Kirk Pearson (b. 1994) is a multimedia artist and researcher. He is a senior at Oberlin College, where he is working towards degrees in music composition, film, and geology.

He does not like writing in the third person.


Statement: As an artist and scientist, I spend about half my time making things and the other half taking things apart. I spend a lot of time telling stories via new technologies, and every once and a while, inventing them. 

A lot of my musical 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.

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. 

Originally raised in Brooklyn, I currently study composition at Oberlin Conservatory, as well as cinema and geology from the adjoining college. In March 2017, I was awarded the Thomas J. Watson fellowship to study communities that invent instruments and compose original works for them.


CURRENT PROJECTS:

  • FIN: An Interactive Documentary is presently being recut and will have a web release by the summer of 2017.
  • My 2017 honors thesis from Oberlin College will deal with the functional morphology of trilobite C. tesselatus and its distinctive "lace collar" feature. I'm looking to figure out what the pitted fringe was used for-- feeding, burrowing, hydrodynamic stability, or even sensory perception.
  • BIT's fifth album, "the first time i saw lenna" will be released in April 2017.
  • "A History of Animation" will be my final course taught under Oberlin College's experimental college program.
  • I recently designed and taught a 2-credit design course at Oberlin College about theme park design. "Theme Park Theory" is the first accredited college course based on this topic.
  • Principal photography for Sea Change took place from June to August 2016 in Indonesia. The film is a visceral examination of the changing maritime economies of Southeast Asia.

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 

Mari Kroin, artist, architect

 

Zach Christy, animator, motion graphics artist

Patrick Gilfether, filmmaker, cinematographer

Katerena Kuksenok, creative software developer

Julian Korzeniowsky, composer

Sage Jenson, multimedia artist

Hayden Arp, composer, songwriter

Clara Lu, photographer

Joo Won Park, composer, inventor