OneBeat Labs: Music & Futurism

OneBeat Labs:

Music & Futurism


Objectives: To learn about how technology can be used to support creative expression, free speech, and democratic participation. To discuss how technological advances can be harmful to or hinder these things, and how we can address those challenges.

Critical Questions: How do we define technology?  How are artists using changing technologies as a creative medium? How have advances in technology supported free speech & creative expression, particularly through sound/music and storytelling? What are the drawbacks of technological advances to artists & to democratic participation, and how can creative uses of technology (and creative expression using technology) address these?


Unit 1 – Relationship to Technology


Opening Discussion: What is your personal relationship to technology today? What is your favorite technology to use?

Reading: Excerpt from Kurzweil’s Spiritual Machines (link TBD)

Q1: What do we mean by Technology here? How are we defining Technology?

Q2: Name a few technology(s) that we take for granted, or that remain invisible to us?

Exercise: Start a ‘wall of amazing’ board — a class list of artists using technology in incredible, inspiring or uber-creative ways. Add a few artists or examples to this list.

  • Artist subverting technology for creative expression.
  • Artists engaging with new technologies
  • Artists engaged directly with popular technologies

Exercise: Revisit the Broken Orchestra Typewriter that we learned about in Module 1. Write a piece/poem/composition on the broken orchestra typewriter website and email it to yourself. It does not need to make sense either linguistically or musically.

Discuss / Share: Share a few Broken Orchestra pieces & discuss the experience. What feels different about writing this way? What avenues are opened up or not using this technology?

HW: Search around on Experiments with Google & try out some different applications. What are you drawn to? How does the application affect your creativity?



Opening Discussion: Share about your experience with Experiments with Google. What did you like? What was challenging?

Video: Watch and learn about Ng Chor Guan’s Mobile Phone Orchestra

Discussion: What are his underlying goals and explorations with this work? What do you find innovative about it?

Exercise: In small groups, discover your favorite sounds on your own mobile devices or on technology available to you in the room you are in. Try not to use pre-existing songs or videos (eg. youtube videos or spotify playlists). Can you come up with an idea for your own piece using these devices? Write a score or idea for a piece.

More coming soon!


Return to Unit Overview