Post Genre Instruments, Drone, and the Limits of Guitar

April 27 1030 AM – 6PM
Kellen Auditorium 66 Fifth Avenue

April 28 12 Noon – 7pm
Starr Lecture Hall, UL 102  63 Fifth Avenue

Juan Azulay    Ezio Blasetti    Jason Brogan        Wendy Eisenberg
Sandy Ewen    Tanya Kalmanovitch    Martin Keith    Ed Keller
Clara Latham    Matteo Liberatore    Joe Ravo    Aron Sanchez
Elliott Sharp    Ola Strandberg  Kazys Varnelis
and with
The Limits of Guitar Design students

“If you want to play it, it’s a good guitar. If it does you harm, it’s a bad guitar. Some guitars are both good and bad at the same time.’
Markus Reuter

“The end goal is identifying every music maker in the space and their works past and present… accelerating and improving collaboration …” The future of Mycelia is about “decentralised, open governance, looking to nature and viable systems thinking for direction… it’s about earning, adapting, sharing… as a self-sustaining organism.” Imogen Heap

“The mechanisms of cognitive capital rely on a totalizing capture of modes of affect. Ballard thought we were passing through the death of affect. He was to some extent wrong, as that was temporary, or a partial characterization of affect. We have entered a new epoch of total affect. Drone/ambient is a musical practice which in part relies on somatic activation of modes of affect deeply embedded in the neurophysiological regions which today’s cognitive capitalism also operates on. Some forms of drone could be understood to resist these inarticulate mechanisms of capital…”   – Ed Keller

What forms of sound, what types of musical instruments, will be uniquely able in our contemporary world to support a radical philosophy of music, going beyond current limits of aesthetics and politics in sound?  The potential neurophysiologies of drone can be understood as a catalyst toward a fundamental pulse; a collective practice of musical cognition, both conscious and sub-conscious. We have entered a new epoch of total affect.

SONIC PHARMAKON brings musicians, luthiers, composers, guitarists, theorists, designers, and technologists together to explore the sonic landscapes that might be invoked to resist the inarticulate mechanisms of capital.


[some lineups may change]

April 27 1030 AM – 6PM
Kellen Auditorium 66 Fifth Avenue

1030 AM doors open
1045 welcoming remarks Ed Keller, Tanya Kalmanovitch

11 AM- 1 PM Luthiers and Instrument Designers Panel
Martin Keith [talk], Aron Sanchez [talk], Ola Strandberg [talk]
with Joe Ravo, discussant

1PM- 145 PM demonstration performances on instruments 

145 PM – 215 PM break  Instrument Design Students, setup and ambient intervention
215 – 3PM  Instrument Design Students, selected demonstrations / performances

3 – 430 PM  Panel on Form, Instrument, and System design at network/planetary scale
Ed Keller [Planetary Affect];  Juan Azulay [near future of networked sound on blockchain],
Ezio Blasetti [formally coding complex systems]; Elliott Sharp [talk: The Implicate Drone]
Panel discussion leads into E# solo set.

430-530 PM Elliott Sharp on Strandberg guitars: performance
Elliott Sharp solo

530 PM – 615 PM 
TBC:  ‘Strandberg Array’ guitar excursion with 4-5 gtrs. and hands on deck

April 28 12 Noon – 7pm
Starr Lecture Hall, UL 102  63 Fifth Avenue

12 Noon doors open
1215 PM  Welcoming remarks: Ed Keller, Tanya Kalmanovitch

1230 – 2 PM Noise, Sound, Drone, Cognition Panel
Talks by Tanya Kalmanovitch, Kazys Varnelis, Clara Latham
Sandy Ewen and Jason Brogan discussants

2-3 PM performances  Sandy Ewen, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Clara Latham

3 – 330 PM COFFEE break

3PM- 4 PM Instrument Design Students, setup and ambient intervention

4-530 PM The Instrument at the Limit
Talks by Matteo Liberatore, Wendy Eisenberg
Tanya Kalmanovitch, Joe Ravo, Elliott Sharp discussants

530-630 PM Solo performances Matteo Liberatore, Wendy Eisenberg

630-730+ Ensemble performs Elliott Sharp APERTA HORTIS composition
Lineup TBC: Clara, Matteo, Sandy, Joe, Wendy, Tanya, Ed,  et al.


Sponsored by The Innovation in Education Fund; The Center for Transformative Media;
Strandberg Guitars; RealityCode

SELECTED PARTICIPANTS in ‘LIMITS / FUTURE of GUITAR​’ events since 2013 have included: Marco ​Capelli​, Perry ​Hall​, Fred ​Hand​, Ratzo ​Harris​, Charlie ​Hunter​, Sharon ​Isbin​, Saul ​Koll​, Gary ​Lee​, Allan Marcus​, Michi ​Matsuda​, Ava ​Mendoza​, Dom ​Minasi​, Michael ​Newman​, Laura ​Oltman​, Ken ​Parker​, Joe ​Ravo​, Gyan ​Riley​, Barry ​Salmon​, Aron ​Sanchez​, Elliott ​Sharp​, Ned ​Steinberger​, Ola ​Strandberg​, Harvey ​Valdes​, Florian ​Vorreiter​, and Charles ​Yang​.

Previous and related projects:
Keith Rowe: Extended

Women of Guitar:
NY Guitar Festival at CTM:

The Future of Guitar Design Workshops: design-workshops-2015/

The Limits of Guitar symposia and performances:

Parsons with New World Symphony collab
Future of Guitar collab

Agent Intellects SYMPOSIUM


Sentience, Sapience & Thalience on the Planetary ledger
Saturday, December 8th, 11 AM – 6 PM
Starr Lecture Hall, UL102, 63 Fifth Avenue, NY [corner of 13th St. and 5th Ave]
The New School


This symposium brings together leading AI developers, designers, artists, philosophers, urbanists, musicians, historians, systems thinkers, ecologists, and educators, to discuss the near and long term implications of ubiquitous artificial intelligence as it evolves on a blockchain ecosystem.

The symposium is framed via a set of provocations:
We might begin by questioning the limits of our concepts of intelligence and of mind, considering the range of non-human or non-standard models of intelligence, to better adjust any designed artificial intelligence to a scope of both human and non-human constituents.

Intelligence is frequently linked to models of information processing, feedback loops, thought, and ‘agency’. Sentience and Sapience are gradients of these feedback loops. If we consider forms of mind across radically diverse scales [from the nanometer & nanosecond all the way to the light year and beyond] what kinds of intelligence will we be compelled to recognize? What design options are available across these scales? What is natural or artificial intelligence at each of these scales? How can this way of thinking impact a pragmatic, everyday way of approaching ‘designed AI’?  Are there ‘universals’ of intelligence that can be mapped and extrapolated?

At what level is irreversible data structure necessary for emerging forms of mind and AI? Are there correspondences between key concepts in blockchain architecture [proof of work, proof of stake, proof of history, proof of location, etc.] which we might find mirrored in ‘natural’ systems of complex organization, from atomic structure, to molecular, to
the layerings of DNA, to cities, ecosystems, planetary tectonics, or cosmological structures?

To what degree can we compare the ‘intelligence’ of a bacterial colony, or a microbiome, with the functioning of a single CPU, or a network of millions of computers? Subatomic or scale-free? Patterns and Graphs? Quark or galactic structure? What kinds of ‘mind’ might be already present at these levels, or deployable through ‘artificial’ acts of design? How do these profoundly non-human scales of space and time connect back to the lifeworlds of humans, of cultures, of ecosystems?

Can cities and forests ‘think?’ If so, what kind of intelligence is afforded them, and across what timescales? Does a planet have ‘mind’ or ‘computational capacity?’ If so, what kinds of information processing takes place, what networks are folded into that, and how can we work as designers to access those flows of information and energy?
Is it possible to discover computational or cognitive models at the scale of a solar system or a galaxy? Where do abstract systems of mathematics fit in these scales? Does the Hermetic concept ‘as above, so below’ hold for ‘universal structures’ and scale free models, and if so to what extent can that be leveraged toward a philosophy of design and theory of mind?

Is thought about thought necessary for intelligence? [Watts, Shaviro, Hayles]  If so, how can it be achieved and optimized? What is the role of the human in an ecosystem of artificial thought, and how can we imagine beneficial AI across all scales, from a single human, to a population of humans [or animals, or plants, or autonomous AIs] across multiple lifetimes- up to the future of human civilization and the survival of mind itself?
— Ed Keller

1030 AM    coffee and meet and greet

1100 AM – 1230 PM  Intro and panel ONE
Ed Keller, Diann Bauer, Elliott Sharp, Gary Tomlinson
Ben Goertzel, moderator

1245 PM – 215  PM  panel TWO
Liz Barry, Jillian Crandall, Andrea Morales Coto, Anthony Dunne
Ed Keller, moderator

++Student projects/manifesto

215 PM – 245  PM  break for snacks and coffee [on site]

300 PM – 430  PM  panel THREE
Ben Goertzel, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Dan Mellamphy, Dana Martens, Sven Travis
Ed Keller, moderator

430 PM – 600  PM  final panel, all speakers

Please note: speakers order subject to change

The Agent Intellects symposium is part of a Parsons course and workshop series, the fall 2018
‘Hive Minds’ collab, sponsored by SingularityNET and the Center for Transformative Media at The New School.

Liz Barry, Public Laboratory
Diann Bauer,  Laboria Cuboniks
Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Western
Jillian Crandall,   Parsons
Anthony Dunne, Dunne & Raby
Ben Goertzel, SingularityNET
Ed Keller, Parsons
Dana Martens, Parsons
Dan Mellamphy, Western
Andrea Morales Coto, Consensys
Elliott Sharp, Zoar Music
Gary Tomlinson, Yale
Sven Travis, Parsons


See also:
Hive Minds:
Future of Mind:
Acid Architecture:
Hacking Feminism:
The Signal Path:

More Than Personal: Self-Portraiture & Auto-Perceptive Screens

A lecture by Nadine Boljkovac, CTM Fellow

“Inscribed within Chantal Akerman’s 2015 No Home Movie, Michael Haneke’s 2012 Amour and Philip Hoffman’s 2001 What These Ashes Wanted are experiences of transience and home, illness and mourning. And yet, poignantly persistent throughout these works are also flashes and images of enduring life and duration that emerge via instances of filmic self-portraiture and self-perception. These particular moments function as temporal cracks or materialised disruptions. While they render visible invisible strains and dimensions of pain, grief and loss, the brief fissures embody living portraits of both the deceased and the ‘living’ (the late filmmaker/motherless daughter, grieving partner, beleaguered widower) that attest not only to cruel actual separations between loved ones but also an endless process of distanciation from one’s former self. Such momentary glimpses of other worlds within the films, as enacted via seconds of self-portraiture and self-perception, reveal possibilities for difference as they envision alternative trajectories and futures – especially for the women of these works – with reverberations that long linger. Through an auto-perceptive screen, these processes materialise, fragment and liberate these already dead and endlessly dying women…”

Nadine Boljkovac is Senior Lecturer in Film at Falmouth University. She is an August-October 2018 Visiting Fellow of the Center for Transformative Media at Parsons The New School for Design, and the recipient of a University of Cologne 2018-19 Research Fellowship (Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies). Boljkovac was a University of New South Wales 2015-17 Postdoctoral Fellow (Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia), the Brown University 2012-13 Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow (Pembroke Center for Teaching & Research on Women), a University of Edinburgh 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities) and University of Aberdeen 2009-10 Film Teaching Fellow. Her monograph examining affect and ethics via Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, Untimely Affects: Gilles Deleuze and an Ethics of Cinema (Edinburgh University Press 2013), was reissued in paperback in 2015. A second monograph is in progress, Beyond Herself: Feminist (Auto)Portraiture and the Moving Image. Most recent peer-reviewed works appear in ‘Materialising Absence in Film and Media’ (a 2018 Special Dossier, co-editors Saige Walton and Nadine Boljkovac for Screening the Past: A Peer-Reviewed Journal of Screen History, Theory & Criticism); The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory (editors Tom Conley and Hunter Vaughan, 2018); and On Style: Transdisciplinary Articulations (editor Björn Sonnenberg-Schrank, 2018).

Event took place on October 16 at 6pm at Parsons 25 East 13th street, ‘Glass Box’ room E206, second floor.

Keith Rowe: Extended


Keith Rowe: Extended is organized on and around the work of renowned experimental guitarist Keith Rowe, and in celebration of the publication of Keith Rowe: The Room Extended [powerHouse Books], the first official biography of the guitarist by Brian Olewnick.

Curated by Jason Brogan and Ed Keller, the event will include commentary, discussion, and performances. In addition to Rowe himself, musicians Clara de Asís, Marcia Bassett, Maria Chavez, Sandy Ewen, Lucie Vítková, and Barry Weisblat will perform.

Keith Rowe: Extended is supported by the Center for Transformative Media at Parsons School of Design, the Innovations in Education Fund, and Mannes School of Music.


10am – 12:30pm: Morning Session



Introduction by organizers Jason Brogan and Ed Keller

Reading by Rowe biographer Brian Olewnick

Discussion and Q&A with Olewnick and Rowe, moderated by Steve Smith (Boston Globe, National Sawdust, New York Times)

Keith Rowe solo performance

[copies of the book will be available to purchase]

4pm – 6pm: Afternoon Concert

$10 suggested admission

Clara de Asís (guitar) and Lucie Vítková (accordion and varia)

Maria Chavez (turntable) and Sandy Ewen (guitar)

Marcia Bassett (guitar) and Barry Weisblat (electronics)

Organized by Jason Brogan (Fellow) and Ed Keller (Director) Center for Transformative Media at Parsons School of Design on Saturday, October 13, 2018



Full conference brief:
Speakers included Rory
Rowan,  Stephanie Wakefield, Tamara Álvarez, Kathryn Yusoff, Nigel Clark, & Ed Keller.  This  symposium  was held as  a free ranging  survey and meditation  on the cosmopolitical implications  of existing planetary material relations, as  reframed in the context of emerging energetic  and computational systems [‘the stack’].

By  contrasting  [post] planetary  material systems with  the emerging technoscape  we hoped to expose feedback  loops and communicative systems  which modulate agency and awareness. Such  feedback mechanisms – ecologies of feeling-  may offer a belated hope for a coordination of  life and mind across multiple timescales, resulting  in a possible post/trans/inhuman ethics.
-Ed Keller.

Ed Keller moderated/introduced  event. CTM hosted.

Convened to  follow-up the 2014 Post Planetary Capital symposium.

The Trauma of the Earth: Lecture by Julius Greve

In early 2018, Julius Greve gave a lecture he called, On the Decomposition of Nature in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction. How to rethink trauma in the context of today’s turn to the question concerning materiality in the humanities? What is the role of fiction in the delineation of concepts of nature that resonate with, but are partially independent of, those forged in and by philosophical discourse? Julius Greve traces the concept of nature in the work of American writer Cormac McCarthy, as it is construed by literary rather than philosophical means, rendering visible a transhistorical and transatlantic constellation, including schools of thought such as Schellingian philosophies of nature and speculative realism.

CTM hosted Greve for this lecture. He also joined a seminar session in Post Planetary Design as a guest.

Women of Guitar: Symposium

A full day event featuring internationally renowned guitarists and luthiers discussing their work and art, in conversation with Fabi Reyna of She Shreds Magazine and WNYC’s John SchaeferGuests included Sharon Isbin, Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, Erika Anderson (EMA), Ava Mendoza, Xenia Rubinos, Rachel Rosenkrantz, Mamie Minch, Chloe Swantner, et. al.

Curated by Fabi Reyna, David Spelman, and Ed Keller; In collaboration with NY Guitar Festival and She Shreds magazine. Sponsors: NYGF & CTM [host]

Privatizing the Cosmos
: Lecture by Rory Rowan

CTM hosted Rory Rowan for this CTM guest lecture. Stephanie Wakefield [Lang] responded.

The SPACE Act of 2015, which recognized the right of US citizens to engage in the commercial exploitation of resources in outer space, may prove to be one of the lasting legacies of the Obama administration with profound implications for the governance of extra-planetary space. The SPACE Act – or the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act to give it its full name – marks an attempt by the US government to facilitate the expansion of private enterprise in extra-planetary space, so-called NewSpace, in order to reshape the human presence – and US dominance – off-earth. Yet the clamor for ‘space resources’ is not simply an American tale as other states eager to claim a stake in the speculative cosmic bonanza rush to produce their own legislation.

This paper will explore these new extra-planetary geographies through four lenses: the ‘neoliberalisation’ of outer space governance; the expansion of capitalist extractivism off-Earth; the neocolonial rhetoric of astro-frontierism; and the contested questions of property and sovereignty in outer space. It argues that despite the media fanfare around speculative projects for Mars colonization the already existing, and rapidly transforming, entanglement of off-earth activities with earthbound social processes deserves critical attention given the potential stakes around questions of who can and should do what in outer space.

Acid Architecture: Symposium

With Warren Neidich, Ken Wark, Sanford Kwinter, Ed Keller, and Nora Khan.

In cognitive capitalism the mind and brain are the new factories of the 21st century. We are the cognitariat, mental laborers: our daily searches, likes and dislikes creating the lifeblood of vectorialist platforms. Originally denoting shifting relations of labor characterized by performativity, virtuosity and immateriality, cognitive capital’s current material mutations, especially those occurring in uncounted populations of neural synapses, now embody and extend networked cultural relations across our habitus.

This conference begins with these provocations and explores the ‘architectural’ implications of such changes. We introduce the notion of Acid Architecture as a term that, on the one hand, delineates a state of psychedelically induced mind warping resulting from excitation of alternative serotonergic active sites and, on the other, the resulting wall paintings, hive minds, design initiatives and architectures that emerge from the fanciful imaginings of this alternative state of consciousness. Acid Architecture can be hypothesized to function at all physical and temporal scales as a means of escape from the processes of normalization and governmentalization at hand in neurocapitalism’s contemporary forms of subjectivization.

Ed Keller moderated, spoke, and served as co-organizer with Warren Neidich.

Future of Mind: Symposium

Ed Keller, Bill Hibbard, Nick Land, David Weinbaum, Ben Goertzel.

The symposium explored the future possibilities of intelligence in the broadest way possible. What kinds of minds will future AGIs and robots possess? What kinds of collective intelligence will emerge among humans, cyborgs, robots, and AIs? What new types of complex self-organizing dynamics will arise, stretching beyond our current concept of “intelligence”? What will our current notions of “ethics”, “consciousness” and “creativity” look like from the perspective of 2050 or 2200? 

The day featured a series of panels moderated by Dr. Goertzel and Prof. Keller, combining contributions of expert panelists with those of audience members. Five minute ‘lightning talk’ presentations by panelists were followed by discussions encouraging all participants and audience to develop a day long conversation.

Guests included Cosmo Harrigan, Natasha Vita More, David Weinbaum, Nick Land, Bill Hibbard, Reza Negarestani, Patricia Reed, Pete Wolfendale, Peter Watts, Ben Bratton, et al. 
Convened and moderated by Ed Keller and Ben Goertzel.

We partnered with The New Centre to host one day of their week long, parallel, #AGI seminar, and were joined by them in one panel. the-new-centre-2016-nyc-summer-residency-july-18-22/4077


9:30-10 AM: Workshop Introduction

10-11:15 AM: SESSION 1: The Future of the Individual: AGIs, Cyborgs, Uploads, and …

Epistemological horizons of the individual and collective mind. Rethinking the ethics and politics of mind beyond individual or gender.

◦   Panelists: Cosmo Harrigan, Natasha Vita-More, Amy Li, & by videolink Peter Watts

11:30-12:45: SESSION 2: Economies of Intelligence

The economics of intelligence; and the intelligence of economies.  Continuing thoughts on the relation between emerging ‘radical economies’ and the role of cognitive & computational platforms. Infrastructure, complexity, collapse.

◦   Panelists: Ted Goertzel, José Cordeiro

12:45-2 – lunch break

2-3:15: SESSION 3:  Ethics, Ethologies and Ecologies of the Emerging Global Brain

Non-anthropocentric models of cognition and intelligence. Blockchain and tech-ecology as platform for a ‘noosphere’. The absolute limits of the human. Critically unpacking various computational models and a broader definition of life and ecology. Addressing the human/non-human/alien relationship.

◦   Panelists: David Weinbaum, Nick Land, Bill Hibbard

3:30-4:45: SESSION 4:  #AGI: Accelerate General Intellect

[organized with the collaboration of The New Centre]

◦   Panelists [TBC]: Reza Negarestani, Pete Wolfendale, Patricia Reed

Panel Abstract: What does it mean to accelerate the general intellect in the age of artificial intelligence? #AGI begins from the investigation of distributed networks from which thought assembles and into which it disperses. Unlike in the past, general intelligence, algorithms, and networks are together becoming as irreducible to the efforts of “universal” intellectuals as cultural and political movements have become to “universal” leaders. Will the future enable a more radical, integrated, but also more complex mode of cultural and political engagement? One predicated upon what Marx describes as, “the conditions of the process of social life itself… under the control of the general intellect.”*

#AGI explores the new intensifying developments in the field of AI that are making possible subjectless modes of the general intellect, more collective and more general than any single individual or network.

* Karl Marx, Grundrisse (London: Penguin Books, 1973), 706.

5:00-6:15: SESSION 5: Mind Beyond Mind

The relations linking radical invention, aesthetics, biological networks, and cognition. The Stack.

◦   Panelists: Vlad Bowen, Elliott Sharp, Ben Bratton [by videolink]

6:15-6:45 : Workshop Wrap-up

Morning session video

Afternoon session video