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Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music

General Programming

dateApril 8, 2022 timeFriday, 12:30pm–6:00pm EDT locationVirtual Event
  • The Committee on Equity and Diversity of the Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences
  • The Department of Music at Columbia University , Computer Music Center at Columbia University (CMC)
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
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Though equity has modestly improved in technology-focused fields, striking inequities still remain. And in the realm of electronic music in particular, statistics still demonstrate a need to advocate for inclusivity. Indeed, electronic music’s many sub-genres still wrestle with toxic artifacts from military, cybernetic, and Western art music genealogies. In addition, diverse influences continue to struggle for legitimacy amid conditions that reify exclusion. In counterpoint, Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music elevates a plurality of narratives and critical tactics, featuring them as ingredients that can ferment a sensibility of belonging, and possibly divergent trajectories, in technical fields.

Please scroll down to view the complete program.

This event will be recorded. By being electronically present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.


time12:30pm - 1:40pm EDT

Strange Sound: Capital, Race, and the Field Recorder in Urban Marginalization
Keynote Speaker

Naomi Waltham-Smith

University of Warwick

time1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT

Discussion 1: Difference & Belonging

King Britt

"Blacktronika : A Much Needed Change in Electronic Music Pedagogy"

University of California | San Diego


Cristóbal Martinez

"Salvaging in Sound Art and Experimental Music"

San Francisco Art Institute


LaFrae Sci

"Journey of a Drummer Girl - Sound and Silence and Improvisation"

Willie Mae Future Sounds, NYC


Suzanne Thorpe

Columbia University


Diana Marcela Rodriguez

Columbia University

time3:15pm - 3:45pm EDT

Discussion 2: Bonnie Jones and Suzanne Thorpe On/In Collaboration

Bonnie Jones and Suzanne Thorpe will discuss collaboration as a generative force and source of resistance in technical learning environments, music making, and social transformation. They will also perform in collaboration


Bonnie Jones

Brown University


Suzanne Thorpe

Columbia University

time4:00pm - 5:15pm EDT

Discussion 3: Access & Accessibility

Abby Aresty

"Crafting Sound: Accessible Interfaces for Education and Creation"

Oberlin College


Hannah Kye

"Fostering Belonging in Makerspaces"

Rowan University


Lauren Hayes

"Beyond Skill Acquisition: Improvisation, Interdisciplinarity and Embodied Approaches to Music Pedagogy"

Arizona State University


Seth Cluett

Columbia University

time5:30pm - 6:00pm EDT

Closing Remarks

Bios and Presentation Descriptions

Naomi Waltham-Smith (Keynote)

Reader in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
University of Warwick

Headshot of Naomi Waltham-Smith

Dr. Naomi Waltham-Smith is Reader in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick. Working at the intersection of continental philosophy with music and sound studies, she is the author of Music and Belonging Between Revolution and Restoration (Oxford UP, 2017), Shattering Biopolitics: Militant Listening and the Sound of Life (Fordham UP, 2021), and Mapping (Post)colonial Paris by Ear (Cambridge UP, forthcoming). She has been awarded fellowships at the Penn Price Lab for Digital Humanities, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and the Institute for Advanced Study Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg.

Presentation Title: Strange Sound: Capital, Race, and the Field Recorder in Urban Marginalization

Description: The decolonial-feminist thinker and activist Françoise Vergès has offered a vivid and trenchant analysis of the racial capitolocene through the figure of the banana, its history, economy, and cultural resonances. My title is a deliberate echo of and homage to that of a talk she has given on this topic, “Strange Fruit.” I take the field recorder as an object and method through which to tell the story of how racism and capitalism conspire to destroy belonging through processes of urban gentrification and the displacement of working-class communities of color. Highlighting field recording’s uneasy imbrication in histories of colonial violence, I draw upon the work of sound-art collective Ultra-red with whom I am collaborating on a militant sound investigation in Southwark, London, tracking connections between their early electronic compositional practice and their community activism. I also explore the entanglements between musical genres and field recording as aural flânerie in the context of violence and exclusion in Paris’s quartiers populaires, asking whether the field recorder can be appropriated as a tool of decolonial praxis to rescript narratives of belonging against the hegemonic story of French Republicanism.

LaFrae Sci (Panelist)

Willie Mae Future Sounds, NYC

Headshot of LaFrae Sci

LaFrae Sci a.k.a Frae-Frae: Daughter of Drexciya is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, educator, composer and electro acoustic adventurer. Bedrock to her artistry is the roots and the fruits of the blues from spirituals to afro diasporic futuristic soundscapes that explore time travel, prayer, meditation, and the African American ecstatic tradition. As a composer, she writes for film, theater, and large and extended jazz and classical orchestras, and her creative range spans immersive and ambisonic music, blues, various ethnomusicological traditions, rock, pop, hip-hop, and her own brand of subaquatic deconstructed techno soul. To date, she has shared her intentional creativity in 38 countries. LaFrae is also the Executive Director/Dir of Artistic Programming at Willie Mae Future Sounds named after Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. W.M.F.S. is a STEAM based, year round empowerment through music program that includes spiritual activism, Afro Diasporic futurism, critical thinking and leadership, including music technology through the lens of the blues tradition for girls and gender non conforming youth in New York City.

Presentation Title: Journey of a Drummer Girl - Sound and Silence and Improvisation

Cristóbal Martínez (Panelist)

Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Technology
San Francisco Art Institute

Headshot of Cristóbal Martínez

Cristóbal Martínez, PhD is Mestizo, of the Genizaro, Pueblo, Manito, and Xicanx people of Northern New Mexico. He is a publishing scholar and an interdisciplinary artist in the collective Postcommodity; a musician and composer in the electronic experimental music duet Red Culebra; and a co-founding member of the indigenous hacker ensemble Radio Healer. Martinez is the Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2015, he earned a doctorate in Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Composition from Arizona State University, while focusing his research on emergent media technologies within the context of indigenous self-determination and sovereignty.

Presentation Title: Salvaging in Sound Art and Experimental Music

Description: This presentation will illustrate indigenous re-imagined ceremonies as performed by the collectives Postcommodity, Radio Healer, and Red Culebra. For ceremony, these artists produce tools, whether software and (or) hardware, that align to their ways of knowing-being-believing-doing-and-valuing. As discourse builders, they assert their indigenous self-determination through appropriations and extemporaneous adaptations of colonial-industrial materials and objects to innovate the sonic means by which to tell stories about contemporary life.

King Britt (Panelist)

Assistant Teaching Professor in Computer Music
University of California | San Diego

Headshot of King Britt

Pew Fellowship recipient, King James Britt (his real name) is a 30+ year producer, composer, and performer in electronic music. His position as Assistant Teaching Professor in Computer Music | University of California San Diego, carries a unique perspective, bringing a non-linear approach and knowledge to the department by focusing on various modern forms of electronic music pedagogy while continuing to be an active force in the music industry. As a composer and producer, his practice has led to collaborations with the likes of De La Soul, Alarm Will Sound Orchestra, Saul Williams, director Michael Mann (Miami Vice), and many others, as well as being called for remixes from an eclectic list of giants, including, Meredith Monk, Solange to Calvin Harris. Most recently collaborating with MacArthur Fellow, Tyshawn Sorey for an upcoming album project. In his role as a performer, he has traveled globally playing thousands of venues and festivals, including AfroPunk (NYC), Berghain (Berlin), MoogFest (Durham), Le Guess Who Festival (Utrecht), and The Kitchen (NYC). King was also the original DJ for the Grammy Award-winning Digable Planets.

His curatorial work has been seen in many collaborations with the likes of MoMA PS1, Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, and most recently Carnegie Hall NYC. Blacktronika: Afrofuturism In Electronic Music, is a new UCSD lecture course, created by King, researching and honoring the people of color, who have pioneered groundbreaking genres within the electronic music landscape. Genres span from Chicago House, Detroit Techno, and Drum & Bass music. Using his position in the industry, the class has been attended by many, including Questlove, Julian Priester, and Goldie.

Presentation Title: Blacktronika: A Much Needed Change in Electronic Music Pedagogy

Description: Blacktronika: Afrofuturism in Electronic Music illuminates the innovators of color that have pioneered groundbreaking genres & methods, in the major advancement of electronic music. Genres including Dub, Chicago House, Detroit Techno, Drum & Bass and more. Being a practitioner and contributing to these innovative sounds throughout my 30+yrs of producing, I have a very unique position of teaching the lineage from lived experience.

Bonnie Jones (Panelist)

PhD Student in Music
Brown University

Headshot of Bonnie Jones

Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American improvising musician, poet, and performer working with electronic sound and text. She performs solo and in numerous collaborative music, film, and visual art projects. Bonnie was a founding member of the Transmodern Festival and CHELA Gallery and is currently a member of the High Zero Festival collective. In 2010, she co-founded TECHNE, an organization that introduces young female-identified women to technology-focused art making, improvisation, and community collaboration. TECHNE’s programs are delivered through partnerships with grassroots organizations that share an aligned commitment to racial and gender equity. She has received commissions from the London ICA and Walters Art Museum and has presented her work extensively at institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Bonnie was a 2018 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Born in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland and Providence RI on the lands of the Susquehannock, Piscataway, Algonquian, and Narragansett.

Suzanne Thorpe (Organizer/Moderator/Panelist)

Society of Fellows | Mellon Fellow in Music Humanities
Columbia University

Headshot of Suzanne Thorpe

Suzanne Thorpe is an artist-scholar who researches audible culture with a focus on electronic music, sound art and listening practices. Weaving together traditional and creative research methods she studies and crafts immersive musicking events that question circulations of power and support a politics of belonging in relation to social and environmental concerns. Thorpe holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Media from Mills College, a Ph.D. in Integrative Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and is a Deep Listening instructor, having studied in depth with American composer and Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros. Currently a Mellon Teaching Fellow in the Department of Music and member of the Society of Fellows at Columbia University, she has presented her work and scholarship internationally in a variety of forms, including performance venues, exhibitions and journals. She has been granted several residencies and awards for her research, such as the Frog Peak Collective Award for innovative research in technology, as well as grants from Harvestworks Digital Media Foundation, New Music USA, the MAP Fund and the Recording Industry Association of America. Thorpe is also a co-founder of TECHNE, a nonprofit arts-education organization dedicated to dismantling social and cultural barriers in technical learning environments.

Abby Aresty (Panelist)

Technical Director and Lecturer for the Technology in Music and Related Arts
Oberlin College

Headshot of Abby Aresty

Abby Aresty is a sound artist, composer, and educator. Aresty’s site-specific installations have been featured in local and national news outlets; Paths II: The Music of Trees, a temporary installation in Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum, was featured in an interview with Melissa Block on NPR’s All Things Considered and was hailed as “otherworldly” and “sometimes eerie, sometimes transportingly lovely,” by the Seattle Times. Aresty has presented her research in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, in conferences including ICMC, Balance/Unbalance, ISEA, and Sonic Environments. She has held fellowships at the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, Grinnell College, and the Acoustic Ecology Lab at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. Aresty is Technical Director and Lecturer for the Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) Department at Oberlin Conservatory where she was the Bonner Center for Service Learning's 2019-2020 Faculty Fellow. In 2019, in collaboration with Oberlin Center for the Arts and Oberlin Conservatory, Aresty founded the Girls Electronic Arts Retreat (GEAR), a 5-Day STEAM summer camp for 3-5th grade girls hosted in the TIMARA studios.

Presentation Title: Crafting Sound: Accessible Interfaces for Education and Creation

Description: Over the past decade, hybrid technologies blending traditional crafts and contemporary technologies have gained significant traction within the maker movement. In particular, artists, scholars, and educators often deploy technologies like e-textiles and paper circuits to introduce diverse populations to electronics. In this talk, I will discuss applications for and implications of craft-based electronics approaches to music technology education. In particular, I will discuss educational electronics kits designed for a remote session of the Girls Electronic Arts Retreat (GEAR), a STEAM summer camp for 3-5th grade girls hosted at the Technology in Music and Related Arts department at Oberlin College and Conservatory. I will also discuss how my experience working with craft-based interfaces for kids has informed my approach to teaching electronics in higher ed.

Hannah Kye (Panelist)

Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education
Rowan University

Headshot of Hannah Kye

Hannah Kye holds a B.A. in early childhood education with special education approval from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. and Ed.D. in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on multicultural, social justice approaches to early childhood education with a focus on science and engineering education. Her professional experience includes work as a kindergarten and second grade teacher, student teaching supervisor, and instructor in graduate courses on inclusive pedagogy and curriculum development. As a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education, Dr. Kye teaches courses on social and emotional development and on diversity, access, and equity within early childhood systems.​

Presentation Title: Fostering Belonging in Makerspaces

Description: This presentation questions the neutrality of creative, collaborative work spaces known as makerspaces. Making and tinkering have increasingly become access points to STEM education, and thus require attention to groups who have faced barriers to success in STEM. Applying a culturally responsive framework, the presentation highlights strategies for fostering belonging in making and tinkering.

Lauren Hayes (Panelist)

Assistant Professor of Sound Studies
Arizona State University

Headshot of Lauren Sarah Hayes

Lauren Hayes is a musician, improviser, and sound artist who builds and performs with hybrid analogue/digital instruments. She is Assistant Professor of Sound Studies within the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University where she founded the research group Practice and Research in Enactive Sonic Arts (PARIESA). Her research centers around embodied and enactive music cognition, enactive approaches to digital instrument design, interdisciplinary improvisation, and haptic technologies. She is Director-At-Large of the International Computer Music Association, and a member of the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Her recent 2021 release Embrace (Superpang) was included in Bandcamp’s Best Experimental Music of February 2021 and she was Artist of the Month with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) in April 2021.

Presentation Title: Beyond Skill Acquisition: Improvisation, Interdisciplinarity and Embodied Approaches to Music Pedagogy

Description: Enactive approaches to music cognition offer anti-representational frameworks for understanding musical activity as both corporeal and culturally-situated. In this talk, I will discuss live electronic musical improvisation as an exemplary model for the enactive approach in relation to music education in its ability to demonstrate the importance of participatory, relational, emergent and embodied musical activities and processes. I will discuss two case studies: the first, developing and running a curriculum called "Sound, Electronics and Music" for school children in Scotland; the second, teaching technologically-mediated interdisciplinary improvisation with undergraduate students in Arizona. In both instances I develop pedagogical techniques for providing forms of musical and artistic education that engender creative practice that is available to all, regardless of musical ability and background.

Diana M. Rodriguez (Moderator)

PhD Student in Music/Composer
Columbia University

Headshot of Diana M. Rodriguez

A native of Bogota, DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) is an electroacoustic music composer based in New York City. Having its footholds in post spectral, ambient, pop culture, Colombian folk, and Rock en Español, her music has been presented by artists such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, Yarn Wire, Alarm will Sound, ECCE Ensemble, counter)induction, Boston Musica Viva, Berrow Duo, Eric Drescher, and Josh Modney at venues like the BANFF Centre for the Arts and Creativity, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the Goethe Institut in Boston, Americas Society, University of North Colorado, the Coral Gables Museum, Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory. Her recent projects include a septet commissioned by the Goethe Institut for Sound Icon and Winsor Music for their “Beethoven Goes Modern” project, and an evening-length work for the New York-based trio Sputter Box commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, as well as a multimedia piece for TAK ensemble, a mixed trio for Fonema Consort, a string duo for andPlay, and solo pieces for bassoonist Joy Guidry and violinist Austin Wulliman.

DM R is currently pursuing a doctorate at Columbia University, a teaching fellow at the Computer Music Center. She also teaches composition lessons at Montclair State University and Kaufman Center’s Face the Music.

Seth Cluett (Moderator)

Lecturer in Music/Assistant Director of the Computer Music Center/Composer and artist
Columbia University

Headshot of Seth Cluett

Seth Cluett is a composer, visual artist, and writer. With work ranging from photography and drawing to installation, performance, and critical writing, his “subtle…seductive, immersive” (Artforum) sound work has been characterized as “rigorously focused and full of detail” (e/i) and “dramatic, powerful, and at one with nature” (The Wire). The recipient of grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Fund and Meet the Composer, his work has been presented internationally at venues such as The Whitney Museum, MoMA/PS1, Moving Image Art Fair, CONTEXT Art Miami, GRM, and STEIM. Cluett is a Lecturer in Music (Computer Music and Sound Studies), the Assistant Director of the Computer Music Center and Sound Art Program at Columbia University, and is Artist-in-Residence at Nokia Bell Labs.

Brad Garton (Closing Remarks)

Director of the Computer Music Center
Columbia University

Brad Garton serves as Director of the Computer Music Center (formerly the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center). He has assisted in the establishment and development of a number of computer music studios throughout the world, and is an active contributor to the greater community of computer musicians/researchers, formerly serving on the Board of Directors of the International Computer Music Association as editor (with Robert Rowe) of the ICMA newsletter and artistic director/co-organizer of several high-profile festivals and conferences of new computer music.

His current work includes focused research on the modeling and enhancement of acoustic spaces as well as the modeling of human musical performance on various virtual "instruments". He is also the primary developer (with Dave Topper) or RTcmix, a real-time music synthesis/signal-processing language. The point of all this work is to continue to make fun new pieces of music, which he does every day.

  • Panelist Abby Aresty Oberlin College
  • Panelist King Britt University of California | San Diego
  • Moderator Seth Cluett Columbia Univeristy
  • Closing Remarks Brad Garton Columbia University
  • Panelist Lauren Hayes Arizona State University
  • Panelist Bonnie Jones Brown University
  • Panelist Hannah Kye Rowan University
  • Panelist Cristóbal Martinez San Francisco Art Institute
  • Moderator Diana Marcela Rodriguez Columbia University
  • Panelist LaFrae Sci (Willie Mae Future Sounds, NYC
  • Organizer/Panelist/Moderator Suzanne Thorpe Columbia University
  • Keynote Speaker Naomi Waltham-Smith University of Warwick