Community Conversation: Impact, Arts, and Technology

Sunday April 03, 2022 2:00 pm

Read the review in The Technique.

Watch an excerpt on Facebook.

Watch the full event on Spotlight.


Gabriel Kahane – singer-songwriter, composer

Noura Howell – assistant professor, Digital Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

Felipe Barral – filmmaker, director, The Atlanta Opera Film Studio

Moderated by Aaron Shackelford, director, Georgia Tech Arts

The Atlanta Opera and Georgia Tech Arts partner to explore how technology – from film to artificial intelligence – is changing the way we present and think about conventional artmaking. How do we update traditionally “analog” genres like opera? Is this the goal? What do we lose or gain when we limit the creation of art to humans? Panelists will discuss these topics in light of their upcoming projects, a wide array of creative work which includes Kahane’s Magnificent Bird, filming for The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs (the Opera’s upcoming new production), and Howell's work exploring emotional meaning-making with biosensors and biodata.


Meet the panelists:


Gabriel KahaneMagnificent Bird
Monday, April 4, 2022
Ferst Center for the Arts
Tickets & more information

Magnificent Bird is a chronicle, in story and song, of the final month of his year-long hiatus from the internet, which happened to be October 2020, a chaotic time in our digital world. What emerged was a search for a positive alternative to techno-pessimism, an exploration of how we can strive to see ourselves in each other, to renew trust and empathy.

Hailed by The New Yorker as “one of the finest, most searching songwriters of the day,” Gabriel's lyrics build compelling narratives that range from profound to irreverent; his finely crafted compositions propel his stories right to your heart. Gabriel works at the blurred edges of journalism, ethnography, storytelling, and music. His music confounds easy categorization and spans many genres.


Noura Howell, PhD is a design researcher exploring biodata--data about human bodies and behaviors--and in particular biodata pertaining to emotions. What can (and can't) biodata reveal about how people feel, and how might biodata reshape sense of self and social relations? How might biodata technologies better accommodate the richness and diversity of lived emotional experiences? Howell investigates this through designing, building, and deploying interactive realtime biodata displays that invite alternative forms of emotional meaning-making with biodata. These can take the form of color-changing garments, sonic furniture, architectural inflatables, or other dynamic materials. Howell is an assistant professor in Digital Media at Georgia Tech. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, at the School of Information, with a designated emphasis in New Media. More information.


Felipe Barral is a filmmaker and multimedia storyteller who expresses himself in many ways –through his films, videos and audiovisual works, his music, his art and his writing. As a filmmaker, director of photography and multimedia storyteller, Felipe specializes in creative, engaging and cinematic content for the arts. Since the end of 2017, Felipe has been a frequent collaborator with The Atlanta Opera, producing groundbreaking content that blends opera and film in many innovative ways. In 2020, the opera expanded this initiative and created The Atlanta Opera Film Studio and its streaming platform, Spotlight Media. Felipe is now Director of The Atlanta Opera Film Studio. Felipe is also an Emmy® Award-winning producer. He is the Founder and CEO of his own production company, IGNI Productions, specializing in outstanding cinematic content for the arts and the entertainment industry; as well as the Founder and CEO of BELLA, a company that feeds the screens with beautiful cinematic videos produced to reduce stress and improve well-being. Felipe will be filming the opera’s presentation of The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs.

The Atlanta Opera – The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs
By Mason Bates and Mark Campbell
April 30, May 3, 6 & 8
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
Tickets & more information

Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs, one of the most influential people of the modern age, is transformed into a dramatic character in this compelling 2017 opera by DJ and composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell. As the character Jobs looks back on a life dappled by dizzying heights and crushing disappointments, this charismatic, hard-driving visionary confronts the complexities of life and death. Cast in an appealing electro-acoustic soundscape generated by Mac laptop (of course) and live musicians, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs cycles through key moments in his lifelong–and futile–pursuit of perfection and control over everything that matters to him.


Video still credit (c) Felipe Barral


Georgia Tech follows the Covid-19 protocols of the University System of Georgia. Full details can be found on the website,, where you'll scroll down to the "Campus Guidelines" section.

Four people sit in chairs on a bare stage, illuminated by a spotlight. They are all turned around in their seats to look at the video screen behind them.