Leonard Paul
Michael Harenberg
Keiichi Yano
Julian Oliver

Interact Symposium

The Future of Music, Games + Art
Jan 31 2010
Entrance fee: 
Day pass or festival ticket

The A MAZE. Interact Symposium provides the theoretical backdrop for the theme of convergences between computer games and music. Both media blur the borders between pop culture and high culture. Both are based on the creative design of new experiences. Both can entertain. Both can cause despair. Both thrive from and with other media. Using computer games as a starting point, the lectures of top-class international speakers offer fascinating insights into the networks and strategies applied by a complex media compound, which challenge and alter existing production and reception methods.

The format of the symposium is designed to be both, interactive and informative. Beginning with a keynote by Keiichi Yano on the future of music games, practinioners, artists, and scholars share their insights into their elaborate work. Martin Pichlmair, Leonard Paul, Michael Harenberg, and Julian Oliver all have quite different backgrounds but share a common experience in mixing game culture, game design, game aesthetics, and game theory with music. The host, Barbara Lippe, is a living example of these convergences, as she is a game girl, a game scholar, a game designer, and a game music networker at the same time.

Adding to the content of the presentations and the interventions by the audience, Anne-Kathrin Pheline Binz, David Rusitschka, and Timo Schneider from the MA Sound Studies of the University of the Arts Berlin create a sound scape commenting and conducting the program.

Barbara Lippe (AT)

Host (Jan 31, 15:30)

Art Director, conference coordinator, and game consultant living and working around the world. She recently founded Track-Record.net, a novel platform around merging good music with good games.

Dr. Barbara Lippe holds a Master’s degree in Multimedia Art and a PhD in cultural studies with a dissertation on girls, videogames, and Japan, called ‘Game Boys for Play Girls!’

As DJane Rippe she also performs at the Jump'n Run Bonus Cheat together with DJ Christian Candid.


Martin Pichlmair (AT)

Tracing the History of Synaesthetic Video Games and Media Artwork (Jan 31, 16:45)

Game designer, media artist and researcher living and working in Vienna, Austria. Pichlmair holds a PhD in Informatics and was assistant professor at the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology at the Vienna University of Technology between 2004 and 2009.

His art pieces have been shown at various international exhibitions and festivals including Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, Microwave Festival and MANIFESTA7. Currently, Pichlmair is establishing his own game company: Studio Radiolaris.

"Radio Flare Redux is a new way to experience music. It is a video game designed to render contemporary electronic music an interactive experience. A shoot ’em up where your enemies are slaves to the rhythm. A synaesthetic voyage through space. The level design of Radio Flare Redux is closely tied to music. Every sound event triggers a gameplay event. Each level is a song. Radio Flare Redux is a very experimental game that challenges traditional notions of gameplay. There are no lives and there is no game over. Just music in hyperspace.

The lecture will present the game Radio Flare Redux and trace the history of synaesthetic video games and media artworks – from Kandinsky to Rez, from Frank Malina to wipeOut."


Leonard J. Paul (CA)

Droppin' Science: Video Game Audio Breakdown (Jan 31, 17:30)

Musician, composer, video game audio coder. Teacher at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and lecturer at diverse events like the Game Developers Conference and the New Forms Festival.

Leonard J. Paul attained his Honours Degree in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University specializing in Electro-acoustics. Apart from working on a multitude of games, such as EA's 'Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2' and Rockstar's 'Max Payne 2', he also composed the soundtrack of the award-winning documentary 'The Corporation', and DJs as 'Freaky DNA'.

"Droppin' science is simply giving knowledge on a topic and in this case, the topic is interactive music. A breakdown in music is when the music is stripped down the bare essentials, so this talk will do the same by stripping away the layers around how game audio works down to the core. Related fields of live electronic music performance, interactive audio in art installations and more will also be covered to show how they all share essential elements in the nature of their production and transmission to the audience and participants."

Leonard Paul also gives a seminar on Game Audio Design.


Michael Harenberg (CH)

Computer Games as Auditive Virtual Environments (Jan 31, 19:00)

Head of the degree program Music and Media Art as well as professor for sound design and media theory at the University of Arts in Bern.

Prof. Dr. Michael Harenberg majored in musicology (University of Giessen) and composition (Darmstadt). Later he did his PhD in media studies at the University of Basel. Harenberg works with digital sound culture on a theoretical and practical level. As chairman of the German Association for Electro-acoustic Music, he manages the DEGEM web-radio.

"Computer games constitute media environments for applied nonlinear musical processes. These processes have been proved in formal and compositional experiments in contemporary music, but were not accepted by a broader audience. Early attempts by composers like Iannis Xenakis, Edgar Varèse, Herbert Brün and Gottfried Michael Koenig did not succeed in our actual sound culture which is dominated by digital media. The area of film was the most established and earliest field for experiments with musical time and space in virtual auditive environments. In contrast, microforms of synthetic sound-synthesis, like granular-synthesis or physical-modeling, are using non-linear processes since their introduction.

Synthetic acoustic spaces, as constructed in interactive computer games, are prototypes for new structures of a new digital mediality. Therefore, a quality is added by the integration of the diverse sound cultures in global online networks, implemented in mobile devices such as iPhone or Google Nexus. These mobile „gadgets“ offer these processes a specific hybrid of corporality in the man-machine-interaction."


Julian Oliver (NZ)

The Computer Game as Musical Instrument (Jan 31, 19:45)

Julian Oliver is a New Zealand-born artist, game developer and lecturer.

He has given numerous workshops and master classes in game design, artistic game development and interface design as well as augmented reality and open source development practices worldwide.

His work is shown at internationally recognized museums and electronic art events. His spatial-memory game, ‘LevelHead’, received an Honorary Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica, 2008 in the category, Interactive Art. With ‘Fijuu2’ (2006), he establishes a strong relationship between his art and music. These audiovisual experiences allow for emerging compositions. Julian Oliver lives and works in Berlin.

In his lecture Julian will draw parallels between contemporary sound-based
games and 20th Century experimental instrument design, positioning such
games as the grandchildren of early, radical ideas within Western (noise)
Abstracting further, Julian will propose that videogames are at their very
essence 'instruments' and fulfill a curious role as such...

Fijuu2 is playable at the Jump'n Run Bonus Cheat.