Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Indexical & Design by Cosmic announce a series of Digital Alchemy Talks

By Andrew C. Smith
Executive Director, Indexical
Special for Santa Cruz Tech Beat

September 3, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

Indexical & Design by Cosmic announce a series of Digital Alchemy Talks, running every second Friday from September through December 2019 at the Design by Cosmic studio at 115 Cooper St., Santa Cruz.

These talks feature historians, artists, and thinkers probing the intellectual and ideological undercurrents of art and technology. Digital Alchemy Talks is part of an eight-event series that also includes a film screening and live concert performances by leading and emerging artists from the Bay Area and around the country. For a full listing of events, visit Indexical’s Digital Alchemy page.

“Digital Alchemy intertwines critical conversation, history, and artistic practice to reflect the relationships between technology and culture. We believe that technology is not neutral, and that art shouldn’t be either.” —David Kant, Curator & Technical Director, Indexical

Digital Alchemy Talks kicks off with Catherine Provenzano on September 13, 2019 at 6pm, in a talk titled “Pitch Correction Software and Vocal Ecology.” In this first event, Provenzano discusses the Auto-Tune pitch correction device, invented in Scotts Valley in the late 1990s, and describes her research interviewing producers, engineers, artists, and software developers in Los Angeles, New York, Santa Cruz, and Germany. Provenzano uses the metaphor of “ecology” to describe how the choices and beliefs that underlie commercial audio products are used, co-opted, and sometimes undermined by the artists who use them. LA-based vocalist Micaela Tobin, who performs under the name White Boy Scream, will join the evening with an overview of her own artistic vocal work.

The talks continue with a look at artificial intelligence through the lens of early electronic music [10/11/19: Jon Leidecker], to techno-utopianism and the disintegrating idealism of 1960s counterculture [11/08/19: Fred Turner], to the intertwining of gender and artificial intelligence [12/13/19: Os Keyes]. All talks are hosted at Design by Cosmic in Downtown Santa Cruz, and are free and open to the public.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Design by Cosmic, a company with such a clear social purpose. We look forward to cross-pollinating the art, tech, and design communities in Santa Cruz.” —Andrew C. Smith, Executive Director, Indexical

Indexical is a nonprofit organization based in Santa Cruz, California, dedicated to experimentation in music. Indexical presents performances, workshops, and publications aimed at contextualizing and exploring radical and unfamiliar artistic work. Recent projects have included a site-specific public art event at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive, and an ongoing series of experimental electronic and chamber music performances at Wind River and Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. For more information about Indexical, visit


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