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Scientists and artists say: Bring on the noise!


Sat, Feb 27th 2016 07:00 am

Artists and academics will provide diverse perspectives on the science and aesthetics of noise at Buffalo's next Science & Art Cabaret

By the University at Buffalo

Scientists and artists are ready to make, analyze, debate and celebrate noise at "Signal:Noise," Buffalo's next Science & Art Cabaret.

The event - free and open to the public - will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at The Ninth Ward @ Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. It will bring together an eclectic cast of artists and researchers to discuss the meaning of noise in a series of entertaining and intellectually provocative talks and performances. There will be a cash bar.

"In 'Signal:Noise,' we bring together scientists, musicians and composers to look at noise in all of its manifestations in an original and entertaining way," said Science & Art Cabaret co-founder Will Kinney, a professor of physics at the University at Buffalo. "We will make music, make noise, dissect it, learn its limits, and most of all have a great time doing it."

The lineup for the March 9 event:

•Jaric Zola, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and faculty member in biomedical informatics at the University at Buffalo, will discuss, "Signal of Life: DNA and Computers."

•Bill Sack, musician and composer, will present on "Music as Noise, Noise as Music."

•Kinney, UB professor of physics, will discuss, "Cosmic Noise and the Limit of Knowability."

•A live performance by the Vorechestra will complete the evening.

"Noise is everywhere," Kinney said regarding the theme of the night. "It's a fact of life in science, and in art. Every measurement you make in real-world science contains random influences - noise - which needs to be dealt with in some way. This has broad relevance: For example, the margin of error in political polls is a form of statistical noise, as is graininess in photographs, or static on radio or television.

"But noise, even in science, is a matter of perspective: What counts for one person as noise that should be removed might well count as a signal to be studied for another," Kinney said. "The parallels to art are obvious, where the distinction between, for example, noise and music, is subjective, and a matter of interpretation."

Quirky, intellectual and fun, the cabaret is an ongoing collaborative program between Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, UB and the Buffalo Museum of Science. Individual "cabarets" are held several times a year, with each bringing together an unusual mishmash of speakers from divergent fields to talk about a common theme.

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