[June 9] Women’s Labor: Vision, Aesthetics, and Iterative Development of Embedded Iron

Date: June 9, 2020.

Time: 5 pm

Join a live presentation performance by Women’s Labor at Twitch.TV/harvestworks 

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Watch presentation performance here

Women’s Labor is a feminist project that repurposes domestic tools to become musical instruments. Using embedded technologies, these domestic-tool-turned instruments are explored in public installations, workshops, new compositions, and performance.

Women’s Labor addresses the issue of housework gender gap in the fight for gender equality. While strides have been made in gender equality in the workplace, women continue to shoulder the majority of unpaid work at home. The adoption of domestic activities by men in a household is crucial in creating an equitable 21st-century; yet, unlike public policies promoting equal pay, the equitable burden of domestic work in a household is difficult to enforce. The conversation surrounding housework gender gap remains one largely unspoken in public.

In this presentation performance, we will present the iterative developmental process for our first instrument, the Embedded Iron. The latest iteration will be demoed. Women’s Labor is supported by Harvestworks, Hellman Fellowship, Herb Alpert School of Music, and UCLA Lux Labs.

By using musical instruments created from domestic tools in public installations and performances, Women’s Labor brings the issue of housework gender gap to public light, by inviting people from all genders to engage meditatively with domestic activities. The movement-sonic experience disrupts the audience’s preconceived notions about housework, beckoning them to reflect upon their domestic roles. By commissioning feminist-driven women composers to write for these instruments, we also address gender inequality in the music field. Making new musical instruments is within the experimental field of NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression); such a feminist project is much needed in this traditionally male-dominated field.

Women’s Labor targets the wide public audience, in the hope of sparking conversations at all levels of society. Not only will installations and performances take place in galleries and performance spaces, community performance workshops will also be held, where workshop participants will be invited to bring personal items of clothing to perform laundering tasks with in guided communal sonic meditations on domestic work. In this way, we expand the concept of performance to be inclusive of the public.

Jocelyn Ho-artistic direction, performance, UX design, composition

Jocelyn Ho’s artistic practice involves the exploration of the relationship between sound, bodily gesture, and culture, as well as the rethinking of the classical music genre through multimedia technologies, inter-disciplinarity, and audience interactivity. She directs inter-disciplinary performance projects involving collaborators from vastly different fields. Most recently, she is the artistic director and performer of the sold-out music-art-tech concert project Synaesthesia Playground, in which she leads fifteen composers, visual artists, technologists, and fashion designers from all around the world to create an interactive, multimedia experience. Ho is also a Steinway Artist, and her ground-breaking concert programs have taken her to venues including Radio France, the Sydney Opera House, Berlin’s Radialsystem V, Abrons Art Center, the Melbourne Recital Centre, New York Symphony Space, Spectrum NYC, and the Boston Isabella Gardner Museum. Ho’s compositions include multi-disciplinary collaborations as composer and sound artist with software developers and visual artists featured at the NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival, Stony Brook Faculty Art Exhibition, and the University of Florida Art Gallery. She is an Assistant of Performance Studies at UCLA.

Margaret Schedel– UX design, composition, technical consultant

Margaret Anne Schedel is a composer and cellist specializing in the creation and performance of ferociously interactive media whose works have been performed throughout the United States and abroad. She is a joint author of Electronic Music and recently edited an issue of Organised Sound on the aesthetics of sonification. Her research focuses on gesture in music, the sustainability of technology in art, and sonification of data. She sits on the boards of 60×60, the International Computer Music Association, and is a regional editor for Organised Sound. From 2009-2014 she helped run Devotion, a Williamsburg Gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design. She ran SUNY’s first Coursera Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an introduction to computational arts. As an Associate Professor of Music at Stony Brook University, she serves as Co-Director of Computer Music and is the Director of cDACT, the consortium for digital art, culture and technology.

Matthew Blessing– technical direction, fabrication, maker

Matthew Blessing is a composer, guitarist, and music technologist. Due to graduate this summer with a Doctorate in Experimental Music and Digital Media from Louisiana State University, Blessing’s research explores new human-computer interfaces focusing on musical expression. His present work involves the design and digital fabrication of embedded instruments. These instruments run on an embedded Linux CPU, such as the Raspberry Pi, connected to a variety of interactive sensors, amplifiers, and audio drivers. Blessing received his Master degree in Composition at San Diego State University and Bachelor degrees in Music Composition and Classical Guitar Performance from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Project Video

WebSites: http://www.jocelynho.com, https://matthewblessing.us/ http://schedel.net/

PRESS: “Ho’s work brings attention to how our bodies interact with music, sound, and each other.” -Entropy magazine

Interview on Entropy Magazine

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