Student Research: Alex Lough
New Tools for School
Students at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts explore the human experience through a variety of creative avenues by using skills as classically trained fine artists, but also through emerging technology and media. Students from all four departments have access to a range of media that allows them to reshape how art is created and experienced. We asked a few students who are utilizing these tools and spaces to share with us.
For this article, we interviewed Alex Lough from the Department of Music.
Department of Music
Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT)
Anticipated graduation, Spring 2020
Career Goals: "To continue in academia as a professor and practicing musician and sound artist. I love teaching and exposing students and colleagues to my creative practices and engaging in critical discourse about electronic/experimental music."
As a Ph.D. candidate in the ICIT program, Alex Lough has several projects and experiments in the works at once. Lough recently produced the sound installation for American Monument, an exhibition at the Beall Center for Art + Technology. He is also currently working with ICIT Professor Mari Kimura on her MUGIC™ sensor project, a gestural controller that tracks real-time motion data sent via Wi-Fi, through things like acceleration, orientation, and angular velocity. Lough has composed and performed a few pieces using the tools, including a piece with extremely simple sounds to demonstrate how he uses the electronics and sensor. To execute his plan, Lough used only tuning forks, which produce the simplest kind of sound, a single tone that is about as close to a sine wave as you can get. “My hand movement affects various electronic processes in the computer so I can perform naturally without having to deal with pressing pedals or turning knobs,” said Lough. “I just move my hand, and that can control the effects directly.” Lough’s next project is a collaboration with a faculty member to create a new experimental QWERTY keyboard interface that is sensitive to pressure and duration with capabilities such as vocal triggers. Creative technology at work.
Tell us about the resources you use:
"CTSA has great tech, spaces and resources, and I try to use as much of it as I can. As an ICIT Ph.D. candidate, I’ve recorded a few albums and EPs with colleagues and professors in our studios, including composing an evening-length work for immersive dance with our vintage modular synthesizers in the CLASSic Synthesizer Studio (Classic Laboratory for Analog Sound Synthesis). I’ve held concerts in the xMPL and made extensive use of all the sound and lighting equipment. I try to be as active as possible in using those spaces, both to record and perform. Having access to studios and high-end gear means I can take more risks and experiment."
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