Cybernetic Serendipity at the National Academy of Sciences

by Sharath Chandra Ram

‘Creativity and Collaboration: Revisiting Cybernetic Serendipity’ was hosted at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cybernetic serendipity exhibition curated in 1968 that brought together experimental electronic and interactive media artists under one roof. The event brought together leading experts from the fields of technology, art and science who were trying to deal with complex questions that surround transdisciplinary collaborations and was supported and funded by Google inc. and the Arthur M Sackler Foundation.

Sharath Chandra Ram was one of the selected panel speakers in the student-led-symposium that included 24 other graduate researchers from the North American region. His talk was titled “Listening Machines : New Interfaces between Art Science and Technology Policy. Outlining his ongoing research in these area, Chandra showed how his media art interventions exposed various machine listening infrastructures that used the properties of sound as a mode of information cognition and transmission. From the early stone-acoustic mirrors that served as aircraft radars, transmissions intercepted from  orbiting polar satellites in outer space, to experiments with interactive and assistive audio interfaces of the present day, his talk also explored various facets of information & technology  policy that regulated the use such infrastructures.
He concluded his talk with his current research that explores the design of new information interaction metaphors for auditory interfaces by shifting the focus from Human-Computer Interaction(HCI) to Human Data Interaction (HDI). By transforming findings in the realm of cognitive neuroscience, and re-applying them to design data sonification and auditory representations of information, Chandra seeks to develop perceptual evaluation methods to help improve and augment the efficacy of information interfaces using sound.
A brief overview of Chandra’s ongoing research on data sonification