Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies
Seaman's work often explores an expanded media-oriented poetics through various technological means — Recombinant Poetics. Such works often explore the combination and recombination of media elements and processes in interactive and generative works of art. Seaman enfolds image/music/text relations in these works, often creating all of the media elements and articulating the operative media-processes involved. He is self-taught as a musician/composer. Early on he discussed his notion of Structured Improvisation, employing speciﬁc fragments of his own improvisations and musical constructions as a compositional method. Initially explored via tape loops and layering processes in the 80's, he now facilitates this compositional methodology using the computer, in particular using the audio program Ableton Live. He often collaborates with others in terms of his musical output.
Media Research - Recombinant Informatics and Neosentience
Seaman has been interested in meaning production and has explored ideas around computational meta-meaning systems— systems that enable a user to become mindfully aware of how meaning is arising and changing through their interaction. He is deeply interested in new forms of computation, learning systems, the concept of creating an electrochemical computer, as well as the concept of Computational Creativity – both using the computer as a creative tool, as well as articulating the future of creative potentials as explored via computational devices – the creativity of creativity. He has won a number of awards including two awards from Ars Electronica in Interactive Art; Intel Research Gift (3 years); Awards in the Visual Arts – Rockefeller Foundation; Fulbright Distinguished American Scholar (Senior Technological Specialist); International German Video Art Prize; NEA Fellowship; Semens’ Stipendium; and Leonardo Award for Excellence, among others. He has been commissioned on a number of occasions including William Forsythe and Ballett Frankfurt (Sleepers Guts) for video/set design; the Museum of Image and Sound - MIS Museum, Sao Paulo, Brazil – Architecture of Association (with Daniel Howe); Tanz_Performance Köln – Inversion (with Regina van Berkel); Vision Ruhr — Exchange Fields (with Regina van Berkel); National Gallery of Canada — Red Dice | Des Chiﬀré; Greatwoods & Leonard Slatkin, Guest Conductor Pittsburgh Symphony — Pictures at an Exhibition (video for live performance); and the Contemporary Art Television Fund (CAT) – The Water Catalogue.
More recently he has been exploring notions surrounding Recombinant Informatics — a multi-perspective approach to inventive knowledge production. The work - The Insight Engine explores interactive Koestler-like bisociation processes for the exploration of crossing disciplinary boundaries and stimulating unconventional thought in research. This generative experimental search-engine work was funded by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Bass Connections – The Brain and Society. Seaman is currently working on a series of art/science collaborations — poetic installations and scientiﬁc research papers. The book Neosentience | The Benevolence Engine with Otto Rössler came out through Intellect Press. It explores the history as well as the future of AI and Robotics. Ongoing discussions with Rössler and a new book are in the works exploring Rössler's entire research career. Seaman has also collaborated with artist/computer scientist Daniel Howe on multiple works exploring AI and creative writing/multi-media and has completed an album of experimental music with Howe entitled Minor Distance. He has developed a series of new generative works and is undertaking interface research with Matthew Kenny. He has also collaborated with Craig Tattersall from The Boats / The Humble Bee, The Remote Viewer et. al. They have ﬁnished a large audio work (over 7 hours) entitled Light Folds (working in part with Ciompi Quartet at Duke) and are working on a new album. He also ollaborated with vocalist Marissa Bergmann on a new series of sonic works - A solo album called f (noir). He is a member of the Duke Institute For Brain Sciences. He co-runs The Emergence Lab with John Supko, Media Arts + Sciences at Duke University. Seaman and Supko's album s_traits exploring AI collaboration was discussed in the top 10 for new Classical music in the New York Times in 2012. Seaman and Supko are currently working on a major new experimental Opera called The Oper& exploring image, music and text relations.
Seaman studied at Rhode Island School of Design (Foundations, Video and Sculpture), The San Francisco Art Institute (Scuplture, Performance, Installation), MIT (Master of Science in Visual Studies), and the University of Wales (at the Center for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Art) for his PhD. He is currently working on a new book – From the Architecture of Ideas: The Life and Work of Ranulph Glanville, Cybernetician.
Generative poetic systems, interactive art, experimental art, music, installation art, generative computational tools, new forms of computation, recombinant informatics, recombinant poetics
s_traits. Composer, Musician, Narrator. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/arts/music/classical-critics-pick-the-top-music-recordings-of-2014.html (2014)
"s_traits" is an album of generative electronic music written by composer John Supko and media artist Bill Seaman on the Manchester, UK label Cotton Goods. s_traits is the product of three minds: two human, one artificial. With a discarded electronic track to the early version of Supko’s percussion duo Straits as a starting point, Supko and Seaman compiled more than 110 hours of audio source material over a three-year period, including field recordings, analog and digital noise, acoustic and electronic instruments, cassette recordings of Supko’s juvenilia, recordings of Seaman and Supko playing the piano (inside and out), and soundtracks from documentaries made in the 1960’s and 70‘s.
During that time, Supko developed – in part in conversations with Seaman – the intelligent bearings_traits software to “navigate” this vast ocean of sound. The program selects samples from the database – ranging from barely a second to a few minutes in length – and juxtaposes them to create spontaneous, multitrack compositions. Twenty-six of these “first drafts” have been developed by the two collaborators into the 77-minute album that is s_traits. Thirteen tracks were shaped by Supko, thirteen by Seaman, alternating odd- and even-numbered tracks (though they don’t disclose who worked on which.)
Generative Version with Todd Berreth
Exchange Fields (Digital Remake). Creator. (2010)
with Regina Van Berkel. Major Digital Remake of Installation and Exhibition.
Passage Sets / One Pulls Pivots At The Tip Of The Tongue. Creator. (2009)
Architecture of Associaiton. Creator. (2008)
The Watch Detail, City Tower. Creator. (2008)
Com<->Space. Creator. (2007)
Collaboration with Designer Yeong-woong Cheong
The ThoughtbodyEnvironment 1. Creator. (2005)
Boston Cyberarts, Cambridge, MA
Epiphany/Zjavenie. Creator. (2004)
Epiphany/Zjavenie . Creator. (2004)
Galeria Jana Koniarka Trnava, Slovakia