Jaron Lanier and Chromatophoria
Jaron Lanier, the musician and scientist who coined the term "Virtual
Reality" brings the two worlds of his life, music and technology, together
in a revolutionary new form of live performance.
Jaron's group, Chromatophoria, combines deep use of virtual worlds with a
multicultural aesthetic. What "deep" means is that the use of Virtual
Reality isn't just a gimmick in Chromatophoria. Jaron plays virtual
musical instruments that couldn't exist in reality, and uses physical
instruments as sophisticated interfaces to the virtual world.
Jaron plays a great many physical instruments from many cultures. He is
unusual in that he brings a deeply intuitive and emotional style to his
musical work, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of technology.
Jaron considers the complexity and delicacy in the design of musical
instruments to have always been the highest form of technology - he feels
that they are in fact the inspiration computer technology has to follow.
The name Chromataphoria comes form Jaron's love and admiration of the
Cuttlefish, nature's very own computer-like creature. Whereas human beings
have to use hands to craft images, striking an imbalance between our
ability to see and our ability to visually create, this is not so for the
charming Cuttlefish who commmunicates visually and instaneously. Cuttlefish
communicate by displaying luminous, quickly changing, colorful images
all over their bodies. The Chromatophore, which acts very much like a
display unit built into the cuttlefish's skin, sends rapid messages to the
brain that then in turn stimulate insanteous changes in the colors on their
bodies. Chromataphoria is Jaron's virtual dream!
In Chromatophoria, Jaron is joined by an all star group of fellow
explorers. Richard Horowitz is well known for both his compositions, his
soundtracks ("The Sheltering Sky"), and his virtuoso technique on the
Arabic Ney flute. Sussan Deyhim is a singer of international renown. She
raised Lazarus from the dead in Peter Gabriel's "Passion".
Chromatophoria combines a provocative, organic digital visual style with
the sounds of lush grooves and the pure emotion of voice and exotic
Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author. He is probably best known for his work in Virtual Reality. He coined the term 'Virtual Reality', and was a principal pioneer in the scientific, engineering, and commercial aspects of the field.
Currently, Lanier serves as the Lead Scientist of the National Tele-immersion Initiative, a coalition of research universities studying advanced applications for Internet 2. He is also a visiting artist at the Interactive Telecommunications Program of the Tisch School of the Arts, at New York University, a visiting scholar at the computer science department of Columbia University, a founding member of the International Institute for Evolution and the Brain, which is based at NYU, Harvard University, and the University of Paris, and is helping to develop a new program in medical visualization at Yale University. He serves on numerous organizational advisory committees and boards, and has been active in scholarly groups concerned with the future, including the World Economic Forum Fellows, and the Global Business Network.
Lanier has proposed and implemented a variety of technologies that have since spawned industries in their own right. Among his lineup of "firsts" are the first "avatar" for network communications, the first moving camera virtual set for television production, and the first performance animation for 3D computer graphics. He was the first to propose web-based network computers. Along with Dr. Joe Rosen and Scott Fisher he initiated the fields of real-time surgical simulation and telesurgery. As a computer scientist, Lanier is also known as a pioneer in the field of visual programming. Sun Microsystems recently acquired Lanier's seminal portfolio of patents related to Virtual Reality and networked 3D graphics.
As a musician, Lanier has been active in the world of new classical music since the late seventies. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string instruments of Asia. Lanier has performed with artists as diverse as Philip Glass, Ornette Coleman, Vernon Reid, Terry Riley, Barbara Higbie, and Stanley Jordan. He also writes chamber and orchestral music. His record "Instruments of Change" was released on Point/Polygram in 1994. His orchestral commission for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, "Mirror/Storm", will premier in 1998. In the works are a new album of chamber music for Sony Classics, and a Ballet, "The Thinning of the Veil", commissioned by the American Music Theater Festival. He has also pioneered the use of Virtual Reality in musical stage performance; he plays virtual instruments and uses real instruments to guide events in virtual worlds.
Lanier's paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe. In 1994 he directed the film "Muzork" under a commission from ARTE Television. His 1983 "Moondust" is generally regarded as the first art video game, and the first interactive music publication. He has presented installations in New York City, including the "Video Feedback Waterbed" and the "Time-accelerated Painting", which was situated inside the Brooklyn Bridge. His first one man show took place in 1997 at the Danish Museum for Modern Art in Roskilde.
Lanier is also a well known author and speaker. He writes on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technological practices, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism. His book, "Information is Alienated Experience" is forthcoming from Basic Books. His writing also appears in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harpers Magazine, Wired Magazine (where he is termed a "founding writer" in the masthead), Scientific American, and even in the rock magazine SPIN, where he edited a special issue devoted to the future. He appears on national television regularly, on shows such as "Nightline" and "Charlie Rose", and has been profiled on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Composer, performer and producer Richard Horowitz has created a unique
sound-world from his roots in classical music, jazz and electronic/computer
music, and from his studies in trance,
tribal, classical and sacred music from North Africa to Indonesia. He plays
keyboards, percussion and various wind instruments, including the ney, an
obliquely blown reed flute. Since the early 1970s, Horowitz's compositions
have attempted to fuse these influences into a personal and integrated
He has scored many feature films and received a
Golden Globe and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for his work
on The Sheltering Sky, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. One of his most
unusual commissions was by the Moroccan Royal Cabinate to produce, direct
and perform in Ritmos del Futuro Maroc/Seville (the music for the Moroccan
National Day at Seville Expo 92), which Horowitz did with ten "Western"
musicians, including Jon Hassell, and two hundred "non-Western" musicians
who represented ten tribes. Richard Horowitz has lived in London
since 1994, where he composed and produced Majoun in collaboration with
vocalist/composer Sussan Deyhim. The recording, which also features an
array of guest artists from world music, rock and jazz, was released
internationally in July 1997 on Sony Classical.
Born in Tehran, Sussan Deyhim began her performing career with Pars
National Ballet, affiliated with Persian National Television, between 1971
and 1975. In 1976 she received a scholarship to MUDRA, Maurice Béjart's
School of Performing Arts, and subsequently performed with Béjart's Ballet
of the XX Century. Since 1980 Deyhim has been based in New York and has
performed internationally as a vocalist, performance artist and composer.
She has appeared in many international productions, including Jean Claude
Van Italie's The Tibetan Book of the Dead, directed by Assur Banipal
Babilla; works by Elizabeth Swados; in Milan in Orfeo of Leonardo da
Vinci and La Scala, by Micha Van Hengs; and in South America and
Italy in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Nijinksi, with Lindsay Kemp's
English Theatre Group.In 1981 Deyhim began collaborations with Richard
Horowitz when she recorded "Queen of Saba" for Horowitz's album Eros in
Arabia. Together they went on to create a number of multi-media
performances which have been shown at Festival of the Arts and Technology
in Paris, the Berlin 750th Anniversary, ICA in London, and The City Contemporary
Dance Company in Hong Kong, to name a few.
William Calhoun, the widely acclaimed drummer for the innovative
hard rock band, Living Colour, was born and raised in the Bronx, New York.
Will graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston where he received
a Bachelors degree in Music Production and engineering. He was also the
recipient of the prestigious Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Award for outstanding
performance by a drummer. Before meeting Vernon Reid, the guitarist and
founder of Living Colour, in 1986 William Calhoun was the leader of a
progressive rock group, Dark Sarcasm. Since joining Living Colour, Will has
received various awards for his drumming virtuosity, including two Grammy
Award in 1989 and 1991 for BEST HARD ROCK PERFORMANCE by a group. Living
Colour also won an International Rock Award in 1991 for BEST ROCK BAND. In
addition to his work with Living Colour, Will has performed with the
bassist Jaco Pastorious, toured with Harry Belafonte, and recorded with
B.B. King. Will appears on the Tribute to Curtis Mayfield album and plays
on the latest solo record by bassist Marcus Miller, "The Sun Don't Lie".
Most recently, he has released his first solo disc entitled Housework. This
disc is a collection of solo drum performances by William Calhoun. It
contains live drumming and recorded drum solos on the set, hand drumming,
African rhythms, dance, loops, brush work and more. This is the best
example (to date) that reveals Will's unique blend of improvisation and