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  contrat CNRS - Audio Urbain et Étendu - (2008/2009) 
  contrat PUF - TransatLab Research: Actual/Virtual Sound, Space and Objects - (2008/2011) 
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  2005/2007 -
Audio Geo / Audio Sites (DAP 2008) 

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11/2005 - Symposium 1 - Audio/Espaces/Réseaux 
04/2006 - Symposium 2 - Audio Geo 
11/2006 - Symposium 3 - Audio Sites 
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2008/2011 - franco-american research programme

PUF - Partner University Fund
Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States (Washington)

puf is a program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), the American nonprofit foundation and partner of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.


Objet de la recherche

TransAtLab Research: Actual/Virtual sound, space and object
New Atlantis


Dossier de demande / Application

dossier pdf
Rapport de recherche / Report

TransatLab website
Research Institutional framework

PUF Fund FAQ
FACE Mission (fr)
SAIC
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

ESA Aix en Provence
School of Arts Aix en Provence

ENSA Nice Villa Arson
National School of Arts Nice Villa Arson

Based on the deepening of a former FACE partnership, both partners have launched a new concept in artistic creation: the Transatlab. This work will include multiple domains such as live networked sound streams, 3D virtual reality immersive environments, and robotics. Students and teaching staff will be involved in two annual joint workshops on both sides of the Atlantic which could also be broadcast online in real time. A group of 4 to 6 top level graduate students will be invited to participate in trans-disciplinary trans-atlantic research projects initiated by the departments with the two schools. This will allow graduate students the time and resources to develop this work into a platform for artistic creation. It also intends to create a pedagogical platform taking place both on site as well as on line using network tools to coordinate the two sites and encourage further exchange of expertise. Regular online publications will be issued, research and teaching being regularly updated via the Transatlab website. Conferences, real and virtual, will be organized to better communicate Transatlab’s research activities to a wider public.

We observed quickly that sound was an indispensable element in all of the work, and that there is a significant advantage in placing it in the forefront as we study the sound-space continuum in the realm of the physical and virtual space. Such interaction will advance the research that has already begun between the Sound Program and the Art and Technology Program at the SAIC, and Locus Sonus, a collaborative facilitated by Peter Sinclair (ESAA) and Jérôme Joy (Villa Arson, Nice). Furthermore, Locus Sonus has expanded in collaboration with institutions across France, and given the SAIC’s deep history of sound experiment—perhaps the longest standing Art & Technology and Sound Programs of any art schools in the US—one could understand how easily we acclimated to common research. So far, we have found common interest in sound research using languages such as Max/MSP, Pure Data (open source), Python, Processing, STREAPS, etc., as well as homemade and commercial interface hardware such as the Arduino Board and ArtBus (http://www.transatlab.net/).




  • Introduction

    Audiences have eyes as well as ears. — John Cage


    While our first three years of research delved into several areas of investigation: sound, Virtual Reality (VR), telecommunications and streaming, mecatronics and light (see FACE program 2005/2008), we submit that a logical transition would be to focus on the areas that proved most fitting and fruitful to the strengths of each institution.

    We observed quickly that sound was an indispensable element in all of the work, and that there is a significant advantage in placing it in the forefront as we study the sound-space continuum in the realm of the physical and virtual space. Such interaction will advance the research that has already begun between the Sound Program and the Art and Technology Program at the SAIC, and Locus Sonus, a collaborative facilitated by Peter Sinclair (ESAA) and Jérôme Joy (Villa Arson, Nice). Furthermore, Locus Sonus has expanded in collaboration with institutions across France, and given the SAIC’s deep history of sound experiment—perhaps the longest standing Art & Technology and Sound Programs of any art schools in the US—one could understand how easily we acclimated to common research. So far, we have found common interest in sound research using languages such as Max/MSP, Pure Data (open source), Python, Processing, STREAPS, etc., as well as homemade and commercial interface hardware such as the Arduino Board and ArtBus (http://www.transatlab.net/).

    In addition, we will continue to explore the relationship between the physical and virtual domain, visual as well as acoustic through our VR labs. Since 2001, SAIC has maintained an active teaching and research lab featuring a C-Wall VR system, a projection-based interactive stereoscopic display based on the well-known CAVE technology.

  • Recent Developments (2005/2008)

    In order to develop collaborative virtual environments, a VR lab had to be developed in Aix. In 2007, Ricardo Garcia (ESAA), Ben Chang (SAIC), and Robb Drinkwater (SAIC) successfully built a C-Wall system at ESAA, using computers from the Atelier 3D and a new stereoscopic rear-projection screen. The January 2007 workshop saw the completion of this system, experimental pieces in VR by students, and plans for the development of a multi-user interactive environment based on soundscapes and virtual audio.

    Hence, the time was right for the development of other solutions for immersive environments, with specific goals in mind. These included cross-platform compatibility; compatibility with both the 3DSMax and Maya modeling packages for Windows and Linux; the use of free and open-source software; low technical learning curve; low-cost motion tracking; and compatibility with Pure Data and other digital sound programming languages. In 2007, faculty at ESAA and SAIC pursued research on developing this system, including evaluations of open-source graphics programming environments including OGRE, Panda, and Open Scene Graph; the use of the Nintendo WiiMote controller as a low-cost alternative to the Ascension Flock of Birds motion tracker; and evaluation of new developments in head-mount display technology. The two schools acquired matching sets of equipment, including the eMagin Z800 head-mount, a pair of 3D "goggles" that gives the wearer a complete sense of immersion in virtual space. At SAIC, the z800 was integrated into the existing CAVE/C-Wall lab, used in student projects, and installed as part of a month-long public exhibition of student VR work in Chicago. Other student projects laid out the framework for integrating the OGRE game engine, the WiiMote motion tracker, and Pure Data using the Python programming language in Linux. At ESAA, faculty and students developed the framework for integrating these same components - the head-mount display, the WiiMote, and the Python programming language - with the Panda3D graphics engine on Windows.

    These efforts provided the groundwork for the January 2008 workshop in Aix, which will focus on the production of a two-player virtual environment for the exploration of virtual soundscapes over a three-week period. This workshop will serve two experimental purposes in addition to the primary artwork production: evaluation of the new VR system in an educational environment, and the development of working processes with the group of students from SAIC and ESAA which can be carried forward into collaborations and linked courses over the next two years.

    We will continue to work in sound and VR, not as separate entities, but as complementary systems to explore the psychology and sociology of new environments both real and virtual. A preliminary workshop investigating how to integrate sounds and objects in the physical world with virtualized settings in Second Life, took place at the SAIC with faculty from both institutions. In-house hardware interfaces for real-world object control and interactivity have been recently developed by Ed Bennett (SAIC) – the ArtBus, and Jean-Pierre Mandon (ESAA) – the PIC. These devices are expected to play an increasingly major role in the relationship of the virtual world and physical objects in the areas of mecatronics, yet another interest shared among our students and faculty (see TransAtLab).

    As a major aspect of our continued relationship, advanced graduate students or resident “fellows” (post Masters level) and faculty would step up communication via teleconferencing. Our communal group projects rely on various “tele techniques,” i.e. interfaces capable of sending and receiving multiple audio streams from multiple locations) CAVE (VR teleconferencing and physical motion transfer via internet). The ESAA and the SAIC successfully participated in long distance virtual lectures and conferences. Over a proposed three-year period, we propose that the ESAA and SAIC conduct much of the research virtually over improved and dedicated Internet trunk lines. New research and teaching strategies are inevitable. After three years, we would expect to see a different and invigorated academic syllabus and research methodology in the arts.

  • ORIGINALITY AND THE INNOVATIVE ASPECT OF THE PROJECT

    The Transatlab project is at the cutting edge of new technologies and their application to artistic creation. An important part of the two schools' activities involve the creation of new platforms for artistic creation and their integration into the pedagogical process.

    One of the central aspects of Transatlab will involve the further development of new pedagogical and artistic tools, based on ideas and techniques explored in the original three year face project by the Chicago/Aix team. Some of the domains of this work included live networked sound streams and algorithmic sound generation, 3d virtual reality immersive environments (cave) with creative tools for virtual world creation, networked electronics and robotics, as well as innovative interfaces using live video analysis for gesture recognition.

    In the second phase of its development, Translatlab proposes a new approach from the participating departments centering around more specific research-based collaboration that will extend these activities. It aslo intends to create a pedagogical platform taking place both on-site as well as online, using network tools to co-ordinate the two sites and encourage further exchange of expertise.

    Instead of merely exchanging students within the framework of an inter-school exchange program, a very small group (4-6) of top-level graduate students will be invited to participate in trans-disciplinary trans-atlantic research projects initiated by the departments within the two schools. The goal is to allow graduate and recently graduated “fellows,“ whose work already or potentially engages the research aims of the schools, the time and resources to develop this work into a platform for artistic creation

    What makes sound study at art schools different than music at conservatories is that here composers and sound artists use sound as material, much like a sculptor or painter. That is, the physical and acoustic properties of sound are pre-eminent; sound is not simply the medium through which music passes, but a structural, perceptual, environmental, social and psychic phenomenon. Our use of sound research and performance via the Internet has taken us into the realm of an audio/neural network—an area ripe for more experimentation. Another look at the Transatlab site (attached Pdf) shows our current involvement with issues of audio streaming, live and virtual performance, sonic environments, aural and visual memory.

    Distance learning is becoming increasingly widespread. In our research, we see telecommunications: audio and video streaming, web broadcasting, video conferencing, Internet art, and other developments that have gained permanence. To the art world the ramifications are abundant, particularly in a reevaluation of what it is to be an artist and how one defines authorship in art and research. In the creative arts as in life, young artists tend to be the barometer of change and trends. Institutions scurry to define “interdisciplinary” well after their students are already practicing it. We feel that graduate students, resident fellows and faculty have much to gain from the exchange program. Our faculties and students are enlivened by globalization through the immediacy of the Internet. We have already begun transatlantic interactions. It is therefore reasonable to presume, considering the natural convergence, past history, and excellence of both the SAIC and the ESAA, that this new collaboration will be long-lived and highly beneficial to Franco-American relations.

  • EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THIS PROJECT

    There will be regular online publications with workshops, research and teaching being regularly updated via the Transatlab website. Conferences, real and virtual, will also used to better communicate Transatlab’s research activities to a wider public.

    Students and teaching staff will be involved in two annual joint workshops on both sides of the Atlantic (Aix & Chicago), which could also be broadcast online in real-time.

    A yearly symposium will also take place in either Aix or Chicago.

  • The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is proud to have provided a world-class art and design education since its founding in 1866. Cultivating creativity and innovation in its curriculum, SAIC's faculty and students have extended the School's influence on contemporary art and design throughout the United States and around the world.
    Recognized as an innovator in the arts since its inception more than 125 years ago, and internationally esteemed as a school of art and design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers a comprehensive college education centered in the visual and related arts. Believing that the artist's success is dependent on both creative vision and technical expertise, the School encourages excellence, critical inquiry, research, and experimentation. Art and Technology Studies (ATS) is an interdisciplinary program in which students explore the application of both standard and emerging technologies to art making in the widest possible context. Graduate students in ATS possess a strong background in technology, electronics, computers, and technical experimentation and should be prepared to integrate these skills into the creative process. The art and technology studies department enhances this process by providing an innovative forum for trrans-disciplinary research in the arts. Founded in 1969, the Kinetics and Electronics area is the oldest of its kind in the nation, and the more recent Robotics, Telecommunications, and Immersive Environment laboratories are among the most active. Similarly, the Department of Sound, created in the early 1970s, offers a unique program among art schools in the creative use of sound that goes well beyond the boundaries of a typical program in visual art, music, or multimedia. Students in Sound may pursue the creation and recording of audio work; the composition of music in numerous genres; live performance, improvisation, and audio installation; the integration of sound in other media, such as video, film, performance, and web-based art; designing and building software and hardware instruments; and distribution technologies (radio, Internet, etc.).

    At the SAIC, MFA's are primarily based on Graduate Projects (one-on-one private tutorials) graduate seminar classes, and art history requirements. There are no "requirements" per se in terms of course sequences in each discipline. We simply give an MFA, not a Masters in Sound, or Art and technology, etc. Hence, most of our technical courses are at the advanced undergraduate level. It is quite common for entering graduate students, who wish to hone certain skills, to enroll in these classes. The offerings include courses and workshops in immersive VR, telecommunication, robotics, 3D animation, machine control electronics, art of surveillance, internet-based art, algorithmic composition, automated composition, sound-spatialization, cognitive psychology, digital sound, hardware hacking, etc. Our graduate seminars in ATS and Sound feature a variety of topics from specialized electronic and kinetic issues, art and biology, telecommunications, sound composition, etc. We envision that visiting students from Aix would avail themselves of these courses in addition to the six to nine hours of Graduate Projects that deal with the student's own work (which would specialize in the areas that we expect to concentrate on in the exchange). Similarly, SAIC students would pursue courses and workshops at Locus Sonus in Audio and Space: installation, mobility, architectural space, virtual space, public space, interactivity, narrative, context, augmented reality; and Networked Audio Systems: group, experimental collectives, artistic collectives, game collectives, digital-audio marching bands, streaming, radioblogs, transfer protocols, downloading, consensual and participatory protocols, interfaces, streams, listening apparatuses. In addition we expect that the fruits of our collaborative labors will integrate the students and progress as follows.

  • Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts d'Aix en Provence (ESAA)
    Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Art Villa Arson Nice (ENSA Nice)


    Since the creation of its research program, positioned at the intersection of art, science and technology, the Aix-en-Provence School of Art has been exploring the potential of sound art and music; whether autonomous, interdisciplinary or of an interactive nature, as found in physical or virtual installations or within the exploration of creative online networking. Integrated into ESAA, Locus Sonus is a research facility with a program of study specializing in audio arts and hybridized developments between sound and other art forms. Led by Jérôme Joy and Peter Sinclair, it explores the vast area open to creative experimentation between visual art and musical practices. The program utilizes resources made available at ESAA. In addition, there is a growing network of local, national and international partners engaged in closely related activities. Locus Sonus functions on a yearly basis, recruiting students whose previous work shows an engagement in the areas quoted above. Likely candidates are French MFA (DNSEP) post-graduates and American graduate studio art students, but there is also an interest in those qualified in music, architecture, sociology, etc. As often as possible, Locus Sonus' activities are made available to the public through concerts, symposiums, exhibitions, webcasts, databases publications etc.






  • The French-American Fund for University Partnerships -
    PUF - Partner University Fund
    GRANTEES 2008-2011


    The members of the PUF Grant Review Committee, met on Monday March 31st, 2008, at the Embassy of France, Washington D.C, from 8.30am to 6p.m, examined 67 grant applications.
    The Committee, under the co-presidency of Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Dr. Christophe Laux, Professor of Engineering, Ecole Centrale Paris (ECP), selected 16 laureates, subsequently approved by the steering committee of PUF and the board of FACE.

    - Subject: Eph/ephrin signaling in development and physiopathology of the CNS
    Partners: The Salk Institute, INSERM, Strasbourg

    - Subject: Aligning French and U.S. Educational Systems to address the global Nature of Agriculture and Food Systems
    Partners: Pennsylvania State University, AgroParisTech

    - Subject: Exploring Graphene for High Mobility electronics
    Partners: Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech), CNRS, Institut NEEL

    - Subject: TransAtLab Research: Actual/Virtual sound, space and object
    Partners: School of Art Institute of Chicago, Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence, (ENSA Nice Villa Arson)

    - Subject: Materials design using strongly correlated electrons
    Partners: Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, Ecole Polytechnique, Centre de Physique Théorique

    - Subject: Control of gene expression at the single cell level
    Partners: University of California, Los Angeles, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

    - Subject: Academic partnership to advance the world of work
    Partners: Cornell University, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, ESCP-EAP, European School of Management

    - Subject: Research and educational partnership on Nanosciences and nanotechnology: towards a dual doctoral program
    Partners: University of Texas, Austin, Université Joseph Fourier

    - Subject: Magnetic levitation and fluid interface instabilities
    Partners: Case Western Reserve University, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris VI

    - Subject: Dual Master's program in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics
    Partners: California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories (GALCIT), Ecole Polytechnique, Department of Mechanics

    - Subject: Ocean bridges II: A Florida-France training and research cooperative in coral reef, health, dynamics and conservation
    Partners: University of Florida, Gainesville, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), in collaboration with Université de Perpignan

    - Subject: Computational surgery and dual training
    Partners: University of Houston, Université de Strasbourg, Louis Pasteur

    - Subject: Dual PhD Program in African Studies
    Partners: Northwestern University, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

    - Subject: Program in Pluralism, Politics, and Religion
    Partners: Washington University, Saint-Louis, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHP)

    - Subject: Transatlantic Network Of Scholars On Muslims Religious Identity, Secularism, Democracy And Citizenship
    Partners: University of California, Berkeley, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

    - Subject: Partnerships in Education and Research with emphasis on thermo-fluid mechanics in technology and science
    Partners: University of Florida, Gainesville, Paris Sud 11, Orsay