Day Three Highlights

"Chaos and Control: Form in 17th-Century Music," featured performances by Ingrid Matthews and Byron Schenkman, co-directors of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. The musicians performed the music of the early 17th century through the common practice harmony of Archangelo Corelli. The pair also performed sonatas for violin and continuo by Dario Castello and Heinrich Schmelzer.

“This is ‘modern’ music,” Schenkman said, referring to the period of the 17th century in which composers sought to create sonatas in “modern” style.  Controversy over musical taste and style is not new, Schenkman said, referring to a treatise written in the 17th century on the “Imperfections in Modern Music.”

Moving through several pieces, Matthews and Schenkman demonstrated how musical tastes and style changed over the centuries.  “Whenever you have chaos and instability, people long for comfort. The way they do that in music is the ground bass – a repeated chord pattern.”  Composers of that era also used extreme contrast in their music – beginning a piece with a very cheerful melody, only to end on a solemn note.

The late 1700s was also the time that music begin to be available to the public through opera performances. “Up until now, composers were writing music which was only available to the intelligentsia by private performance.”  Modern operas were like Hollywood movies today, Schenkman says. “An opera might last 5-6 hours, so there needed to be a lot going on to keep people’s attention. There were lots of stage spectacles -- fire, and gods coming down from the sky.  They needed catchy tunes to keep the audience engaged, and so the aria was born.”

Keynote Address: "Design as Development"

The keynote address of the Innovation Forum was delivered Wednesday night by Carol Strohecker, Ph.D, Director of the Center for Design Innovation at the University of North Carolina.

“Design permeates every aspect of our lives - what we touch, drive and wear; the buildings we live and work in.  It’s very pervasive,” she said.  “Design is a compelling way to bring people to the table to think creatively and constructively.” 

Strohecker noted that design is an iterative process. “The designed thing doesn’t pop into being,” she said, “it emerges from the process.”

Strohecker guided the audience through early thought leaders in the field of design. Much of her own work has been focused on using advanced computing technologies to create learning tools. She is the developer of “Microworlds,” a set of software learning activities that help users understand motion study, specifically balance and topology (spatial relationships).

She was an early student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, and was also one of the first research scientists at the Mitsubishi Research Institute.  She moved on to what was then an MIT media lab in Dublin, which had a partnership with the Irish government.  There she began applying principles of design to economic development. She has continued this work in North Carolina with the Piedmont Triad, an area that has lost thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector over the last decades.

“A new economy requires a different strategy,” Strokecker says. “Our focus is on designing livable communities.”

Today at the Center for Design Innovation, Strohecker and her team are exploring thermal imaging and software modeling techniques. “We are creating new programs for students to get involved in 3D modeling,” she said. “We also hope to work in electronic textiles, to create garments that will detect the physiological conditions of the wearer.”

In the future, CDI will focus on:

  1. Economic development - new ideas that translate into jobs, services, intellectual property. “These are new kinds of jobs, some we can't even envision yet,” she said.
  2. Education - new ideas, techniques, methods in a new academic program. They will focus on digital media for health care, education, communication, entertainment and transportation.

“We have design in every aspect of our lives, and we need multiple perspectives in different design processes,” she said.  “Design happens in many scales:  Emotional, and in the design of organizations, economies and communities.”

The evening included responses by Anne Basting, executive director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Milwaukee, and George Northcroft, regional administrator, U.S. General Services Administration Northwest.

A response in dance was performed by Rebecca Johnson and Jessica Landry.  A response in film was presented by the Center for Serious Play, directed by Jason Pace.

Did You Know?

A new $19.7 million Student Activities Center will open in 2015.