Keynote Speakers and Panel Leaders

Thomas F. DeFrantz, professor, African and African American Studies, Duke University, choreographer, author “Dancing Many Drums.”  He is the founder of the dance technology group Slippage, and director of numerous dance events, including “Cane.”  

DJ Rekha (Rekha Malhotra), DJ, activist, scholar, will lead a keynote panel discussing the boundaries between music and experimental sound through the artistic practices of creativity.  She will also perform on the evening of March 7.  

Jan St. Werner, musician with Mouse on Mars, scholar, and experimental sound guru, will lead a keynote discussion on the future of listening with reference to new “spatial mix” technology and “kinetic speakers.”  Mouse on Mars will perform March 8.  

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond her control, Diana Deutsch (UCSD) is unable to attend the conference.  She sends her heartfelt regrets, and we will miss her.  



Jan St. Werner, musician with Mouse on Mars, prof. Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg

Rekha Malhotra, award-winning music producer and activist; M.S. student in Comparative Media Studies


Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist, professor at MIT since 2002, and author of two books, Hip-Hop Japan and The Soul of Anime.


Nicole L’Huilier Transdisciplinary artist, musician, and architect from Santiago, Chile. Currently based in Boston as a PhD researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Opera of the Future group. Her work explores sound as a construction material of spaces, identity, and agency. She is an experimental musician, drummer, singer, synth lover, and one-half of the space pop duo Breaking Forms.


Walker Downey is an art historian and PhD student in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program (HTC) at MIT. His research centers on artists working in sound, experimental music, and the interchange of ideas between musical and artistic circles in the Fifties and Sixties. 


Confirmed Participants:

Geeta Dayal, artist/activist and author of Brian Eno’s Another Green World

Oswald Wiener, musician, activist and curator from Vienna, now living in Berlin


Andy Graydon is a sound and installation artist, and is currently visiting artist at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston at Tufts University.

Maren Haffke, researcher in Germany working on a project called “The Sound of Order / The Order of Sound”

TH Zaratan 4

Trever Hagen is a cultural sociologist working in music and sound. His research focuses on how cultural ecologies are used as resources to distribute opportunities for collective agency. Hagen is also an active improviser and is currently an artist-in-residence at April Base Studio in Wisconsin. His monograph, “Living in the Merry Ghetto: the music and politics of the Czech Underground” will be published by OUP in 2018.


Sonya Hofer is a musicologist who completed a Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. Her dissertation, Experimental Electronica Beyond “the Great Divide,” explores interdisciplinary sonic terrain and focuses on how much of the repertory eludes categorization. Publications can be found in Organised Sound, Music and the Moving Image, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, and are forthcoming in Music and Genre: New Directions, eds. Georgina Born and David Brackett. She has been on faculty at the Paris College of Art, Colorado College, Stony Brook University, and one of France’s Grande Écoles. Additionally, Sonya has also worked as a gallery curator and in various guises within indie rock. Contact: 

Toni Lester (Babson College) is an award winning composer and Professor of Arts and Entertainment Law at Babson College. Her piece, “Blurred Lines: Where Copyright Ends and Cultural Appropriation Begins – The Case of Robin Thicke v. the Estate of Marvin Gaye (Hastings Communication and Entertainment Law Journal) made predictions about the cases outcome a year before its famous jury verdict was decided. She writes about arts, culture and society, and the ways in which IP regimes support or thwart innovation and creativity.

Stefan Helmreich, professor of anthropology, MIT, author “Sounding the Limits of Life”

Nancy Baym, author and researcher in the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, MA


Wayne Marshall is an assistant professor of music history at Berklee College of Music. An ethnomusicologist by training and technomusicologist by calling, his research examines the interplay between media technologies and cultural politics with a focus on American social dance music. Marshall co-edited Reggaeton (Duke University Press 2009) and complements his academic work with online mixes and with articles in such outlets as Wax Poetics and The Wire as well as on his acclaimed blog, wayneandwax.

Toshiya Ueno, professor Wako U (Japan), author “Urban Tribal Studies,” DJ Toshiya the Tribal

Koichi Sei, sound artist, DJ and owner of Bar Bonobo in Tokyo, Japan, a legendary meeting ground for musicians, sound artists, and DJs

Susanna Bolle, DJ on WZBC and organizer of the Non-Event series of experimental music and sound in the Boston area

Ganavya Doraiswamy, musician and PhD student at Harvard in the Music Department

Rajna press photo - credit Jaimie Milner
Credit: Jaimie Milner

Rajna Swaminathan (Harvard University) is an accomplished mrudangam (South Indian percussion) artist, composer, and scholar. She has performed with several renowned Indian classical musicians, and has, over the past few years, been collaborating with eminent musicians in New York’s jazz and creative music scene. Rajna leads the ensemble RAJAS, a project that brings together artists from Indian classical music and jazz/creative music to collectively explore new improvisational and textural horizons. Rajna holds degrees in Anthropology and French from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Music at Harvard University. Her academic interests stem from her own musical experimentations: hybridity and difference in improvised music, intercultural theories of rhythm, and musical activism. 

Ryutaro Mishima
Credit: Ryutaro Mishima

Samita Sinha combines tradition and experiment to create sound and performance work that investigates the experience of being a body in the world, and psychic charges past and present. She is currently at work on This ember state, commissioned by Asia Society and set to premiere in April 2018. Past performance works include bewilderment and other queer lions (2016) commissioned by Performance Space 122 and Invisible Dog Art Center for COIL Festival, and Cipher (2014-15), a solo work that toured nationally (The Kitchen, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, REDCAT, Wexner Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech) with support from National Endowment for the Arts and National Performance Network.


DJ Lychee is a DJ, writer, and event organizer. She runs Spontaneous Affinity, a monthly mix and interview series and occasional event platform, and is a monthly resident at Distrikt 1 at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn. Since starting to play out in 2012, she has been featured in Magnetic Magazine, the Weekly Dig, and the Boston Globe and played on lineups with artists including Objekt, Aurora Halal, Claude Young, Rrose, and Legowelt. In addition to playing out, she has organized DJ/producer skillshare events, taught DJ workshops, curated a speaker event about inclusivity in music technology. She co-founded, co-organized, and was a resident DJ at Boston’s VISCERAL from December 2016 through September 2017. 


Shane Greene is an anthropologist, currently Visiting Professor at MIT. He recently published Punk and Revolution (Duke, 2016) and is working on an edited volume titled Punk, Las Américas Edition. Here and there he makes music as El Cuervo Sucio.