Welcome Each time I do a project, I am engaged with two things: overcoming limitations and utilizing given factors. The definition of ingenuity is acting in a clever, original, and inventive way. The example sentence given in the dictionary on my mac is “he was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget.” Truly an example that all of us can agree with as being a good one, which basically implies accomplishing great things with limited means. I am the founder and director of the Digital Art Weeks International, and recently I founded the world’s first festival for virtual arts, the Virtuale Switzerland. The success of this festival, which has not even taken place yet, has already brought me around the world. Whether it’s the DAW or the Virtuale, my role remains the same: to increase the familiarity with Switzerland and its institutions through the amalgamation of artistic and scientific endeavors in the form of cultural product, or more simply put “creatively connecting art in science in a cultural context outside of Switzerland and doing this with a certain sense ingenuity, which we could easily refer to as a “touch of Swissness”. Turning toward the project developed for ZHMNY festival and keeping this touch of swissness in mind in order to try to point out to you where Zurich really meets New York, I would like to use the example of the music boxes of the Swiss company Reuge of Saint Croix Switzerland -‐ which is a company in the French speaking part of Switzerland versus the German speaking part where the ETH Zurich is located. Ingenuity as we can recall is acting in clever, original, and inventive way and making the most out of the least which means creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. This is basically what one needs to do in order to construct such as a Reuge music box which leaves us fathomless in how it was accomplished and bewildered by it shear beauty of the music it produces. Standard music box cylinders contain 144, 72 and 32 pitches. If we divide 144 by 12 (the number of tones per octave) we get 12 and if we do the same for 72 we get 6. A range of both 12 and 6 octaves is certainly enough to provide the arranger of a music box melody with enough space to implement a well defined heterophonic or polyphonic music arrangement having clear voice distinction. The challenge truly comes when the arranger is limited to 36 pitches or 3 octaves in range and has to make the melody sound nested in an inventive and colorful orchestration. The solution is always found in the weaving of a countermelody in the crooks and crannies of the melody at hand and it is here where extreme inventiveness and originality truly come into play. Moving in and around the melody, the counter melody creates a swirl of purely implied harmonies using the principles of simple acoustic resonance, that both the artist and the technician join in agreement and acknowledge that something great has been reached through limited means and that one is truly listening to something “ingenious”. The project “Archimedes Meets Switzerland” which is one of the works being presented in the MetroNext+ exhibition is where Reuge mechanics can be experienced. Taking the construction of the Swiss music box as an “example of swissness in a nutshell”, it could be said that it is at such moments when a certain fathomlessness of ingenuity and bewilderment of beauty are experienced is where Zurich truly meets New York. Perhaps this is the first time that something has been done on an official level, but the DAW has been flying New York artists in to Zurich and beyond for almost a decade. Several of these artists have become internationally renowned for their work in Augmented Reality and I am happy to say that I have had the privilege to have those artists team up with me on the ZHMNY project and to whom I owe much thanks. Without them this project would not have taken place.
Fortunately, I had the honor working with some of the most interesting AR artists to date and and thank them personally for all that they have done for this project and AR in general as art genre. Professor Dr. Will Pappenheimer of Pace University here in New York and Professor Dr. John Craig Freeman of Emerson College of Boston Massachussets. Both Will and Craig are featured artists for the first edition of the Virtuale Switzerland and will be joining us in Switzerland this coming June. thanks of course lgoes to Jürg Brunnschweiler and ETH Global for giving us the chance and for generously supporting the project.