Alaskan composer and sound artist who explores environmental systems (ecoacoustics), technological embodiment, and extended polyrhythmic and noise-based musical systems
Musical Ecoacoustics embeds environmental systems into musical and performance structures using new technologies. Ecoacoustics derives musical procedures from abstracted environmental processes, remapping data from the ecological into musical domain. It draws on techniques of sonification, acoustic ecology and soundscape composition (Truax, Westerkamp, Keller and others). The data from nature may be audio information from wind or ocean waves, or it may be some measurable parameter such as temperature, geological change, etc. Going beyond direct sonification, the composer may develop a syntax on the basis of the recorded natural processes, and create new patterns conforming to this syntax.
Dr. Burtner's interest in ecoacoustics arises from his experiences growing in the Arctic of Alaska, on the fishing boats on Alaska's Southwest coast, and in the mountains above Anchorage. As such, snow, ice, wind and sea figure prominently in his work. He developed ecoacoustic techniques in works such as "Sikuigvik" (1997) (the time of ice melting) in which the process of ice melting is used as a musical form; and the large-scale "Ukiuq Tulugaq" (1999-2002) (Winter Raven), in which systems of snow, wind and climate generate musical form. It has further been employed in works such as "Fragments from Cold" (2006) for cello and electroacoustics, "Winter Falls" (2000) for bass and electroacoustics, "Windprints" (2005) for Chinese Sheng and mixed ensemble, "Windsketches" (2005) for metasaxophone, "Snowprints" (2001) for flute, cello, piano, video and electroacoustic, and others. Ecoacoustics is also at the basis of Dr. Burtner's recent immersive multimedia pieces. Dr. Burtner has been deeply engaged in interdisciplinary artistic ventures that include large-scale multimedia works for electroacoustic theatre for voice, instrumental ensemble, computer sound, interactive media, interactive video, dance and theater.
Faculty and students from Arts and Visual Design and Dr. Burtner are the artists and performers.