Innovative research lab that uniquely combines Art, Engineering and Social Practice. It’s a university initiative to unite these three disciplines and blur rigid boundaries between them.
In 2016 “Byzantium 2.0 Acoustic Time Travel” – a collaborative project by Olya Dubatova, James Donahue (Berklee School of Music), Sharon Gerstel (UCLA), Chris Kyriakakis (USC) was awarded USC Arts and Humanities Initiative Visions and Voices Grant. The performance event will take place on February 9 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. More details will be announced soon.
This project investigates the radical shift in the architectural shape of the Byzantine church in the Eastern Mediterranean, from a long basilica to a compact, centrally-planned building crowned by a dome. The researchers hypothesize that the reason for this shift was the creation of a new type of space that could acoustically enhance a ritual performance that was primarily chanted – a reason that has never been explored before. The investigation focuses on the transformation and development of the Byzantine church as a performance space by analyzing architectural changes, acoustical properties, the development of chant, and the introduction of decorative themes that are related to music and ritual setting, in a set of buildings from the 9th – 15th century. Data obtained from this study will have the added benefit of enabling musicologists and sound engineers to create sound spaces within studios that mimic the sonic dimensions of actual Byzantine settings. The data will also be used in support of an NSF grant proposal to produce a study of medieval psychoacoustics.