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1. a creative collective
2. an interdisciplinary ecosystem
3. an art tech movement


1. a creative collective
2. an interdisciplinary ecosystem
3. an art tech movement

Musical Chairs

April 27-30, 2023

Harvard Yard during ARTS FIRST Festival

November 9, 2023

MIT Museum during sold-out After Dark event

Photos by Ben J. Tang

When we speak, our voices create vibrations that resonate through the minds of listeners and the medium of objects in the room. By storing these vibrational patterns, ordinary objects may thus “remember” an object(ive) history as a complement to listeners’ subjective memories. Musical Chairs reflects on these themes of identity, subjective memory, and oral history, and questions the function of discourse at Harvard and beyond. Through the sonification of social and acoustical phenomena, we connect the improvisational quality of conversation to improvisational music, illuminating the implicit, visceral nature of identity preserved and expressed in spontaneous social exchanges. Then, by using bone conduction speakers to emulate the process of perspective-taking, we illuminate how the creativity, meaning, and productivity of discourse is contingent upon not only asking “who is at the table?” but also actively listening for the answer. More than that, by inverting the competitiveness and exclusivity of its namesake childhood game, we hope that our riff on Musical Chairs fosters a more inclusive and collaborative campus environment for discourse. At once serving as a gathering space, artwork, and sonic archive, Musical Chairs is a setting created from acts of placemaking, highlighting the diverse narrative truths present in every collective of people.


Project Lead & Concept
Peggy Yin ‘25

Carpentry & Fabrication
Tamar Sella ‘25, Chair Design & Build Lead
Chad Gregory Dennis ‘26 (GSD), Fabrication Integration Lead
Sofia Chen ‘26, Design/Build
Wei Chen ‘25 (GSD), Build
Cameron Hosein ‘25, Build

Jason Wang ‘25, Software Lead
Yiting Huang ‘24, Audio & Technical Integration Lead
Suvin Sundararajan ‘25, Hardware Lead

Ben J. Tang ‘23 (MIT), Sound Design & Audio Engineering Lead
Gabrielle Grant ‘24, harp
Sophie Choate ‘23, soprano
Sophia Lerebours ‘26, soprano
Peggy Yin ‘25, soprano
Ari Cheriyan ‘25, alto
Max Allison ‘25, tenor
Judah Lampkin ‘23, bass
Luis Pabon Rico, (GSAS G1), bass

Max Allison, ‘25, Music
Mauricio Cohen Kalb ‘26, (GSD)
Judah Lampkin ‘23, Music
Caine Ardayfio ‘25, Build
Nathan Li ‘25, Build
Adam Mohamed ‘25, Build

Support provided by:
Public Art Program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard, the SEAS Teaching and Learning Group, the AFVS shop team, the REEF makerspace at SEAS, the Sound Lab (Harvard Department of Music), Harvard University Information Technology, Education Support Services (ESS), the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Computing in Engineering Education (CEE) group.
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