Emergent Phenomena

Emergent Phenomena


There will always be something irreplaceable about the silent contemplation of a great painting. However, there is opportunity for that relationship to be pushed further so that the presence and actions of the viewer affect and change the artwork itself.  My interactive sound and painting act in concert to create a living being, resonant and reactive. The inspiration for this work comes from my own personal experience of improvisation in music, and the experience of listening and creating at the same time. It is my hope that this type of interactive artwork can lead towards a similar interactive process.


In making my interactive sound work, an important consideration was to make it function in conjunction with the painting, creating a unified piece. The design and creation was a long process that included spending time in the studio playing various instruments and studying their relationship with the paintings, as well as testing a number of different computer algorithms. In the end, the sound creates multiple overlapping sound lines that merging into a cloud of sound, inspired by György Ligeti’s micropolyphonic sound clouds of dense musical textures.


The focus of the work is on the experience,  listening and interacting; therefore, the hardware for the sound is hidden to allow the viewer to focus on the unique experience, rather than the technical facilities. The sound carries a heartbeat like rhythmic pulsing that continues regardless of the presence or absence of viewers, as a living being does not cease to be when we are not near to it. This pulsing is low enough that one can remain outside of the sensor space and quietly contemplate the painting, accompanied by the rhythmic heartbeat, or the viewer can become an interactant and enter into the reactive senor space.

Leave a Reply



New Book!

Click here to buy

See Color.

Learn about color relationships and movements.

Working with color is attractive and yet challenging. In this book we will develop a flexible and lively understanding of color on a personal level. This will help us become more aware of and sensitive to colors, and to better understand their interactions and uses.



Framed Prints Now Available


Click here to See More

Framed Prints of my paintings.

Ready for hanging on your wall.

Makes a wonderful gift!

On Key

Related Posts

Touching Twombly

“That is the most touched painting in the museum”

~ Security guard at the RISD Art Museum in reference to the Cy Twombly painting

Paul Klee and Musical Polyphony

Perhaps the biggest decision in Paul Klee’s life was whether to pursue a career as a musician or as a painter. Klee especially liked the music of the 18th century, composers such as Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as Haydn and Schubert.

Rothko and Michelangelo

In thinking about a series of paintings he gave to the Tate Gallery in 1968 and 1969, Rothko spoke of Michelangelo’s walls in the staircase room of the Medici Library in Florence.