Team Centers Archives of Contemporary Arts Collection of Literary Estates Courses Research Events Campus Cultur News and Media Archive
“Emotion – Drama – Excitement - Fun!”
“Music for Applied Media” at the Ars Electronica Festival
September 10 weekend: The Center for Contemporary Music was present at the 2016 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, including the “U19 Create Your World” Awards Ceremony, the Education Future Summit round table discussion, and an interactive media / e-sports show featuring „Music for Applied Media“ Course Director Miguel Kertsman, his “Music Alchemy” Ensemble, Chicago based interactive media lab, ZoopTEK, and Ars Electronica. The players, the audience, the musicians, and the technicians – all interact becoming one with the experience!
Photo: ZoopTEK LLC
Photo: ZoopTEK LLC
Photo: Donau-Universität Krems
Ars Electronica Alan Andy Miguel
Photo: Credit: Donau-Universität

Two different interactive game stations at the Ars Electronica Festival - one physical, the other digital - display the power of live music and its impact on participants. Kertsman and Ernie Adams (aka “Music Alchemy”) provided a live, improvised Jazz oriented music soundtrack to the pervasive game, "The Play Sphere," designed by Clara Hirschmanner und Philipp Ehmann von Play:Vienna. Kertsman’s musical cues react to what the participants say, and how they move during each game play – all in real time.

Chicago based Drummer extraordinaire, Ernie Adams, shares his enthusiasm for performing at such an "interactive social experiment & e-sports game event": “It’s almost like jazz. It’s all about being in that moment, nothing that we practiced or rehearsed. Paying attention to what happens. I am reacting more than acting. It’s fun for the players and us!”

The second set featured “KnightLight”, ZoopTEK’s vision for the next generation of e-sports and real-time social interaction: An immersive live event including a live sports commentator, two main teams, and members of the audience able to directly affect the performance of both teams from their own mobile devices, while the game action unfolds on the main screens. Each match included six main players (avatars), and anyone in the audience, in situ or remotely wishing to join in! The music, based on Miguel Kertsman’s original soundtrack for the game, organically reacts and follows the game play in real time, adding the emotional charge of a live concert to the action, and bringing each match to a climactic end.

E-sports and similar interactive live events have become more prominent in recent years, and continue to evolve further. KnightLight’s “expanded audience interactivity” breaks new ground in the field, as also does the live, reactive music scoring. This is a totally different experience from, for example, conventional game music concerts when the audience watches a film of a video game in a concert hall while the orchestra plays the music. Such an experience, in itself of course great fun and captivating, is however a linear one, rather than reactive and non-linear interaction experienced in KnightLight.

Alan C. Reck (ZoopTEK) reiterates the importance of music supporting interactive media. „Without music it would lose the emotional impact. There is far more drama and you have the musical interludes behind the game to bring up the excitement, the drama and the emotion.” Game engineer, Andy Urquiaga (ZoopTEK) submits: “Music makes electronic games a lot more immersive and natural to play. Basically, it makes them fun and it tells you what to feel when you are in the game.”

Miguel Kertsman also participated in the Festival’s Future Education Summit, while presenting one of the 15 awards at the u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD Awards Ceremony.

Those events have sprouted out of an ongoing collaboration between the Danube University’s Center for Contemporary Music and the Ars Electronica Center GmbH. Both institutions are exploring collaborative educational endeavors, as well as exchange initiatives involving students, producers, presenters, and faculty.

More information:

Music for Applied Media
Ars Electronica Festival
Music Alchemy

Information and contact

Mag. Dr. phil. Martina Kalser-Gruber, (maternity leave)

Phone: +43 (0)2732 893-2565
Fax: +43 (0)2732 893-4570
Danube University Krems
Center for Applied Music Research
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30
3500 Krems