Final Two IDEAS Performances Slotted for June

San Diego, Calif., June 18, 2013-- They’re billed as ‘performances that can’t be staged anywhere else,’ and that’s by design. Each of the performances in the Qualcomm Institute’s Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) series at UC San Diego was created to take advantage of the institute’s advanced audio-visual facilities, services and personnel, which makes them one-of-a-kind events. 

Naruwan Taiko point cloud
A digital point cloud taken from a performance of Naruwan Taiko drummers. 

And if that’s not enough incentive to go out and catch an IDEAS piece, how’s this: The final two take place this month, and they’re both free of charge.

“Samurai,” which will be performed from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Calit2 Theater in Atkinson Hall, is the work of composer, improviser and video artist Hunjoo Jung. Jung is a second-year MA student at UC San Diego who explores not only orchestral and contemporary chamber music, but also the ways in which video projection, lighting, spatialization, sensors, dance and live visuals can be used in a wide range of combinations with acoustic and electronic music. 

“ESSA!” is a live performance of the Taiko drumming group Naruwan Taiko that will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 29 in the Calit2 Auditorium. The word ESSA is a kiai (a Japanese word pronounced 'key-eye') that is used in Taiko drumming to express and exchange energy and passion between performers and audiences. The performance, which is co-produced by UCSD Visual Arts adjunct faculty Tracy Cornish and Qualcomm Institute’s Todd Margolis, will employ motion capture, EEG technology and bio-sensors for real-time visualizations.

"Through real time visualizations," says Margolis, "we hope to provide audiences with a novel experience of Taiko that not only compliments this energetic artform with high-resolution imagery, but also shows how the body and brain function during a performance." 

IDEAS Director Shahrokh Yadegari notes that these technology-laced performances “form a context for close collaboration among the arts and sciences research at UCSD.

“Not only do these performances feature advanced scientific research," he adds, "they also find new expressive mediums for the arts. In this way, the audience discovers novel ways of interfacing with state-of-the-art equipment. The performances not only showcase the technologial research, they become new vehicles for critical and artistic engagement.”

This year’s series began with a performance of “Submerged Memories” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds, which is fitting considering the role Reynolds played in founding the Center for Music Experiment (later the Center for Research and Computing in the Arts). CME/CRCA played a significant role in arts research and experimentation at UCSD for 40 years until it was disestablished in 2012. 

“This partnership between the Qualcomm Institute and the UCSD Arts Department follows in a long tradition of exploring the arts and sciences at UCSD,” said IDEAS Director “We’re hoping that the IDEAS initiative follows the legacy of CME/CRCA and becomes a context for the interaction between faculty, students and researchers from the Division of Arts and Humanities as well as Sciences and Engineering. 

IDEAS submissions go through a rigorous peer review by the IDEAS Program Committee, which is chaired by Yadegari, with members appointed from among Calit2-affiliated faculty in the UCSD Departments of Music, Visual Arts, Theatre & Dance, and science or engineering. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2013 season is noon PST, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. For more information, visit the IDEAS website. 

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