Open Documentary LabI have recently begun a fellowship at the Open Documentary Lab at MIT.

Though I am not a documentary film-maker in any way, I feel a lot of cross-over between what I do and what they do. We both go out into the world and talk to real people about their experiences/opinions/ideas and then take that raw material and sculpt it into some kind of collective whole. In the case of documentary, that whole tends to be a bit more overtly narrative than my work, but the OpenDocLab is a unique place because their focus is on new forms of documentary, many of which are very experimental and non-linear.

The OpenDocLab brings technologists, storytellers, and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary.

I am honored to be joining a small group of very interesting and talented other fellows (fellow fellows?), and am having fun getting back into the academic world after so many years.

Color CrossingI am collaborating with visual artist Kate Gilbert on a piece of public art in Downtown Crossing, Boston, called “Color Crossing“. Appropriately enough, the piece is installed in Music Hall Place, an alley off of Winter Street that used to serve as an entrance to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s first home and is now a passageway to the food court at the Corner Mall.

Color Crossing will be in place through the Fall and my audio composition is all about time travel; go check it out and pick up some Thai food for lunch at the same time…

Here’s an excerpt with some slamming beats:

Audio MP3

I would definitely go to the future. No question.

I am a part of a group exhibition at the Boston Sculptors Gallery called Twelve Nights. The show includes work from eight artists who are all a part of a critique group that meets every month. I have been lucky to be a part of this group for many years now and it is wonderful to see all of our work together in a public setting.

I decided to try something new and explore some ideas for visual pieces instead of my audio-based work. I’ve always loved maps and my contribution to the show, Road Trip, 2002 is what happens to an old Rand McNally atlas in today’s modern GPS-enhanced age. I’m trying to bring back a bit of the mystery…

I composed an audio accompaniment to a new exhibition of paintings by Anne Neely at the Museum of Science, Boston called Water Stories.

The piece is comprised of five sections grouped by thematic content: The Future, Stories, Bad Things, Science and Cherish. The voices are edited and combined with water sounds and musical elements and play in a continuous loop throughout the gallery. Here is a sample of the Future section:

Audio MP3

A feature on Anne Neely and the exhibition was published in the Globe in advance of the opening:

Concern inspires Anne Neely to evoke watery subjects

There was a nice spread in the Boston Globe about Kelly Sherman and my project, Patient Translations:

The human side of health care [ pdf of full spread in physical paper with photos etc ]

“The art of it is it’s this random collection of snippets, which is enthralling. It can be hard to listen to, but people who have been through hard things are comforted that it’s not just them.”

Our project is ongoing, so you can check out the website and download the app to listen and contribute your own story.

katzen_app1_smI am a part of a new exhibition at the American University Museum called Brink & Boundary along with three other excellent artists.

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 5th, 6-9PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, May 17th, 4PM
Exhibition Dates: April 5th – August 17th, 2014

My contribution is an extension of my ongoing Hotel Dreamy piece.  It is a location-aware sound installation that contains people’s dream recollections juxtaposed with snippets of interviews I conducted with dream researchers; everything from cognitive neuroscientists to psychoanalysts.  I’m still collecting dreams, so feel free to grab the free Hotel Dreamy iOS app and add your own to the mix!


Trudy Lane and I were chosen as the 2014 ADA Mesh Cities Artist Tour artists for our project, Sound Sky in Christchurch, NZ.  Earlier this month we presented about the project and the underlying Roundware technology in workshops in Christchurch and at AUT in Auckland.

ADA is a wonderful organization that supports digital artists and art in New Zealand and we were honored to be able to help spread their message as well as our project with these workshops.

Sound SkyI will be traveling to New Zealand next month to work on a new project in Christchurch called Sound Sky. The project is a collaboration between myself and New Zealand artist, Trudy Lane, and is a contributory audio landscape informed by and evolving out of the tragic earthquakes of 2010/2011 that destroyed the majority of downtown Christchurch.

I’m very excited to be able to contribute to bringing this project to reality as well as to get a chance to travel to New Zealand, where I have never been before.

Thank you to Creative New Zealand, the arts funding body of the New Zealand government, for providing seed funding for Sound Sky and to the wonderful partners (primarily CEISMIC, Gap Filler and CSSA) with whom Trudy and I are looking forward to working more as things progress.

I was interviewed as the inaugural subject of a new series for Smithsonian Magazine online about innovators and the tools they use to innovate. So if you’re interested in learning about 10 items (among many others) that surround me in my studio, have a read:

10 Gadgets Halsey Burgund Can’t Live Without

Truth be told, under extreme circumstances, I could probably manage to live without most of these(!), but it was interesting to think about what tangible items help me with my work. There are plenty of intangibles too, of course.

This article was written in advance of my participation in the “Innovation Explorations” program at Smithsonian which will be highlighting innovations in sound on November 16th in DC. I will be giving an early-stage demo of my piece “Ghost Crowd” which I am working on as a result of my Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship last year. There will be other audio innovators at the event, including, I am told, the inventor of the microphone…sweet!

My collaboration “A Walk Through Deep Time” with New Zealand artist, Trudy Lane is now in its second incarnation in Sydney as part of the ISEA 2013 International Symposium on Electronic Art. Trudy has been on-site leading guided walks and I have transported the soundscape from New Zealand to The Rocks neighborhood of Sydney for people to experience and contribute.

Our piece is part of The Rocks Pop-Up program of ISEA which includes a number of cool, non-traditionally sited pieces.

You can download the updated version of the iOS app or visit the new Deep Time website to listen and contribute regardless of whether you are on-site.

TEDMEDKelly Sherman and I will be heading south to Washington, DC next week to install Patient Translations at the annual TEDMED conference at the Kennedy Center. We are excited to share the piece with a larger and more broad audience and get a chance to talk with all the medically-minded people in attendance. I hope we get a chance to attend some of the talks as well since I am fairly addicted to TED talks already, but have only been able to enjoy them online thus far.

In anticipation, the kind folks at TEDMED have posted a blurb on their blog about Patient Translations:

Voice art aims to capture the human side of healthcare

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A Walk Through Deep Time

A walk through 4.57 billion years of the earth's history, layering ideas from across philosophy, science, and culture and inviting you to share your own sense of wonder.

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A new piece of public sound art created from personal responses to existing public art and the city of Cambridge, MA itself.

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Music for Journaling

A participatory audio composition about sharing ideas and creating a critical community focused on public art and its role in society. Commissioned by Public Art Dialogue for Volume 2, Issue 1, "Audience Participation".

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Hotel Dreamy

Where our dreams go on vacation... A growing collection of dream recollections and some music to bring them together.