Dr. Smallwood is an Assistant Professor in the department of Music, as well as the Program Director for the Humanities Computing Program. His work deals with real and abstracted soundscapes based on a practice of listening, improvisation, and phonography. Ranging from sonic photographs, studio compositions, instrumental pieces, and improvisations, the resulting pieces are textural explorations of space and time.
As a performer of electronics, computers, handmade instruments, and percussion, he has played with a variety of improvisors including Cor Fuhler, Joe McPhee, Phil Gelb, Todd Reynolds, John Butcher, Mark Dresser, and Pauline Oliveros. His instrumental compositions have included performances by Network for New Music, Ensemble SurPlus, the Boston Sound Collective, and the Brentano String Quartet. He has collaborated frequently with video artists, dancers, and other artists, and for the past ten years has maintained an active collaboration with composer and sound artist Stephan Moore as the duo Evidence.

Fall 2011 Interdisciplinary Course Seminar Grant, Cycle One

Sound in the Arts

During the last sixty years there has been an explosive change in the way sound has been explored in the arts, not only in discipline of music, but in many other disciplines in the arts and humanities. Sound has, perhaps, become a medium in its own right, independent of its role in the history of music. How has the rise of "sound art" changed the way we listen? Is sound art the same thing as music? What does it mean for a visual artist, untrained in the musical arts, to use sound in her work? How has sound awareness affected architecture? What comes first in film: image or sound? How do we evaluate these uses of sound? How have these uses of sound changed the way we critique the arts, and music? These and many other questions will be dealt with as we explore the emergence of sound art as a combined outgrowth of new explorations in music, film, architecture, dance, and the visual arts during the past sixty years? We will explore the evolution of sound as an important medium in the arts, as well as the development of soundscape studies in acoustic ecology. This course requires no specific background or training in the arts, although there will be an expectation that students will engage with artistic works at a critical level, as well as some small-scale creative work.