Keynote – Miya Masaoka

The Shifting of Identity is Always There, not Always Visible or Obvious

Objects in the room, surfaces of the floors, ceilings and walls become animated with the sometimes-unpredictable behavior of reflected sound. Hyper-directional microphones within the chambers creates feedback that are an always dynamic space with changing weather conditions, humidity, and pressure.

We can identify listening as a practice and create diverse modalities of listening; questions remain such as how is this relevant to our lives, can our artwork, music and listening techniques challenge assumed consciousness, awareness of our habitual listening?

How does Acoustic feedback, related physical structures, objects, and interactive reflective surfaces in a room and reveal conditions of everyday life? Musical scores and particular objects can focus awareness on qualities of the listening experience. The Illusory, the imaginary and a conceptual framework can be identified and articulated to better cross into new territories and highlight the fragility of what we think of as encounters with sound.

Additionally, re-imagining the human body as an embodied but repressed instrument for listening as written in the artist’s essay, “The Vagina is the Third Ear,” in The Drama Review will be folded into these lines of inquiry.

Miya Masaoka

Miya Masaoka is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and 2023 Rome Prize fellow. A composer, sound artist and musician, her work explores bodily perception of vibration, movement and time while foregrounding complex timbre relationships. She has created a body of work that encompasses interdisciplinary sound art, hybrid acoustic/electronic performance, improvisation, music composition, research, sound installations, listening, and interactive media. She creates instruments, three-dimensional scores, wearable computing, and sonifies the behavior of plants. She uses sound, gesture, temporality and diverse materials such as clay, ink, paint to create scores and installations.

Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale, MoMA PS1, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Toronto Biennial, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, the ICA, PA and commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony, EMPAC and the Library of Congress. The BBC Scottish Orchestra, Jack Quartet, Bang on a Can, Del Sol, Dal Niente, Ostrava Days, S.E.M. Orchestra, Glasgow Choir, Either/Or Ensemble, Momenta, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) have performed her work. She was a Studio Artist for the Park Avenue Armory, and has received a Doris Duke Artist Award, a Fulbright and an Alpert Award.

She is an Associate Professor at Columbia University and directs the Sound Art Program in Visual Arts. Her critical writing has been published by TDR (The Theater Review) including her essay, “The Vagina is the Third Ear,” and she has a forthcoming essay in an anthology edited by Douglas Kahn and Pia van Gelder.