Sonic Scenographies is a research program that catalyzes experimental collaboration at the intersection of performance, music, theater, dance, architecture, information science, engineering, and digital space. Its first instantiation (Summer 2020) yielded numerous successful interdisciplinary projects between students from SMTD and Taubman College. Taubman College plans to open an XR lab in Fall 2022 and we are thrilled to integrate the Sonic Scenographies FEAST program as a core part of its programming efforts.

When performance space is untethered from its physical constraints, novel social, cultural, technical and design opportunities emerge for the performer and audience alike. Performances such as The Weeknd’s on TikTokLil Nas X’s on RobloxTravis Scott’s on Fortnite and numerous others feature immersive audio-visual dynamism unique to virtual space, but what truly separates them from a particularly fantastic IRL performance are the new mechanics available for audience participation. In a virtual environment the traditional performer-audience relationship transforms into one of performer-participant, where visitors of an event now have the capacity to influence and manipulate their environments and engage directly with performers and other participants in a hyper immersive and personalized way.

The Sonic Scenographies initiative seeks to interrogate this newly arrived performer-participant paradigm through the creation of a live performance digital platform. Through the use of XR technology and real time streaming, the Sonic Scenographies FEAST program invites students in the fields of art, architecture, design, information science and performance to collaborate on the following:

  • R&D of an interactive digital performance platform. (Information Science)
  • R&D of digital scenographies and immersive environments for the performance platform. (Art & Design)
  • R&D of experiments conducted within the platform featuring novel modes of performance. (Performance)
  • R&D of experiments conducted within the platform featuring novel modes of participant interaction (Information Science, Art, Design and Performance)

Faculty Project Leads

Jacob Comerci is a designer, educator and Project Manager for Academic Initiatives at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He was the 2019-2020 William Muschenheim Fellow at the University of Michigan, having previously received a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at Princeton, Comerci was awarded the Howard Crosby Butler traveling fellowship where he studied building groups in Berlin as well as the Suzane Kolarik Underwood thesis prize for excellence in design. He has worked with the offices of Bureau Spectacular in Chicago and Los Angeles and with MOS Architects and LTL Architects in New York. His research and design work reconsiders models for collective life and work by way of the interior fit-out of existing real estate with furniture-scaled domestic equipment. He is co-founder of Taubman Public Design Corps alongside Maria Arquero, Irene Hwang & Anya Sirota – a program connecting students in architecture, urban design, and planning with organizations to tackle pressing economic, environmental, social, and spatial challenges.

Ishan Pal Singh is a licensed architect in India and is a Lecturer at the University of Michigan. He received a Master of Architecture from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Architecture at Sushant School of Architecture, Delhi NCR, India. He is a member of the Academic Innovation team as the New Media Specialist, and his work lies at the intersection of Media, technology and architecture. His research touches upon appropriation of XR tools for a blended future for architecture.