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Musical performance with live animations shaped by emotional online survey

Artist Adinda van ‘t Klooster creates Affect Formations in collaboration with Durham University

Artist Adinda van ’t Klooster is inviting people to complete an online survey and in doing so contribute to an innovative artwork merging music, science and visual art. The Affect Formations project with the Music Department of Durham University explores the relationship between our emotional response to drawings and musical features through several public performances in the North East.

International artist Adinda van ‘t Klooster is artist in residence at the Durham University Music Department between October 2014 and April 2015. She is collaborating on two artistic research projects, culminating in two live performances.

Within the first project, the artist creates novel electronic soundscapes designed to evoke emotion, and explore the relationship between sound and emotional affect. Professor Tuomas Eerola, leader in the field of emotion and music, will evaluate the emotional response to these soundscapes.  In most previous investigations of music and emotion, Western classical music has dominated, so the use of electronic music is a novelty.

The second project involves the creation of two live audiovisual interfaces with Dr. Nick Collins, Reader in Composition. For the ‘In a State’ performance, a computer captures live audio from an improvising pianist and analyses the emotions expressed in the music.  As the emotions change, so do projected abstract animated graphics, based on drawings by the artist. The pianist is accompanied by a computer agent generating its own music in response and the computer’s music is also visualized with further animated graphics. A second piece uses sensors that record physiological responses like heart rate, brainwaves and perspiration. The artist says: “I will then use this data to estimate what the musicians feel: whether they are tense or calm, happy or sad. Then I visualise these emotions through animated drawings. The aim of this work is to provide innovative ways for the computer and human musicians to improvise together in new emotive ways.”

A research survey that looks at how people rate the emotional expression in abstract graphics, created by the artist, is being used to help determine the choice of visual elements in the performances. Please participate in this online survey here.

Two innovative concerts will take place in the North East, one at Durham University on the 27th of February and a second at the Sage Gateshead on the 19th March 2015. More information on the project can be found at

This residency is made possible by a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence grant and a small grant for the arts from the Arts Council England.

You can Follow the project for updates and the regular blog on Twitter @AffectFormation and on Facebook at Affect Formations.


Stephen Livingstone – Leverhulme Residency at The School of Engineering and Computer Sciences, Durham University.

livingstone 2The 12 month residency beginning in September 2014 will involve me working alongside the ROBUST research team headed by Dr. Karen Johnson based at the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

ROBUST stands for the Regeneration of Brownfield Land Using Sustainable Technologies and was set up to investigate the potential for using waste materials (such as manganese and ferric oxides, the by-products of water treatment processes) to remediate contaminated land.

I am interested in the impact which human activity has upon landscapes and habitats and my work often involves the use of pigments made from earth, minerals and ashes. Karen came across some of my work in an exhibition at the university and immediately saw a connection with her own concerns.

I have an open brief to respond to the work of the project and I have begun with a series of exploratory drawings using ferric oxide, coal and galena (lead ore), reflecting upon some of the processes used to observe and analyse contaminated soils. I am also interested in rammed earth technologies and hope to explore the potential of this most ancient of construction techniques.

livingstone 1Much of my recent work has involved moth populations, the recording of moth species in specific locations or natural history collections and the use of this data in the development of images and artefacts. “Moths and Moons”, commissioned by the British Library, was exhibited at the World Heritage Site Visitors Centre on Palace Green as part of the Lindisfarne Gospels festival and “Gathering Dust”, a moth installation commissioned by the National Trust, is currently showing at Acorn Bank House in Cumbria. During the residency I shall be conducting a moth survey of the Science Site ans possibly producing a new body of work in response to the results.

Stephen Livingstone studied Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art and competed his MA at Chelsea College of Art. He has worked in community arts and art education and has exhibited widely throughout the UK and abroad including at the Museum of Art and Design in New York.

Laura Harrington: Leverhulme Artist in Residence

Laura Harrington is commencing an 11 month Leverhulme funded Artist Residency with the Geography Department. The focus of the residency will be the peatlands and uplands of the North Pennines, which will inform the making of a number of new works. She will be working closely with Invisible Dust (together with Woodhorn Museum), The North Pennines AONB Partnership and New Writing North as part of Durham Book Festival 14.

(Hummocks are your friends (eroded Peat), 2012)

(Hummocks are your friends (eroded Peat), 2012)

Laura says that the subject matter of geomorphology has become a recent concern in her, understanding how and why a landscape changes over time offers a hugely poetic starting to point to thinking about new work. Laura has previously made ‘Layerscape (peat bogs)’ a 16 mm film with sound in collaboration with Sarah Bouttell, Deborah Bower and Lee Patterson. Peering into the variegated life of the peatlands, she explored its wet fecundity; the vibrancy of the peat and the flora. In a contrasting arid environment of the Sierra de Maria National Park (Andalucia, Spain) she made a series of intricate drawings as a result of exploring the vegetation and dry landscape of the surrounding landscape to offer what she hopes is an alternative guide/story to the area – how it was formed, how it has changed and how human activity has altered or affected its character. Her exploration focussed on finding evidence of disappearance, change or vulnerability through forms and remnants from occurrences such as drought, flooding, erosion and human intervention.

(Layerscape an excerpt)

She has also collaborated with sound artists Kaffe Matthews, Lee Patterson and Jana Winderen to explore ‘the energy, power, ecology and destruction of the waterways in Northumberland through the medium of sound’. She wanted a work that traced ‘rivers as the veins of the country. They cause destruction and pleasure; change course, flood, flow fast and slow until they merge into the sea and are vital for a huge range of migratory fish, habitats, and people.’


More about her work can be found here