VT Moss Arts Center Cube offers unique music research and performances

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Research at Virginia Tech is turning into art.

By Thursday, work being done Monday through Thursday will be used in once-in-a-lifetime performances open to the public.

It's all thanks to a 3D cube at the Moss Arts Center.

The four story tall cube features 360 degree video projection, 24 infrared motion capture cameras, and nearly 150 speakers to create an immersive feeling into what people are seeing and hearing.

Researchers around the country, from places all around the world, traveled to Blacksburg to work with the one of a kind cube to create new music and sound.

Shani Aviram is a composer and Sound Designer living and working in Philadelphia.

She said, "It's really rare to have an opportunity to not only perform in the space, but be given this much time to, kind of, play around and try different things, especially with something new that we're kind of still exploring what the lengths of it can be."

The cube, created in 2014, is much different than a typical radio playing music from the left and right.

Eric Lyon works with the cube regularly as a Music Technology and Composition Associate Professor at Virginia Tech.

He explained, "We plug in one Ethernet cable to the computer and the computer sends out up to 128 channels on one card, and then we can stack them."

The means more than 140 speakers on every wall, on the ceiling, and even big enough to feel in the floor.

The researchers are working on original pieces which will be performed for people starting on Thursday in the second annual Cube fest.

"Rather than sound coming towards you, it's going to be all around you and you will be inhabiting the sound almost as if you're inside of a really rich sculpture," Lyon said.

Performances will feature videos playing along with the sounds and live dancers musicians controlling the moving music as they go, creating realistic sounds.

Maraget Schedel is an Associate Professor of Music at Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY and the Director of the Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture, and Technology.

She was preparing a piece for Cube fest Monday.

She said of the experience, "Really exploring what the limits are, what we can reproduce artificially, which maybe would reflect more of what we experience in the real world."

Performances for Cube Fest are as follows:

August 3, 7:30PM - Research ReSounds

Join six international artists and researchers as they push the boundaries of creativity and innovation through original compositions created specifically for the Cube.

August 4, 7:30PM - Maria Chavez

New York-based sound artist, abstract turntablist, and DJ Maria Chavez will put her unique spin on the Cube by merging the practice of improvisation with the inherently unstable conditions of a turntable. This practice allows accidents to dictate each sound piece, which, alongside her award-winning audio and visual work, create a full sensory experience of sights and sounds.

August 5, 3:00PM - Cube Fest Community Workshop

Terence Caulkins, one of the designers of the Cube, hosts this educational and informative workshop. Caulkins will discuss what makes the Cube so special and provide a peek into the Cube’s inner workings. This community event is a must for anyone interested in learning what makes the Cube tick.

August 5, 5:30PM - Sounds in Space

This fully immersive fixed media concert explores the unknown edges of electroacoustic music and spatial sound. Taking full advantage of the Cube’s 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system, “Sounds in Space” will create one-of-a-kind sonic environments.

Augusy 5, 7:30PM - Hypersonic

Part hip-hop battle, part dance off, and all action, join local DJ and Virginia Tech alumnus Electrobro (Adam Wirdzek) as he squares off against Electroskip and the Random Ninjaz Dance Crew in an all-out experience that combines turntablism, hip-hop dance choreography, and shoes that become instruments.

August 5, 9:30PM - Listening Lounge: Whole Lotta Cube

Experience the music of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, through the Cube’s 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system. “Whole Lotta Cube” will spatialize the band’s second studio album, “Led Zeppelin II.”

August 6, 3:00PM - Cube Fest Community Workshop

The second part of this educational series is hosted by leading audio researcher Robert Normandeau and features an in-depth look at immersive sound spatialization and new tools developed at the University of Montreal.

August 6, 5:30PM - Sounds in Motion

This audio/visual experience features live performers who combine immersive technologies and original performance works designed to explore the spaces between human expression, art, and technology.

August 6, 7:30PM - Auragami

Unfold your ears with a concert of audio envelopment. “Auragami” features the music of Secret Chiefs 3, remixed specifically for the Cube. Experience fusions of surf rock, film music, Middle Eastern polyrhythms, electronic music, and death metal diffused over 150 loudspeakers.

August 6, 9:30PM - Repeat Performance - Listening Lounge: Whole Lotta Cube

Experience the music of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, through 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system. “Whole Lotta Cube” will spatialize the band’s second studio album, “Led Zeppelin II.”

August 5 and 6, 2:00 - 9:00PM each day, From Within a Field.

An ongoing electroacoustic performance piece for multi-channel speaker systems that started in 2013, “From Within a Field” explores the relationship between sound and the listener, where the sound material is strung and woven together for the present moment.

Tickets at $10 per person, and free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID.

To buy tickets, click here.

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