On Friday, 4/27, a performance was held in the Langone Center’s first floor hearth space that included students and faculty from Biomedical Engineering, Sculpture, Dance, and the Bucknell Interdisciplinary Improvisation Ensemble (BIIE)—who converged on the theme of impulse and spontaneous action.
The Biomedical Engineering students created “bioinstruments” that recorded and transformed biological signals to MIDI code that was sent out to a sound system. The Sculpture 2 students presented wearable art that metaphorically enhanced or restricted impulsive action. BIIE, with its practiced approach to improvisational music and dance, brought another layer of evocative action to the exchange. Participating faculty included: Phil Haynes from the Department of Music, Dustyn Martincich from the Department of Theatre and Dance, Joe Meiser from the Department of Art and Art History, and Joseph Tranquillo from the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
These non-traditional instruments were imagined and built by Biomedical Engineering students as part of the Fundamentals of Biomedical Signals and Systems course. Each instrument recorded one or more biological signals and then transformed those signals to MIDI code that was then sent out to the sound system. There were no prerecorded sounds and everything was generated on-the-fly. Student teams developed their devices in collaboration with student members of the Bucknell Improvisation Intensive Ensemble (BIIE). Members of the audience were invited to try the instruments after the performance.
Sculpture 2: Body Sculptures
Students in Sculpture 2 created the wearable art objects that were on display. This assignment was an investigation of the mind-body connection and the influence of animal instincts on human behavior. The class examined performance art and improvisational dance as catalysts for creating the meaningful action that was exhibited in this performance. Students designed their projects to metaphorically feed or control a particular impulse.
The Bucknell Improvisation Intensive Ensemble (BIIE)
The Bucknell Improvisation Intensive Ensemble specializes in open, improvised, non-jazz new music performed by Bucknell music majors led by jazz artist Phil Haynes. The creation of BIIE supplies a performance-oriented forum for interested musicians to build ensemble sensitivity, shed inhibitions, stimulate interpretive flexibility and improvisational breadth, and to develop the relationship between the conscious mind and sub-conscious imagination. BIIE avidly collaborates with other faculty, staff, and student interdisciplinary artists on campus and in the community, including dancers, poets, film makers, and curious audiences. Their sensitive ensemble music is exploratory by nature–acoustic, organic, and avante-modern–as they examine music as “aesthetically organized sound,” improvisation as “spontaneous composition,” and ensemble as “instant orchestration and staging.”
Space Infiltration Project
This project also grew out of the Bucknell Innovation Group, and aims to infiltrate public spaces on campus with what might be termed “flash innovation.” Examples might include setting up interactive games for the university community to play and/or watch; teaching class sessions in residence halls to open up discussions to a wider community; and presenting Tina Cody’s Double-Take project in the LC Hearth Space or on the Academic Quad. The goal is to allow our entire community to see the different learning possibilities at Bucknell and to open up discussion about space needs and uses.
** Special thanks to Mark Hutchinson, Heath Hansum, and Aaron Meyers for the technical support they provided in realizing this project.
In preparation for the final performance, Joe Tranquillo and Phil Haynes led an improv workshop with BIIE and the Sculpture 2 students.