First Advisor Meeting / by Ernie Gerardo

We are both the stoic type, if you can't tell.

We are both the stoic type, if you can't tell.

Next to my lovely mug is NYU adjunct professor Ethan Hein.  We first met at an Arts Media Maker Hack earlier this year, and after some back-and-forth about our mutual interests in music technology, I asked him to be my thesis advisor, and he said yes.  I'm actually his first thesis student to ask him to do this, so I think we'll both learn something.

This is the documentation of our meeting on Friday.

He did come at me with the caveat that he is by no means an expert in the ways of the specific technical aspects of my project, but the area where he offered his help is the one where I'd need it most of all: understanding what I don't already understand.  For instance, I wasn't even sure where to begin with comparative analysis, until he asked me for examples of pieces that inspired mine.  Once we got into that, the floodgates opened up, and what I initially thought would only be a twenty-minute catch-up turned out to be one of the most production 90 minutes I've had.

He actually encouraged me to answer some questions.  To boil down his more more salient points...

- Make a list of public sound installations that are similar to what I'm trying to do.  An example of a few can be found in this Pinterest board I created last semester.


- What is the intended purpose of a given piece?

- Figure out why they do or don't work for their intended purpose.

- Where are they located, and does that factor into the function or success of the piece?

- If we are to say the audience is "members of the general public," then what subset of them would choose to interact with a piece of art, and how long would they spend doing so?

Those are just the abstracts.  We also discussed practical aspects of the piece, including whether or not the piece can provide haptic feedback to a user, how the piece should indicate that it is working, if the feedback from an interaction isn't immediate, and possible materials.  He also recommended some literature for my research.

So far, I've come away from this first meeting armed with a few good questions to research, and some very big practical considerations to approach with just a few months to complete a working model.  Daunting, yes, but I have a great team on my side.