December 21st, 2021


Doug Van Nort Electro-Acoustic Orchestra: Works for the Winter Soltice

Since summer solstice, the group continues to go deep in their explorations, leading to an ever-expanding compositional language and repertoire of palettes that blend gesture, sound, structure, fixity, and spontaneity across diverse electro/acoustic instrumentation.

Selections from this evolution of palettes, which form part of the larger “Quarantine: A Telematic nO(t)pera” project, will be performed.


Composition and Direction:
Doug Van Nort

Electro-Acoustic Orchestra:
Tom Bickley (EWI+FM synthesis), Viv Corringham (voice+electronics ), Björn Eriksson (feedback boxes), Rory Hoy (bass+electronics), Kathy Kennedy (voice+electronics), Kieran Maraj (kin/electronics), Omar Shabbar (max/msp), Danny Sheahan (violin+electronics), Doug Van Nort (soundpainting).

Virtual Staging:
Rory Hoy

A Request:
In these times, more than ever, we need to support the arts and performing artists for their important work. That said, in this case if you tune in to listen to this performance (and even if you don’t) we ask that you instead please donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society here: https://www.irsss.ca/donate.

November 5th, 2021


You are cordially invited to attend the Dispersion Lab’s open lab meeting/presentations for Fall 2021!

We will budget 1 hour for presentations by two lab members, preparation for their respective upcoming conference talks, but will keep the zoom room open afterwards for people to virtually hang out.


4-4:30pm ET: Rory Hoy – Locus Diffuse: An Agent-Based Sonic Ecosystem for Collaborative Musical Play

About: Locus Diffuse is a networked multi-user instrument populated by a simulated slime mold and four human players. Mimicking the biological behavior of slime mold and establishing a virtual living network between player nodes, the system sonifies interaction along these connections. Participants use a browser based interface to play the multi-user instrument, and access an accompanying stream for audio and visual output of the system. Player responses from various play sessions are explored and reported in relation to sonic ecosystems as a product of sound sources intersected with agent behavior, defining interaction through personal connection to agents, an aural vs visual understanding of the system, and various frames of focus employed by participants in regard to human/machine and inter-human collaboration.


4:30-5pm ET: Janica Olpindo – Towards Inclusive and Interactive Spaces for Breakdancing

About: This talk provides a critical reflection on performance gestures within the context of ’breaking”, explored in the process of constructing an interactive system using design methodologies drawing on the framework of ”defamiliarization”. Through a user study conducted as exploratory dance sessions with female practitioners of breaking, we observe the relationship between movement and music generated by the Interactive Breaking Music System (IBMS). We question how practitioners embody breaking aesthetics in the gestures that emerge from their interaction with the IBMS and how this system might be leveraged to create a welcoming environment for b-girl practitioners, and possibly subvert or transform gender norms from breaking culture that manifest through movement.

September, 2021

The Dispersion Lab is pleased to be an Affiliate of the Jacktrip Foundation!


July, 2021

Listening and Sounding in Virtual Space – Call for Performers!

We are looking for a small number of participants to take part in a session of telematic structured improvisation as part of our ongoing research into experiences of telepresence in musical performance.
Players should have at least five years of professional experience in improvised musical performance. All types of instrumentation are welcome, both acoustic and electronic.
Chosen participants will be asked to take part in one performance+interview session of 60 minutes, and one follow-up listening session+interview of 60 minutes at a later date.
Participants will be placed in trio configurations, based on instrumentation and availability. The study is scheduled to occur on alternating Saturdays, with the follow-up listening session within two weeks of participation. These follow up dates are flexible with your schedules and can be negotiated.
Chosen participants will receive $75 for participation in the first session, and another $75 for participation in the second session, for their time and expertise.
Potential Performance Dates: May 15/29, June 12/26 (time tbd, between 10am-5pm ET)
Please fill out the following google form to provide contact info and to indicate your flexibility, limitations, or preference in regard to these dates. https://forms.gle/WPbcd2YYHVL93c1A9
Tech Requirements:
Participants MUST have a wired internet connection. A brief technical check meeting will occur before your assigned date in order to test network conditions.
The sessions will use the free software Jacktrip as well as Zoom. Access to these is required, and a tech setup meeting can be arranged for those with minimal experience with these technologies, or who require assistance for setup.
If you are interested in participating, or have any questions or comments, please contact us for further details.

July, 2021

Generations by Omar Nicholas Shabbar, created in the DisPersion Lab as part of an undergraduate independent study/honours project. Jokingly referred to as “I am sitting in a rainforest” during its development, in reference to inspirational pieces by Lucier and Tudor, this work adds new layers related to language, culture and memory. Nice work Omar!

June 20th, 2021


Doug Van Nort Electro-Acoustic Orchestra- nO(t)pera Summer Soltice Selections

Streaming Location: https://youtu.be/DVA7nL8Dq2o

The Doug Van Nort Electro-Acoustic Orchestra presents Summer Solstice Selections from Quarantine: A Telematic nO(t)pera! Since the Winter Solstice performance the group has reoriented, refined and there has been continued development of the musical material for this piece (more info on the nO(t)pera below).

For this performance, in the spirit of a summer breather, we will focus on the musical materials and leave the more complex elements like machine learning/audience participation for the fall – though there may just be a Casper the cat cameo.

Several palettes that are feeling good these days will be performed.

In these times, more than ever, we need to support the arts and performing artists for their important work. That said, in this case if you tune in to listen to this performance (and even if you don’t) we ask that you instead please donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society here: https://www.irsss.ca/donate

Quarantine: A Telematic nO(t)pera is a piece by Doug Van Nort, created for the Electro-Acoustic Orchestra (EAO), for the virual space of connected isolation, for Casper the cat, and for self-sanity. It is not an Opera, but it is not not an Opera. It is a composition for musical, visual and virtual engagement. The music consists of multiple movements that span disparate sonic landscapes. It is organized by pre-composed palettes that integrate text, graphics, Soundpainting and software instruments, and are augmented with additional real-time composition via EAO’s unique Soundpainting conducting. This content is a crystallization of ideas that have emerged from months of regular online rehearsals that date back to the beginning of the pandemic, bringing together performers from three continents and numerous time zones. As a meditation on (and a product of) our network-mediated present, the nO(t)pera also introduces diverse networks of improvised collaboration: cross performer-machine collaboration, performer-animal collaboration and audience-machine-performer collaboration.

One palette from the Winter Solstice Edition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPp7es0T3To


Composition and Direction:
Doug Van Nort

Electro-Acoustic Orchestra:
Eric Bhatnagar (guitar+pedals), Tom Bickley (EWI+FM synthesis), Viv Corringham (voice+electronics ), Björn Eriksson (feedback boxes), Rory Hoy (bass+electronics), Kathy Kennedy (voice+electronics), Aida Khorsandi (notpera FM patch), Kieran Maraj (kin/electronics), Omar Shabbar (guitar+electronics), Danny Sheahan (violin+electronics), Doug Van Nort (soundpainting).

Live action-or-lack-thereof:
Casper, the cat

Cat-herding and video work:
Stacy Denton

Virtual Staging and visuals:
Rory Hoy

March, 2021

We wish to invite you to take part in a research study being conducted entitled “Embodied Digital Instrumental Systems: performer-system perspectives”.
The study emerges out of research being conducted at the DisPerSion Lab (http://dispersionlab.org/) and will take place remotely such as to comply with COVID restrictions and regulations.
For this study we are seeking participants who perform music and sound with digital instrumental systems. For the context of this study a digital instrumental system would include the following:
– utilizes digital technology as the dominant aspect of the system (versus acoustic and electronic instruments)
– improvisation is central to the performance of the system
– includes various interface modalities (sensors, touchpads, controllers, graphical user interfaces, microphones, live coding, to name a few) that provide:
a range of synchronous motion-sound mappings for real-time control of the sound output, and
asynchronous out-of-time control of the sound and sound structures.
– the range of output by the system potentially includes both determinate and indeterminate processes
– the system may incorporate machine learning
– the system may incorporate a database
The focus of the study is on the relationship that performers have with their instrumental systems and how this relationship is, and is perceived to be, embodied. The goal is to collect data related to performers’ interactions with their systems during performance utilizing a variety of methods for documentation and capture.
The study is scheduled to commence early/mid April 2021 requiring about 6-8 hours of your time over a two-week period.
Those chosen to participate will be compensated $150 for your expertise. There are a limited number of spaces for the study.
If you are interested in participating, or have any questions or comments, please contact me for further details.

January, 2021

Venture into the sonic world of ancient Chinese bronze bells, from tiny handbells to a 135-pound behemoth, including a matched set of orchestral bells from 2,500 years ago. Learn about the unique technology that allowed the most advanced bells to produce two tones, doubling the tonic range of each set—the most spectacular was composed of sixty-eight bells. Listen to new music videos created by digital composers from the United States and Canada using the sounds of these ancient instruments. Curator Keith Wilson leads a close examination of bells dating from the tenth to sixth centuries BCE. Composers Doug Van Nort (Ontario), Norman Lowrey (New Jersey), and Hugh Livingston (California) discuss their beautiful audiovisual creations made by utilizing the sounds of the bells recorded at the museum.

January, 2021

We are currently conducting a study on experiences of time during collective electroacoustic improvisation (EAI). We are looking for performers with experience in EAI performance to participate in an ensemble performance session, followed by a later session of listening to and reflecting on this performance. Both of these meetings will take place over Zoom with the initial performance session lasting 60 minutes and the secondary reflection session lasting 30 minutes.
For the purpose of this study, “experience in electroacoustic improvisation” is defined as ongoing practice in improvised music performance involving electronically treated acoustic instrumentation and/or purely electronic signal processing. We seek participants with at least 2-3 years of such experience.