William Seaman

Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Wales 1999

  • M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1985

  • B.A., San Francisco Art Institute 1979

Overview

Research Description

Recombinant Poetics

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.

Media Research - Recombinant Informatics and Neosentience 
He 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 has come out through Intellect Press exploring the future of AI and Robotics. Ongoing discussions with Rössler and a new book are in the works exploring Rössler's entire research career. He is also collaborating 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 Todd Berreth. 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 collaborated with vocalist Marissa Bergmann on a new series of sonic works - A solo album called f (noir). Seaman is a member of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke and is working on a collaboration with Tuan Vo-Dinh, the Director of the institute, on a project called the Light Data Domain exploring multi-modal sensor transductions and speed of light data transfer. 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 collaboration exploring image, music and text relations. Most recently Seaman has also worked with K. Leimar on a series of audio deconstructions - The Pale Catalog; and a new double album that will be out in the spring 2016 - Deformations. Seaman has also done a series of new linear video works to accompany some of the linear audio compositions.

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.

Expertise

Generative poetic systems, interactive art, experimental art, music, installation art, generative computational tools, new forms of computation, recombinant informatics, recombinant poetics

Seaman, W, and Rössler, OE. Neosentience | The Benevolence Engine. Intellect Press, 2011.

Seaman, W, Simeonov, PL, Brezina, EH, Cottam, R, Ehresmann, AC, Gare, A, Goranson, T, Gomez-Ramirez, J, Josephson, BD, Marchal, B, Matsuno, K, Root-Bernstein, RS, Rössler, OE, Salthe, SN, Schroeder, M, Seaman, B, Siregar, P, and Smith, LS. "White Paper." Integral Biomathics: Tracing the Road to Reality Subtitle: Proceedings of ACIB’11 Conference in Stirling, Scotland, August 29-31, 2011 and iBioMath’2011 Workshop at ECAL’11, Paris. Ed. PL Simeonov, LS Smith, and AC Ehresmann. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, July 2012.

Seaman, W. "The Engine of Engines - Toward A Computational Ecology." Integral Biomathics: Tracing the Road to Reality - Proceedings of ACIB’11 Conference in Stirling, Scotland, August 29-31, 2011 and iBioMath’2011 Workshop at ECAL’11, Paris. Ed. PL Simeonov, LS Smith, and ACE Eds. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2012.

Seaman, W. "Combinatoric Micro-strategies for Emergent Transdisciplinary Education." Rethinking the Contemporary Art School (NSCAD). NSCAD, 2009.

Seaman, W. "OULIPO|vs|Recombinant Poetics." Art & Electronic Media. Ed. E Shanken. Phaidon Press, 2009.

Seaman, W. "Unpacking Simultaneity for Differing Observer Perspectives and Qualities of Environment." Simultaneity. Ed. S Vrobel, OE Rossler, and T Marks-Tarlow. World Scientific, 2008.

Seaman, W. "A Generative Emergent Approach to Graduate Education." Educating Artists for the Future, Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture. Ed. M Alexenberg. 2008.

Seaman, W. "Recombinant Poetics." New Media Poetry, an International Anthology. Ed. E Kac. 2007.

Seaman, W. "Recombinant Poetics and Related Database Aesthetics." Database Aesthetics. Ed. V Vesna. University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

Seaman, W, and Rössler, OE. "Toward the Creation of an Intelligent Situated Computer and Related Robotic System: An Intra-functional Network of Living Analogies." Emoçào Art.ficial 3.0, Itau Cultural Center Publication. 2006.

Seaman, W. "The Illusive Nature of Context: The Negotiation of the Thoughtbody." P0Es1S: The Aesthetics of Digital Poetry. Ed. C Heibach, K Wentz, W Seaman, and K Wentz. Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2004. (Chapter)

Pages

Seaman, W. "A Multi-perspective Approach to Knowledge Production." Kyberbetes 43.9 & 10 (2014): 1412-1424.

Seaman, W. "From Neosentience to Recombinant Informatics, A Research Overview." Computer Science, Technology, and Application (2013).

Seaman, W. "Four Transcultural Case Studies: Transmedial Walks, Drives and Observations." Ed. R Ascott and XJ YUAN. Technoetic Arts 10.Spring (2013): 2-3.

Seaman, W. "Neosentience and the Abstraction of Abstraction." Systems Connecting Matter, Life, Culture and Technology 1.1 (2013).

Seaman, W. "(Re)Thinking — The Body, Generative Tools and Computational Articulation." Technoetic Arts, (2010). (Academic Article)

Seaman, W. "Recombinant Poetics: The Thoughtbody Environment." a Minima Magazine 13.New Media Actual Art (2005).

Seaman, W, Hiwaki, K, Ratjen, W, Seaman, B, Locker, M, Lasker, GE, and Aydin, A. "Intelligent Computerized Dolls as Companions in Old Age." (2005).

Seaman, W, and Gaugusch, A. "(RE)Sensing the Observer — Offering an Open Order Cybernetics." Technoetic Arts: a journal of speculative research 2.1 (2004).

Pages

Seaman, W. "Pattern Flows | Hybrid Accretive Processes Informing Identity Construction." Convergence Magazine 7.2 (2005). (Special issue)

Seaman, W. "Exchange Fields: Embodied Positioning as Interface Strategy." Convergence Magazine 7.2 (2001). (Special issue)

Seaman, W. "Neosentient Architecture Generator – n_Arch.gen." 2015 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW). October 2015.

Seaman, W. "Computational Creativity | A Multi-perspective Approach." Re-New Conference. November 1, 2013.

Perriquet, O, and Seaman, W. "Art Science Relationalities." 2011.

Seaman, W. "Unpacking Neosentience / Dystopian Techno-Evolution." MutaMorphosis: Challenging Arts and Sciences. Prague, Czech Republic. 2007.

Seaman, W. "Notions of the Hybrid : A Particular Hybrid Educational Methodology / RISD Digital Media." International Symposium on Electronic Art. Helsinki. 2004.

Seaman, W. "Motioning Toward the Emergent Definition of E-phany Physics." Newport: University of Wales College, 2000.

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)

Abstract

"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.)

A China of Many Senses. Creator. Bill Seaman / Recombinant Poetics (2012)

Abstract

Generative Version with Todd Berreth

Exchange Fields (Digital Remake). Creator. (2010)

Abstract

with Regina Van Berkel. Major Digital Remake of Installation and Exhibition.

Architecture of Associaiton. Creator. (2008)

The Watch Detail, City Tower. Creator. (2008)

Com<->Space. Creator. (2007)

Abstract

Collaboration with Designer Yeong-woong Cheong

The ThoughtbodyEnvironment 1. Creator. (2005)

Abstract

Boston Cyberarts, Cambridge, MA

Epiphany/Zjavenie. Creator. (2004)

Abstract

Samorin, Slovakia

Epiphany/Zjavenie . Creator. (2004)

Abstract

Galeria Jana Koniarka Trnava, Slovakia

Pages

Exchange Fields (Digital Remake). Creator. (2010)

Abstract

with Regina Van Berkel. Major Digital Remake of Installation and Exhibition.

The Watch Detail, City Tower. Creator. (2008)

Com<->Space. Creator. (2007)

Abstract

Collaboration with Designer Yeong-woong Cheong

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)

Abstract

"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.)

Spring 2017

Experimental Interface Design (ARTSVIS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs A228, M 03:20 PM-05:50 PM
Generative Media Authorship (ARTSVIS 575S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, Tu 03:20 PM-05:50 PM
Experimental Interface Design (VMS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs A228, M 03:20 PM-05:50 PM
Generative Media Authorship (VMS 575S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, Tu 03:20 PM-05:50 PM

Fall 2016

Experimental Drawing (ARTSVIS 130.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, F 12:00 PM-02:00 PM
Advanced Visual Practice (ARTSVIS 497S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, F 03:20 PM-05:50 PM
Experimental Drawing (VMS 131.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, F 12:00 PM-02:00 PM
Advanced Visual Practice (VMS 497S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, F 03:20 PM-05:50 PM

Spring 2016

VMS Capstone (VMS 499S.02)
Smith Wrhs A266, M 12:00 PM-02:30 PM
Experimental Interface Design (ARTSVIS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Experimental Interface Design (VMS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Generative Media Authorship (VMS 575S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, Tu 03:20 PM-05:50 PM

Fall 2015

Experimental Drawing (ARTSVIS 130.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Experimental Interface Design (ARTSVIS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Experimental Drawing (VMS 131.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Experimental Interface Design (VMS 198.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Spring 2015

Senior Capstone in Visual Prac (ARTSVIS 498S.01)
Smith Wrhs 228, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Generative Media Authorship (VMS 575S.01)
Smith Wrhs A268, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Spring 2014

Generative Media Authorship (VMS 575S.01)
Smith 228, M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
VMS Capstone (VMS 499S.01)
Smith A266, W 10:05 AM-12:35 PM