The SMART Lab: Sound and Media Art project delves into the intersection of bio-inspired creativity, wearable interfaces for musical expression, and the transformative power of immersive soundscapes in specific architectural spaces.

Students involved in this project will be able to engage in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment, working in biology, sound design, programming, interaction design, data sonification, architecture, video, and creative technologies. Students will gain hands-on experience in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing immersive sound installations.

The team will delve into the study of organisms and their adaptive behaviors, seeking inspiration to develop sound installations and experiment with various materials, sensors, and technologies to craft wearable interfaces that allow performers and participants to manipulate and control the space and soundscape through their movements and gestures.

We will create documentation of the creative process, including design decisions, challenges, and solutions. These findings will be compiled into research papers for publication in relevant journals and will be submitted to conferences.

Possible space for the installation: Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Students apply to a specific role on team as follows:

Creative Coder: Visualization & Sonification (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Proficiency in programming languages commonly used in creative coding, such as Processing, Max/MSP, openFrameworks, etc. Knowledge of audio programming, sound synthesis techniques and digital signal processing (DSP) to design and manipulate sound in real-time. Experience with data visualization and sonification techniques to translate abstract data into visual and auditory experiences.

Interest in generative art, creating dynamic and responsive audiovisual systems that interact with live data and user inputs.

Future work possibilities: projection and body mapping, spatial audio

Likely Majors/Minors: graduate PAT, ARTDES, EECS, SI

Fabrication and Physical Computing (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Ability to integrate Arduino boards with other hardware and software components for data acquisition and control. Knowledge of electrical circuits, circuit design, and the ability to prototype and create custom electronic circuits. Understanding of sensors and electronic components commonly used in interactive installations.

Interest in maker culture for NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression).

Future work possibilities: Design and fabricate wearable devices.

Likely Majors/Minors: ARTDES, ARCH, EECS, FTVM, PAT, SI

Installation Architect and Sculpture (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Multidisciplinary approach to building three-dimensional immersive and interactive environments that aligns with the project’s objective. Knowledge of structural engineering and construction methods to ensure the feasibility and stability of the installations. Familiarity with site-specific art and the ability to integrate the sculpture and sound elements into the environment. Capacity to learn how to work with alternative construction materials.

Openness to experimentation and to explore new ideas and technologies to enhance the immersive and multi-sensory experiences.Interest in designing responsive sculptural objects, creating large-scale sound sculptures and installations that can effectively occupy and transform the given space.

Likely Majors/Minors: ARTDES, ARCH

Biologist (Ecosystems and animal behavior) (1 Student)

Preferred Skills: Understanding of biological concepts, including ecology and the behavior of organisms and how they are influenced by environmental stimuli, including sound. Skill in conducting environmental impact assessments to evaluate the potential effects of the sound installation on the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife. Knowledge of the local wildlife and their natural behaviors and vocalizations. Familiarity with ethical guidelines and best practices when studying and interacting with wildlife.

Willingness to engage in interdisciplinary discussions and contribute biological insights to the creative process.

Future work possibilities: exploring plant communication network

Likely Majors/Minors: BIO, EARTH, RCNSCI

Faculty Project Lead

Zeynep Ozcan

Dr. Zeynep Özcan is an electronic music composer, educator, and author. She holds a Ph.D. in Music, an M.A. in History of Architecture, and a B.A. in Philosophy. She explores biologically inspired musical creativity, interactive and immersive environments, and generative systems. Her works have been performed and presented throughout the world in concerts, exhibitions, and conferences.

As a musician, she sings, plays piano and electronics and performed with several bands and choirs. She is Assistant Professor of Music at the Department of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Besides her academic lecturing, she contributes to secondary education and community education. She specializes in the implementation of software systems for music-making, audio programming, sonification, sensors and microcontrollers, novel interfaces for musical expression, and large-scale interactive installations. She is passionate about community building and creating multicultural and collaborative learning experiences for students through technology-driven creativity.

Students: 7


Meeting Details: Tuesdays or Thursdays (Hybrid)

Application: Consider including a link to your portfolio or other websites in the personal statement portion of your application to share work you would like considered as part of your submission.

Summer Opportunity: Summer research fellowships may be available for qualifying students.

Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students on campus.

IP/NDA: Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign an Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement prior to participation.

Course Substitutions: CoE Honors