The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Nina Eidsheim: Body Music

Nina Eidsheim (UCLA), Performance Practice and Research Grant

About the Project: An interdisciplinary team of UC faculty and independent artists (Nina Eidsheim, UCLA Musicology; Pei Chou, UCI Engineering; Carol Kim, visual work; Luis Henao, interactive programming; Alba Triana, composer) will develop an interactive interface and that will read the bioelectric and biomechanical activity of a singer’s body in real time, using the data obtained for sound processing and as parameters for live-mixed visual art; the interface will be used in a 20 minutes composition and an interactive installation, and the images and sounds created will be used to produce a stand-alone short film.

About the Artist: Professor Eidsheim investigates the tension and dependency between the somatic and semantic in vocal timbre, vocality, corporeality, and the question of “self.” She is particularly interested in the multi-sensory and performative aspects of the production, reception and perception of vocal timbre. Epistemologies and ideologies of the voice and its inferred meaning in opera, popular music, and music technology has in her work been examined through the lenses of American and African-American studies, performance studies, and cultural, gender, and race studies. She is currently in the beginning stages of preparing two book manuscripts: Musicology in the Flesh: Contemporary Music as Multi-Sensory Practice and Measuring Race: Listening to Vocal Timbre and Vocality in African-American Popular Music.

Inspired in part by her work as a genre-crossing singer working within contemporary classical repertoire, improvisation and live electronic performance, Eidsheim is dedicated to an interdisciplinary and multimodular approach to the study of musical cultures. As part of this effort she writes, commissions, and produces music with her electro-acoustic ensemble, soNu .

Dedicated to contributing to breaking down boundaries between academia and the outside community, Eidsheim has worked with Artsbridge America, a community arts outreach program, since 2000. The implementation by six universities of her geography-through-music curriculum for K12, Mapping the Beat, is made possible by a research grant awarded by National Geographic, and administered by Artsbridge and the Center for Learning Through the Arts and Technology at UCI.

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