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Mike Lukaszuk

Humlab Share: Digital Musical Instruments as Boundary Objects

Time Thursday 18 April, 2024 at 13:00 - 15:00
Place Humlab

Humlab Share with Mike Lukaszuk, artist and researcher with interests in experimental music and technology. This seminar will explore the intersection of digital tools and creativity in music. It will cover design, theory, and the broader implications for music notation and artistic collaboration.

When different software applications and controllers are combined to form interactive music interfaces, what results is a digital cultural artifact that contains multiple identities. I’m interested in how digital tools work together to become new musical instruments, how they can be used to blend electronic music with other forms of creativity such as video art, and whether these interfaces can be considered as artworks in and of themselves. This HumLab Share features materials from my ongoing postdoctoral project at Umeå University. It’s meant to look at interactive music tools as interdisciplinary objects that test boundaries both in terms of theory and practice.

I will demo a set of prototypes that use drawing and computer vision tools from the Max/MSP/Jitter programming environment to play with sound and visual effects. In addition to design motivations and theoretical underpinnings such as the idea of the “boundary object” (as developed by Susan Leigh Star and Geoffrey Bowker), I will discuss how these objects form relationships with older musical texts and work as tools for rediscovery. In his chapter from The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, the digital artist/theorist Simon Penny writes that “around the edges of these representational idioms persist performative practices that by their nature resist the codification upon which the conventional aspects of the discipline have built their institutional edifices.” By taking a more expansive view of music notation, one that also includes interactivity and live manipulation of sound and graphics, I wish to consider how my work-in-progress can be used to explore music in new ways while at the same time engaging with other kinds of artists and creative technologists.


Mike Lukaszuk is an artist and researcher with interests in experimental music and technology. His creative work focuses on computer-generated music, audio-visual art, and improvisation. His research practice explores the way in which algorithmic and generative technologies problematize or contribute to existing ideas about musical instruments and performance –and how such digital tools act as a microcosm for broader issues with algorithmic media in culture. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University (Canada). At Umeå University, he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in New Media Art at the Department of Creative Studies in partnership with the Department of Informatics.

Organizer: Humlab
Event type: Seminar
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Michael Lukaszuk
Postdoctoral fellow
Read about Michael Lukaszuk
Jon Svensson
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