Plausible Fictions: Electronic Chamber Music at UMMA (2018)

In Fall 2018, my revamped version of Electronic Chamber Music, focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration around technology, worked with the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the SMTD@UMMA performance series for a special concert in the museum’s Apse.

The students created pieces that responded to the exhibition Proof: The
Ryoichi Excavations
by Patrick Nagatani.

“The story of Japanese archaeologist Ryoichi and evidence of his worldwide excavations are explored by Patrick Nagatani in this series of photographs. Nagatani presents a narrative of Ryoichi’s archaeological work, supported by images of excavation sites, unearthed artifacts, and Ryoichi’s own journal pages. According to the photographs, Ryoichi discovered evidence of an automobile culture buried at sites across several continents: Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, and a necropolis in China. This provocative and playful series compels viewers to reflect on how photographs and institutions, such as museums, shape our knowledge of the past and present.”

Belle Isle and Beyond (2019)

In 2019, I participated in Belle Isle and Beyond: Cultivating Ecoliteracy Through the Arts, a project with the goal of employing the arts to encourage an embodied, imaginative, and reflective engagement with nature in order to cultivate environmental empathy and stewardship. I worked with a group of middle school students from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences to learn about acoustic ecology and the sound environment. We made field recordings on Belle Isle in Detroit, which then became the basis for compositions by myself and my PAT student, Tessa Fornari. Our compositions were then used for a site-specific dance performance at the Belle Isle Nature Center. I describe my composition Belle Isle Reverie in a separate post.

The project was a collaboration with Jessica Fogel (SMTD Dance), Sara Adlerstein-Gonzalez (Environment and Sustainability), Erika Stowall (Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences and Big Red Wall Dance Company), Christine McNulty (Detroit Zoological Society) and many others. The project was featured in a story by Model D Magazine.

We had many supporters, including notably the University of Michigan’s MCubed 3.0 and the Edward Ginsberg Center.

Belle Isle Reverie (2019)

As a part of the Belle Isle and Beyond project, I created my first fixed-media electroacoustic composition in some time.

We tend to think of sound recordings like photographs: as documents that reflect the time and place they were made, as well as the people who created them. Instead, I like to view sound recordings through the lens of the anthropologist Tim Ingold’s theory of making: as materials that I can work with in order to make something unique that would not otherwise exist, like a mason sees stone or a potter sees clay. Far from ‘raw’ or ‘inert,’ these materials—sound recordings, stone, clay—have lives; they bear the imprints of the process by which they came to be, and even with the most advanced technologies, the process of working with them is a push-pull negotiation of forces though which the finely-detailed form of the outcome, in my case a composition, is generated. Belle Isle Reverie (2019) is such a work; a fantasy on a collection of sound recordings made on Belle Isle in the Detroit River in March, 2019 by myself and a group of middle school dance students at the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences. Of course, the process I described also tells the story of how the place we currently know as Belle Isle came to be: a confluence of natural and human forces and materials, with significant technological mediation. Belle Isle today, like my composition, is a human-made invention of what an urban ‘natural’ place can be. It will change and take on new meanings over time in response to changes to the environment and its surroundings, as well as our cultural and scientific values.

Michael Gurevich – Belle Isle Reverie (c) 2019


Kiran Bhumber‘s M.A. in Media Arts thesis Phulkari is an multimedia performance that explores diasporic South Asian identity and the concept of ‘cultural memory’ through contemporary media technologies. The basis of the piece is the Phulkari, a traditional Punjabi textile. The piece incorporates dance, music, motion tracking, and live image projection.

Electronic Chamber Music Winter 2018

In the wake of my “Student Partnerships in Technology and Performing Arts” pilot course, I re-case my Electronic Chamber Music course as an opportunity for PAT students to collaborate with composers and performers in other disciplines to create technologically-mediated performance pieces over the course of a semester. The variety and sophistication of the outcomes continue to surprise me.

Techno In Space (2016)

In part due to the popularity of Electronic Chamber Music’s first encounter with Techno, and because we felt we had much left to explore, for the second year in a row we used Techno as our inspiration. We listened, researched, discussed, composed, jammed, rehearsed, design, fabricated, and agonized — and the result was this:

Techno In Space

We were honored to have Chip Davis, who endowed our studio, in attendance!