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JOB: Paid Opportunity this summer with the Ability Project

The Ability Project is partnering with our friends at Vision into ArtNational Sawdust, and ARUP to work on an interesting project. The brief is below:

Sensorium AI is an international research, arts and technology project, with the overall aim of democratizing the development of voice-recognition AI and expanding possibilities for creative expression of voice.
The project has a specific focus on strengthening the experience of voice for people with voice-related disabilities, speech impairments and atypical speech patterns – beginning with the Cerebral Palsy community and expanding outward from there. Sensorium AI will place an emphasis on both physical voice and expression, as well as voice in terms of social and democratic participation.
The Sensorium AI project will explore voice-AI as part of a broader project with an interwoven set of outcomes and impacts working at the intersections of voice, disability, identity and technology. The project will provide a key opportunity to engage the broader public in developing more nuanced understandings around voice and the meaning of voice. centered around a co-design process with the Cerebral Palsy community, with the research and development anchored by NYU, Arup and Enactlab. This collaborative process will generate new possibilities for developing creative and authentic expressions of voice, in all its forms – physical, social, cultural, and democratic.
The project will manifest through two core outputs:
INSTALLATION: An interactive art installation exploring the relationships between voice, expression and identity. The installation will utilize music, movement and other expressions developed through the co-design process – to allow participants to experiment with different expressions of their voice and their relation to other people’s voices. This installation is intended to be designed to tour and/or take place at multiple sites simultaneously and engage local communities in understanding and contribute to the overall project.
OPERA/SOPHIA: Sensorium Ex is an opera exploring themes of disability, voice, technology and family. The story culminates with a narration by Sophia, an AI robot who represents an amalgamation of the other characters in the story. The AI which animates Sophia will be created through the Sensorium AI research process – a technology built to expressively amalgamate the diverse voices of disability communities across the world, and create a ‘living’ chorus of diverse expressions.

This summer, we are interested in hiring a couple of students to work on generative research around speech and disability. This work will involve some stakeholder interviews, review of current technology, and ideation sessions around what an “expressive” vocalization interface might look like that could be used in an operatic performance, but also (just as importantly) to improve the everyday lives of people who use augmented and alternative communication devices (AAC). We will have a standing research meeting / design session once a week on Mondays beginning June 5th through July 17th, and our funding organization can pay for 60 hours of time ($1635). You’d be working with Lauren Race, myself, and a bunch of interesting folks from other organizations working on this project.
If you’re interested in working with us, please drop us a note with a link to your portfolio or CV, any thoughts you have on your expertise, and anything else you’d like to add.