system. I am focusing on voice and language and an important question with some oral archives is how the body listens to painful experiences and to good experiences too, particularly where the body is mentioned within the narrative, and how INTIMAL, a system placed between the psychological and body listening, and the technological mediation, using voice, could open spaces for transformation of individual and shared memories of loss (because of conflict and because of migration). This is a moment for many questions, also including “how the body moves when listening to its own voice and in different languages”, “how walking makes sense of place, in a new physical foreign space”, and how in this manner body meets the different parts of the system. Questions of interactivity are about entrainment in physical and virtual spaces, looking for a historical body that might be perceived as fragmented.

Awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship 2017-2019

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I have been awarded by the European Commission a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (MSCA) for the project INTIMAL: a novel physical-virtual ’embodied system’ for relational listening. I am very happy with this opportunity to learn about embodied cognition at the University of Oslo, and the different methods and musical approaches on sonification of body movement. As part of the celebration of MSCA 100000 fellows, who have received this prestigious award over the last 20 years, I have been invited with other 29 fellows to the awards ceremony in Brussels on Sept 26th and 27th. On the 26th, I will offer a short presentation of INTIMAL. We are joining the event ‘Science is Wonderful’ which showcases projects by MSCA fellows. The event is open to all!

On this link you can read about 30 Research Fellows’ backgrounds and projects.

 

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