Challenge of Unasked Questions | Innovating Music Podcast

2 min read
Innovating Music Podcast UCLA CMI

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Refik drives new combinations of music, architecture, technology, and design forward, always asking “unasked questions.” In this podcast, he discusses many of his projects, where he is exploring “alternative reality . . how to live without bias in our reality.” He believes that architecture is a canvas and light is material. He brings music into every moment in his life, noting it is a “tool of thinking” and storytelling, allowing technology to be visible. He discusses his work with the LA Philharmonic, Microsoft, and Esa-Pekka Salonen a few years ago. He also shares some his work now in his Residency with Google in Machine  Intelligence where he is rethinking libraries. He discusses his work with Adam Gazzaley’s neuroscience team at UCSF Neuroscape and LA Phil to analyze brain activity while subjects listen to music. He discusses his approaches to innovation, as well as the differences of working with other innovators, and how “alignments are the magic point.”


Guest: Refik Anadol, Refik Anadol Studios

Refik Anadol is a media artist and director — or perhaps a magician. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, he came to UCLA Design Media Arts, where he now is a lecturer and visiting researcher. As noted in the podcast, his current work is very exciting. Most recently, you may have seen his “Infinity Room/New Edition” at SXSW 2017, which had gotten an award in Germany. (Video: Refik creates a hybrid relationship between architecture and media arts. Embedding media arts into architecture, he questions the possibility of a post digital architectural future in which there are no more non-digital realities. He invites the viewers to visualize alternative realities by presenting them the possibility of re-defining the functionalities of both interior and exterior architectural formations. his work suggests that all spaces and facades have potentials to be utilized as the media artists’ canvases. He is the recipient of a number of awards, prizes including Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Award, SEGD Global Design Award and Google’s Art and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency Award.

His work has included an interactive performance art piece at the Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and assistance with the LACMA Rain Machine project ( For the site-specific Disney Concert Hall installation, he used custom-built algorithmic sound analysis to listen and respond to the music in real time, using architecture as a canvas and light as a material. Additionally, the movements of Salonen, as he conducted, were captured by Microsoft Kinect hardware and 3-D depth camera analysis to inform the visuals displayed.

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