Keynotes and talks will cover a wide range of topics and will be presented both in-person and online. We are excited to present this year’s Keynotes:

The Musical Instruments of Star Trek  by Astrid Bin

In the futuristic universe of Star Trek there are a lot of musical instruments, and many of them using far-future technology. The designers of these instruments never intended them to actually work, and were therefore led by their imaginations and not by the limitations of earthly technology – the opposite of the instrument design process today, where the design process tends to be heavily influenced by the affordances of the technology we have to hand.
In this talk music technology researcher and theorist Astrid Bin explains how she explored this imagination-first process of instrument design by recreating an instrument, as faithfully as possible, from the show. Through the process – from discovering the instrument, to getting input from the show's original production designer, to figuring out how to make the instrument's behaviour true to the original intentions (but using primitive 21st century embedded sensors and computers) – she describes what she learned about designing real digital musical instruments through trying to recreate an imaginary one

Incompleteness is a Feature Not a Bug by David Zicarelli

If you’ve been in the music technology field for any length of time, you may have encountered the visual programming environment called Max. Maybe you’ve wondered what kind of people work on a computer program that doesn’t really seem to do anything?

In this talk David will share the unlikely story of Max’s transformative impact on both people and organizations, starting with his own life and that of his company Cycling ‘74. 25 years ago he was a reluctant entrepreneur with no real goals other than continuing to work on some cool software. Over time, he became more interested in exploring new ways of working, and realized that Max itself was an inspiration for the culture he was seeking as a software developer. Max's design and philosophy has allowed us to work as a fully remote team since the beginning with little need for planning and hierarchy. David will identify some properties common to both software and organizational architecture — many learned through trial and error — that seem to sustain creative flourishing of both people and teams. Some of these include learning to solve less than 100% of the problem, parameterizing interdependence and personal development, and building trust through innovation instead of rules. Finally, David will discuss some limitations of the Max approach and show how they’ve tried to address them in their most recent work related to code generation and export.  

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