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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Jun 6, 2019

How can the arts inform new directions for emerging technologies? From the curatorial mind of producer and director Meiyin Wang comes a collaborative exploration of the intersection of technology and the arts: This Is How It Ends. Through a series of performances and panel discussions, Wang introduced us to artists and technologists who are conceiving of ways the arts can disrupt, inform, and influence emerging technologies. Hear from musicians, theatrical directors, and filmmakers, as well as digital artists, game designers, and experts from all walks of art and tech, all united to explore the ways technology can be impacted by the concerts of art: language, space, corporeality, materiality, time, emotion, and inclusivity. Join us for an idiosyncratic combination of panel discussions, lectures, demonstrations and performances that ruminates on the future/s of performance and technology.

This event was made possible by a grant from the Mellon Creative Fellowship. Take a look below to learn more about each of these incredible discussions.

Janani Balasubramaniam (Writer, game designer, and immersive theater maker)

Artist Janani Balasubramanian discussed building artistic practice in rigorous, deep collaboration with astrophysicists. Balasubramanian explores best practices for developing works in the arts and sciences that are accessible to diverse audiences, as well as presenting a demo of recent prototypes of Balasubramanian’s collaborative works.

Thomas Deuel (Neurobiologist and Acting Assistant Professor, UW Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media)

Since early in the history of the use of electroencephalogram (EEG) for measurement of electrical patterns of the human brain, efforts have been made to transform EEG electrical activity into sound. Thomas Deuel joined us with an exciting display of music generated through conscious control of the electroencephalogram, opening up new possibilities for artistic expression and therapeutic biofeedback.

James Coupe (Associate Professor, UW Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media)

Annie Dorsen (Writer and Director)

Moderated by Andrew Kircher (Director of Devised Theater Initiative, The Public Theater)

Advanced digital technologies have created a profound transformation of the ways we know ourselves as public and private beings in the world—our understanding of connection, human affect, emotion, and labor have all been upended. Sit in as Coupe and Dorsen discussed their different practices which live at the intersection of art and technology, and explore the future of surveillance, voyeurism, privacy, machine learning, and internet chat rooms.

Susie Lee (Artist, Entrepreneur, Creative Director)

Dafina Toussainté McMillan (Co-founder, Crux)

Moderated by Meiyin Wang (Curator, Producer, Director)

Social media, XR, immersive technology, live streaming: Developments in mass media have changed the nature of narratives and storytelling. As storytelling evolves and transforms (as does the economy around them), questions emerge. Lee and McMillan tackled these questions together: Who gets to tell stories? How do we embrace diverse perspectives? How do we determine how it is valued? How do we do it ethically? How can we put the new and old tools of storytelling to “good” use?

Ahamefule J. Oluo (Musician, Stand-up Comedian, Filmmaker)

Oluo presented a performance centered on a scientist and a comedian who disagree about the science of a joke.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle, Meany Center for the Arts, UW School of Drama. Recorded live at The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on May 18, 2019.