Kirk Pearson (b. 1994) is an award-winning multimedia artist and researcher, who spends roughly half his time making new things and the other half taking stuff apart. Kirk spends a lot of time telling stories via new technologies, and every once and a while, inventing them. 

He does not like writing in the third person.

I am currently a Thomas J. Watson fellow, traveling the world working with communities that invent instruments, and composing pieces for them. As of May, I am a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory, with degrees in music composition, geology, and film.

Kirk Pearson ToyPiano.jpg

A lot of my creative career is spent tinkering. From classical scores to film soundtracks, I like to experiment with the sonic qualities of everyday objects. I've composed pieces for sampled cattle auctioneers, sound designed car commercials using blenders, and rigged up tightropes with electromagnets, treating them like oversized guitar strings. My work for advertising has appeared on content produced for Greenpeace, Nike, Ford, TED, and many more. Films I have scored for have received accolades from Cleveland International Film Festival, Cannes, Balkanima and several others.

This tinkering has also led me through a career in research. My methodology often includes creative and unexpected uses of electronic tools, such as modeling seismic data with audio processing algorithms, building virtual humans to assess how children speak, or using CT scanners to investigate how trilobites moved. I've served as visiting researcher in Human-Computer Interaction at both CMU and UW, and recently published a paper in paleontology with the American Museum of Natural History. In the humanities, I often write about film, music theory, and a considerably more niche interest of mine-- theme park narratology. 

I cut sandwiches diagonally.


  • I am presently in Costa Rica, working with musicians, inventors, and otherwise creative people as part of The 21st Century Orchestra, my principal project as an IBM Watson Fellow.
  • BIT's fifth album, "the first time i saw lenna" was released in April 2017.
  • The four-story surrealist installation "memory_archive" completed its showing in Oberlin, OH in March 2017.

People That Do Great Work That I Appreciate:

Vanessa Grasing, songwriter, vocalist

Christy Rose, composer, filmmaker, circus artist

Nick Dunston, bassist, composer

Andres Cuervo, software developer, designer

James Vitz-Wong, bassist, composer

Antfood, creative audio studio

Mary Lilith Fischer, writer, choreographer, artist 



Zach Christy, animator, motion graphics artist

Katerena Kuksenok, creative software developer

Julian Korzeniowsky, composer

Sage Jenson, multimedia artist

Hayden Arp, composer, songwriter

Clara Lu, visual artist

Joo Won Park, composer, inventor

Mari Kroin, artist, architect