Halsey Burgund is a new media artist and Emmy-winning interactive director whose work focuses on the combination of modern technologies - from mobile phones to artificial intelligence - with fundamentally human "technologies", primarily language, music and the spoken voice. His recent work explores the prosocial and potentially damaging uses of cutting edge technologies, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
Halsey is the creator of Roundware, the open source contributory audio AR platform, which has been used to create art and educational installations for cultural organizations internationally. He has well over a decade of experience creating geo-located, co-creative audio installations. He is a composer as well as technologist and has been at the forefront of the nascent field of audio AR, both aesthetically and technologically, since the dawn of smartphones.
Halsey has exhibited and performed in museums and galleries internationally, including Ars Electronica, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Puke Ariki Museum (NZ), Tyne & Wear Archive and Museums, (UK), the Museum of Science, Boston and the California Academy of Sciences. He has been an artist fellow at the Smithsonian, a research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and is currently Creative Technologist in Residence at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and a research affilliate at Harvard's metaLAB.
People say interesting things; and they say them in interesting ways.
The voices I collect from otherwise uninvolved individuals become the raw material as well as the inspiration for both my installations and my musical compositions. The nuance of the spoken human voice has a unique ability to communicate much more than the words themselves, and I try to tap into this power and enhance it with the music I compose using the voices.
As I develop my pieces, I like to create a balance of control over the results between myself as the artist, the individuals who have contributed their voices and the directed randomness of the algorithmic systems I have designed to evolve the musical elements over time. I am drawn to results which surprise even myself as the creator; there is something extremely exciting – and somewhat nerve-wracking – about never knowing exactly what my own work is going to sound like, look like or feel like.
In many ways, my work is a combination of socio-anthropological ‘research’, musical documentary and participatory experience. I try to collectively represent various human experiences and ultimately my own artistic voice through the personal expressions of a myriad of participants.