Cherise Fong

8/24 – 8/31

Project: Field sound recording along Pipeline Road in order to create a radiophonic journey into its birdsong and wildlife around the clock. Hard science will inevitably be mixed with soft fiction, so zoological correctness not guaranteed.

Writer and journalist, budding birder, interested in both science and fiction involving non-human perspectives, zoology, ecology, technology, evolving ecosystems and documenting the sixth mass extinction.

Lisa Schonberg

DATES: Aug 24-31

BIO: I am a percussionist, composer, writer, and field recordist with a background in ecology and entomology.

PROJECT: My collaborator Kristina Dutton and I will compose new music and sound work based on observation and field recordings. I am particularly interested in the sounds of ants and the Passalid beetles, and have been researching these sounds in the Brazilian Amazon. Kristina and I will illustrate contrasting ecological variables through our recording and composition processes. We will use hydrophones, ultrasonic mic, contact mics, and shotgun mic, and build the compositions using found instruments and Ableton Live. If there is mutual interest, we can create this work as a sonic aspect of another researcher’s work at Dinacon. We also want to interview participants at Dinacon about larger questions related to artists and scientists producing work together.

Susan Booher

Dates: 04/8-10/8

Project: Susan will be recording her travels to and around Gamboa, Panama as well as the local flora and fauna (on land, in the air, and along the river) with a 360-degree camera to deliver an immersive experience in virtual reality to aging and/or disabled people through technology and digital recordings.

Bio: I’m a graduate student in Design Research and Development with a specialization in Aging at the Ohio State University. I practiced commercial interior design for 13 years before returning to academia to pursue an MFA. I’d like to continue with a career that supports the aging population and dementia. It’d be a dream to create an experience that can benefit the cognitive and emotional health of older adults who can no longer travel.

Phillip Hermans

Dates: 8/19 – 8/25

Project: Sonification of Rainforest Sensor Data
I plan to create a software system for transforming sensor data from DINALAB’s LARA network into audio. I hope to collaborate with other scientists, artists and researchers to create audio that is communicates information from the sensor’s via sound. I am also interested in using this system purely to generate music.

My backup plan is to use local materials to build some bio-degradable sound sculptures.

Bio: I’m a musician, programmer and educator interested in interactive audio, sonification, acoustic ecology and bio-acoustics.

Becky Scheel

Dates: 13-18 August

Project: Drexel University Bio-Inspired Design – with teammates Raja Schaar and Ann Gerondelis. Together we’ll be working to expand our K12 and Higher-Ed Biologically Inspired Design and Citizen Science pedagogy by studying indigenous animals and plants. We’ll analyze their structural, behavioral, and functional features and adaptations to look for ways people might use them to solve problems in the conservation and sustainability space. I don’t work at Drexel (just excited to be on their team), but I am a service designer in Atlanta.

I am a design generalist for human and nonhuman great apes. I focus on design in complex, dynamic, and unfamiliar environments with emerging technology. With more than a decade working as a designer at Zoo (in exhibit, web and graphic design) and an education in design and digital media, I hope that my work supports improving the lives of humans & animals.

My favorite animals are orangutans and red pandas, but I am really excited to see sloths, coatis, and Panamanian golden frogs!

Gratuitous red panda photo

Ann Gerondelis

Dates: 13-18 August

Project: Drexel University Bio-Inspired Design – with team mates Raja Schaar and Becky Scheel. Together we’ll be working to expand our K12 and Higher-Ed Biologically Inspired Design and Citizen Science pedagogy by studying indigenous animals and plants. We’ll analyze their structural, behavioral, and functional features and adaptations to look for ways people might use them to solve problems in the conservation and sustainability space.

Bio: I’m an architect, writer, designer, and university administrator. I recently moved from Atlanta to Philadelphia to lead the multi-faceted Design Department at Drexel University. That’s Fashion Design, Product Design, Graphic Design, Merchandising and Photography. Whew! I love the potential for designing human experiences at multiple scales in ways that activate our sensing bodies. I’m a design evangelist, often inviting STEM-strong students into my world through courses and workshops in bio-inspired design. I’m most happy exploring my environs by drawing them, and can’t wait to see what awaits in the forests of Gamboa!

Evan Buechley

dates: 08/04/19-08/10/19

As an ornithologist and conservation biologist, I track bird migrations around the globe with miniaturized GPS-GSM tracking devices that reveal novel migration routes and habitat use of endangered bird species. When mapped in 2 or 3 dimensions, the movement patterns of birds across continents are aesthetically stunning. I plan to collaborate with my sister (Leah Buechley), an expert artist, computer programmer, and tinkerer; my wife (Mara Burstein) an acrylic painter; and my nephew (Elan Solowej), a vivacious 5-year old, to co-design and create a project that fuses science, art, programming, and nature.

Mara Elana Burstein

dates: 08/04/19-08/10/19

project: I’m thinking about doing a layered project with Leah Buechely (coder/designer) Evan Buechley (wildlife conservation biologist), and Elan Solowej (5yr old master mind). For years, Evan has collected data on where vultures migrate. This information can be presented beautifully with our diverse skills. We thought we might print it on wood (Evan?), add some electronics (Leah) and paint (me) and local specimens (Elan).

Ray LC

August 19 to 22.

Generative Dance in the Wild.

How do movements couple to sounds in the natural environment, and can paired dance communication by improvised both in the movements and musical composition realms? I plan to use SonicPi to generatively sample sound recorded from nature to make musical beats and rhythms. These beats will couple to pair dance metaphors in paradigms in salsa and zouk, which are popular dances in Panama. Specifically the project consists of the following phases.

  1. Record sounds in the natural environment of Panama and use them to construct simple phrases in SonicPi, choosing the right envelopes to synthesize beat sounds which, when live-looped together, produces Latin-like rhythms.
  2. Begin recruiting conference attendees for a performance which involves dancing in sync to the collected beats. I will train those who are not familiar with simple steps of salsa and bachata latin dancing so that all can practice together even without formal training.
  3. We will construct a wearable interface for switching between different SoniPi sketches for generating different sounds. We will prototype a teensy-based device that can use accelerometer data to switch between beats. The choice will depend on the leader in the dance pair.
  4. We will user test a pair of dancers, one of whom (leader) can switch between rhythms and music that inspires different dance forms and speeds. The leader can choose both her steps and the musical rhythms being generated. For example, she can choose to dance bachata rather than salsa, or to have a dip in the salsa, and can choose the musical motifs appropriate to these specific actions.
  5. If time permits, we will organize a Casino Rueda performance using pairs of dancers who can all control the music in different ways. If the technology does not permit it, we can prototype the process using calls much like in Casino Rueda, giving our DJ a cue to change the music.

The project investigates whether improvisation in dance can be coupled also to improvisation in music. Can we create a system for both changing the musicality and the movements in dance? We aim to investigate this in a natural context where Latin rhythms and natural sounds can be used as samples to create a performance of higher order improvisation.

Ray LC is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who incorporates cutting edge neuroscience research as a foundation for building experiences that create empathic bonds between humans and between humans and machines. He previously published papers on PTSD and creativity at UCLA and Japan’s RIKEN institute, and is currently a researcher at Parsons School of Design and Cornell Medical College. He’s currently designing an exhibit on computational vision as Designer in Residence at NYSCI: New York Hall of Science. Ray LC constructs physical installations, interactive experiences, and narrative works from the multidisciplinary perspectives of creative technology, art, and science. He works in interdisciplinary teams of collaborative experts like psychologists, software engineers, fashion designers, physical therapists, and creative coders.

Josh Michaels

Dates: August 18th-28th

Hello world! My name is Josh Michaels, I’m a creative polymath with a bias toward technology from Portland, Oregon. My primary interest with regards to naturalism is the power of nature immersion as a form of therapy. With an increasing global focus on mental health and mindfulness, regular immersion in nature is often overlooked as one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve ones mental health. However not everyone has the time or access to receive the benefits of nature immersion, which is difficult to reflect on given our origins as humans.

Along those lines, my interest is rooted in a desire to create experiences using images and video of nature that offer the power of nature immersion to people who are unable to experience it in person. A variety of research has shown that viewing images and video of nature can provide up to 90% of the therapeutic benefit of actually going into nature. This is remarkable given how low-fi synthetic nature is compared to the real thing.

The reality of modern life is that most people don’t have and can’t make the time to really immerse themselves in nature on a regular basis. So from a modern lifestyle point-of-view, nature imagery and video offers a practical way to squeeze some of the benefits of nature into a nature-starved life.

That said, the people who may benefit most from nature imagery and video are those who are locked away from actual nature for health, legal, or other reasons. Whether it’s a hospital room, submarine, or jail cell, physical limitations that cut people off from nature deprive them of benefits which should seemingly be available and accessible to every human all the time.

Nature imagery and video offers a great way to combat limited access to nature by bringing nature inside for those who can’t go outside. The possibilities for low cost and cost saving ways to use nature imagery to help those who lack access to nature are endless.

I’ll be using my time at Dinacon to continue my investigations into this subject using portable EEG/EKG monitoring to compare actual and recorded nature experiences.