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Our guest today is Luca Forcucci.
Luca Forcucci is a scientist and an artist at the same time. He holds a PhD in Music, Technology and Innovation from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. In his research, he investigated how the human brain perceives sounds and space, and how our memories influence the images that we create while listening to the sounds.
Nowadays he is based in Berlin, but he prefers to call himself a “nomad” since he presents his artworks and conducts the research all over the globe.
In this interview with Jo Havemann, Luca reflects on the fundamental differences between arts and science, what it means to be the only artist in the lab, and how the two disciplines mutually enrich each other.
We are here today with Luca Forcucci from Switzerland and he’s an artist and also a scientist. In this episode he will tell you more about how he became an artist as a scientist. Welcome Luca!
Hi my name is Luca Forcucci and I am very happy to be here by the river Spree with a nice sun in front of us. I have a PhD in music, technology and innovation also known as Sonic Arts. There’s a comma between music and technology by the way.
I became involved in this research after a Master in Sonic Arts, studying mainly in Belfast is the UK and in Leicester; I got my PhD from De Montfort University. Before that I studied architecture so I have a diploma in architecture and I have practiced for 20 years but I have always been involved in music meaning I had a record contract very early and I played concerts for many years in Switzerland. I am used to production and research of artists, but I also have been involved in what is called Electroacoustic Music. Meaning neo-music or new music.
When I started my PhD right after my master studies I got a grant from the Swiss government. That grant was part of a program called the Swiss artists in labs that would put artists into scientific labs in Switzerland for 9 months. Then the idea was to see what kind of outcome can come from this research and interactions.
I was in the laboratory of cognitive neuroscience in Switzerland which is part of the Brain Mind Institute. I was working with Professor Olaf Blanke. His main research back then was about out-of-body experiences. The idea was to see how we can handle prosthetics, so various issues and so on. Most of the research is conducted to have virtual imagery, meaning the integration of this in the brain is multimodal so the idea was to see what’s the role of the sound so we conducted research on that part. Right after that program, I started my PhD which was directed into the arts, Sonic Arts.
With this idea of how we perceive sounds, what’s the role of embodiment into sound and personally I was interested in mental imagery: What kind of mental imagery there would be in the mind of a person when this person will listen to a particular sound or particular composition or particular sound installation.
Obviously, everyone has a personal historical background and memory of course but it was interesting to see if particular space or architectural space would be represented by the brain and if we can find patterns.
What kind of sounds are you using for your studies?
I used mostly sounds from my expedition e.g the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. I stayed there for two weeks with indigenous peoples, rainforest sounds, sounds from cities like Shanghai but also sounds from the body and how they interact between each other.
You’ve just listened to episode number 51 of PhD Career Stories. If you want to know more about Luca Forcucci and see and listen to his creations, check the links in the description!
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