Northwestern Events Calendar


A Synesthete’s Atlas: Cartographic Improvisations Between Eric Theise and Ben Zucker

When: Friday, April 7, 2023
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Central

Where: Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free and open to all

Contact: Block Museum of Art   (847) 491-4000

Group: Block Museum of Art

Category: Academic, Fine Arts



Real-time cartographic improvisations using projected, manipulated digital maps by Eric Theise, in live collaboration with Ben Zucker’s multi-instrumental transformations. A visual wash of street grids, land masses, water bodies, and curiosities from built and natural environments. Saturated colors. The subtlest of tints. Unreal spaces for formerly-real sounds. Glitches in crowdsourced data. Jittery zooms and pans. Orphaned information and free-floating symbology.

Since its Lisbon premiere in April 2022, A Synesthete's Atlas has been performed in a dozen-plus US cities in collaboration with improvising musicians, movement- and spoken word artists. Theise's projection platform is based on OpenStreetMap data, a collection of open-source mapping libraries, and a few thousand lines of his own JavaScript code.

The performance will last 50 minutes and will occasionally introduce strobing effects that may affect photosensitive viewers.


About the artists:

Eric Theise is a San Francisco-based artist and geospatial software developer. Through video and realtime performance tools he reinvigorates the perceptual inquiries of structural filmmakers and the Light and Space movement, occasionally incorporating letterform experiments inspired by concrete poetry, as new possibilities in the realm of digital cartography. He received his Ph.D and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern.


Ben Zucker is a composer and performer whose work thrives on juxtaposition and speculation. He has contributed to experimental music scenes across North America and the UK with concert works, albums, scores for media, and frequent performances on brass, percussion, voice, and electronics. They currently live in Chicago, finishing doctoral studies at Northwestern University while working as a performer, teacher, administrator, and organizer.

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