Keynote Speakers and Panel Leaders


Thomas F. DeFrantz, received the 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award from the Dance Studies Association. he directs SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. He has taught at the American Dance Festival, ImpuseTanz, Ponderosa, and the New Waves Dance Institute, as well as at MIT, Stanford, Yale, NYU, Hampshire College, Duke, and the University of Nice. He contributed concept and a voice-over for a permanent installation on Black Social Dance at the Smithsonian African American Museum.  DeFrantz believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming.

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 is an electronic music composer based in Berlin. Known as one half of the duo Mouse on Mars, he has also pursued a solo career creating music under his own name as well as Lithops, Noisemashinetapes and Neuter River. Starting in the mid-1990s, St. Werner released a steady stream of influential records both as a solo artist and with Mouse on Mars. During the 2000s, he acted as the artistic director for Amsterdam’s Institute for Electronic Music (STEIM). In 2013, St. Werner released the first of a series of experimental recordings called the Fiepblatter Catalogue on Thrill Jockey Records, Chicago. Werner has been a visiting lecturer at the Arts Culture and Technology ACT department of MIT and holds a position as a professor for Interactive Art and Dynamic Acoustic Research at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg Germany.



Jan St. Werner

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

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DJ Rekha (Photo Credit Nisha Sondhe)

Rekha Malhotra aka DJ Rekha pioneered merging Bhangra and Bollywood sounds with contemporary electronic dance music. Her debut album “DJ Rekha presents Basement Bhangra” features a track with Wycelf Jean. She is the founder of Basement Bhangra™, Bollywood Disco and co‐founder of Mutiny Club nights. Named “Ambassador of Bhangra” by the New York Times, she has done remixes for artists that range from Meredith Monk to Priyanka Chopra. Her debut album, DJ Rekha presents Basement Bhangra is on E1 Music.  Rekha has received numerous community awards and in 2009, inducted into the New York City’s Peoples’ Hall of Fame. She has curated events for Celebrate Brooklyn, Central Park SummerStage and has performed at the White House for President Obama and internationally. DJ Rekha was a Grand Marshall of the 9th Annual NYC Dance Parade in 2015. In January 2017 she was one of the official DJs for the historic Women’s March on Washington.  She is Graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. 


Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist, professor at MIT since 2002, and author of two books, Hip-Hop Japan and The Soul of Anime.  He is currently writing a book about music and musicians after the end of the recording industry, with comparisons between Boston, Tokyo, and Berlin.  


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 a historian of modern and contemporary art and a PhD candidate in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at MIT. Before arriving at MIT, Walker earned an M.A. in Art History from Williams College, where he explored the politics of sound in American art of the Sixties, and in particular, the work of composer and pianist David Tudor. Walker’s current research broadly concerns postwar practice that engages with sound outside of musical idioms and posits an “expanded field” of composition, interrogating the sonic dimensions of space, place, and site.


Confirmed Participants:

Geeta Dayal is a prolific arts critic and journalist, writing on sound, art, and technology. She has written for The Guardian, NPR, Rolling Stone, the Boston Globe, Frieze, The Wire and numerous other publications. She is the author of Another Green World, a book on Brian Eno, and is at work on a new book on the history of electronic music.


Oswald Wiener was the main theoretician of the art movement “Wiener Gruppe” (1954-1964) a radical post-war european artist collective not unlike the Situationists, the Independent Group or Fluxus.  After a blasphemie art performance in 1968 he and his partner Ingrid Wiener emigrated Austria to live in Berlin and Canada. His publications “Poetik im Zeitalter naturwissenschaftlicher Erkenntnistheorie” und “Probleme der künstlichen Intelligenz“ present Wiener’s radical approach on Poetry, Cybernetics and Linguistics. Wiener is currently finishing a new work on a Automata Theory and Introspection.


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 is a postdoc in the interdisciplinary Research School “Documentary Practices – Excess and Privation” at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. She holds an MA in musicology and a PhD in media theory for a thesis examining the role of musical thought in the work of German media theorist Friedrich Kittler. Among her research interests are Media Archeology, the epistemology of Sound Studies, environmental aesthetics and acoustic realisms.

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 is Professor of Anthropology at MIT. He is the author of Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas (University of California Press, 2009) and, most recently, of Sounding the Limits of Life: Essays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond (Princeton University Press, 2016). His essays have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Representations, American Anthropologist, and The Wire.


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 of Wako University, Tokyo, teaching Cultural Studies and critical theory. Research field is urban tribes, anime critic, ecosophy, and techno music, etc. He has published more than ten books in Japanese and essays in English. His most recent book is entitled The Quadruple Ecology: on Guattari and Ecosophy.  


Koichi Sei After spending 10 years from 1989 in NYC playing and producing music, Sei founded bar bonobo in Harajuku, Tokyo in 2005. bar bonobo is probably one of the smallest night clubs in the world and it is known for its one-of-a-kind decoration and sound quality. The venue is always filled with patrons from all over the world.

Having DJed for a long time, his only objective he still keeps in mind as a DJ is to cross as many boundaries of genres as possible.

susanna bolle

Susanna Bolle is a concert organizer, curator and DJ. She is the director and lead curator of the Non-Event experimental music and sound series, which presents concerts in a wide array of spaces in and around the city of Boston. She is also the longtime host of the Rare Frequency radio program and podcast on WZBC.

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.


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.


Andy Kelleher Stuhl is a researcher and technologist in music, media, and digital humanities. His academic work has studied the phenomenon of analog fetishism from the perspective of recording engineers and, more recently, the process and politics behind interactive musical works.


Kohsetsu Imanishi (koto player, composer, translator)
Started koto (Japanese traditional 13-stringed zither) and piano at age of four. Studied English at D.W.C.L.A in Kyoto, Sound Media at a graduate course of Inter Medium Institute in Osaka, and MMus on Ethnomusicology at SOAS in London University.
Kohsetsu is one of the most open and adventurous koto players who has been performed with unprecedented variety of people in various places. Her music includes all those from traditional music to improvisation, experimental, contemporary, jazz, and electronic music but doesn’t belong to any of them. Her cutting-edge performance at festivals such as Sonar Sound Tokyo, Off-Tone has attracted new listeners in Japan.
The serene sounds and the innovative style based on and beyond the tradition has been received high critical acclaims including “The Wire” and “The Higher Frequency”.
Her performing style and original methods have been developed by dissolving the traditional theories, methods, historical stories, structures, scales of the koto, and individuality or nationality of herself to understand the true nature of the instrument.
Her self-organized concert series “SOUND QUEST” explore the new beauty of the koto music in 21st century’s environment with a variety of guests.
In 2017, had a tour in France including two national theaters with French duo Rhizottome and a visual artist Akito Sengoku (supported by Japan Foundation) and released the double CD album “Niwashi no Yume”.
Also released her first album “Hisoku no Ame” from Musilogue by Ryota Nozaki, Jazztronik in September.
As a translator, she has worked for museums such as NTT ICC, Osaka Contemporary Art Centre, and NPOs such as Osaka Arts Apolia, remo, TV Programs, artists’ books such as “Rhythm Science” by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ. Spooky(joint translation with Toshiya Ueno).
As a writer, she had column on newspaper and cultural information web site.

Breaking Forms

Breaking Forms: Married by day, sound warriors by night, Breaking Forms is a combination of space aesthetics and boundless love. Veterans of the new Chilean wave sound, Breaking Forms formed in Chile just before moving to the US. Where they found a new home at the MIT Media Lab, where Nicole is a PhD Researcher, directly inspiring the Breaking Forms multiverse and their sonic explorations.


Ben Bloomberg is a sound artist and researcher at the MIT Media Lab and a 2017 Marvin Minsky fellow. He specializes in the design and implementation of spatial audio systems, but has also created work ranging from custom electro-acoustic musical instruments to AI driven performances. Most recently he collaborated with Prof. Tod Machover on his robot opera Death and the Powers and six City Symphonies, and with Jacob Collier on his Grammy-winning debut album In My Room. He has also designed for Imogen Heap, Ariana Grande, Björk and others. Ben is very passionate about finding human-centric experiences even when technology is abundant and predominant.

Murray Forman studies media and culture with a primary focus on popular music, race, and age. For over twenty years he has engaged in research about hip-hop culture, contributing to the emerging field of hip-hop studies.

Flood Photo Crop

Lauren Flood, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, works at the intersections of music, anthropology, sound studies, and science and technology studies. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Columbia University, with research and writing support from the Whiting Foundation, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, and the National Science Foundation. Before coming to Columbia, she studied and worked in the music industry, performed as a guitarist, and traveled for research and study in Latin America.


Rebecca Uliasz is a PhD candidate in Computational Media, Arts and Cultures (CMAC) at Duke University. She conducts research in perception in time-based media, analog computation and artificial intelligence, which inspires an artistic practice that incorporates experimental system and instrument building, audio/visual electronic noise performance and multi-media installation. She holds an MFA from SUNY Stony Brook University, where she focused on multi-media installation and performance with video transmission. She has performed in the United States and abroad in venues such as Spectrum (NY), Babycastles (NY), H0L0 (NY), CultureHub NYC, Gaze Festival (Gainesville, FL) and Shanghai Art Fair (2017), and exhibited her work in a number of virtual and IRL venues including NewHive, POWERPLANT (NY), The Wrong Digital Biennale, Peripheral Forms Gallery (Portland, OR), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Centuro Cultural Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-21 um 12.42.04

Dynamische Akustische Forschung / Dynamic Acoustic Research

Project based class taught by Jan St. Werner at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg Germany. DAF explores sound as an unstable art form which merges with other disciplines and yet makes strong claims for disciplinary autonomy. A critical awareness is developed of how sound as a field for artistic exploration is performed, produced, and distributed. The class explores contemporary and historical practices that emerge outside of purely musical environments and investigates specific compositional developments of post-war modernity and electro-acoustic music, as well as non-musical disciplines related to the psychophysics of hearing and listening. Sound is understood as a means of artistic exploration through practical exercises, performances, installations, writing, recordings, diffusions and instruments building.


Mouse on Mars is recognized as one of Germany’s most defining and versatile electronic music projects. With their anarchic mixture of sound that oscillates between uncontrollable chaos and meticulously arranged structures, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have forged a unique musical language, which is readily decomposed by the unpredictability of its myriad mutations. This dialectical method, coupled with the capacity for continuous reinvention, is the only constant to be found in the duo’s cooperation. Free from schools of thought, genre conventions, and from the constraints of the music establishment, they have worked under the Mouse on Mars alias for 24 years, mapping their own idiosyncratic trajectory through a no man’s land between pop, art, club music, and the avant-garde. In 2017 Mouse on Mars have contributed sound design to The National’s Grammy awarded Sleep Well Beast album, released a series of music software applications via their MoMinstruments, put out the Synaptics e.p. and mixed their upcoming record Dimensional People using object based mixing technology which leaves traditional stereo production behind.