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 IU Trident Indiana University

Making Art Sculptures Talk in Music

Project Leads: Ed Dambik, UITS Research Technologies

Advanced Visualization Lab, Visualization and Analytics, UITS Research Technologies

Middle VR configuration
Figure 1. Onlookers observe and listen to “Hardwired,” created by IU Fine Arts Professor Margaret Dolinsky. Thanks to concealed electronics, the masks appear to converse with visitors.

Indiana University Fine Arts Associate Professor Margaret Dolinsky’s sculptures conversed with visitors in a recent Fine Arts Faculty show. In a collaboration with the Advanced Visualization Lab, a musical voice was created that enabled masks to listen to onlookers and engage in a musical conversation modeled after the sound and character of captured speech. The embedded voice electronics were designed to read audio changes and tones and answer in a corresponding melodic fashion, using electronic MIDI musical instruments sounds.

Visitors to the Indiana University Fine Arts Faculty Show interacted and conversed with Dolinsky’s sculptures. Created of wire and wood included themes relating to the harmony of conversation in the midst of a crowd.

Professor Margaret Dolinsky of the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts at IU Bloomington displayed her latest work at the IU Fine Arts Faculty Show, a showcase for IU Fine Arts faculty. The work titled “Hardwired” consists of a white wall where two brightly painted wooden masks hang, surrounded by a crowd of wire sculpture faces. In the middle of this crowd the masks face each other in apparent conversation. Concealed electronics designed in collaboration with the Advanced Visualization Lab allow the masks to listen to onlookers and engage in a musical conversation modeled after the character of speech sounds in their vicinity.

IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab is funded through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology; is a unit of UITS Research Technologies; and is affiliated with the Pervasive Technology Institute. For questions about this project or to request a consultation, please contact

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Multidisciplinary Studies (980) - Science, Technology, and Society

Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) - Information Science/Studies