Sarah Weaver

Sarah Weaver, Director of the Sarah Weaver Ensemble and founder of NowNet Arts, Inc.

“I was happy to learn online about the social tech focus of Civic Hall and felt this would be a good match for the work. I was also excited to become part of a larger community working with social tech.”

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Meet Sarah Weaver. Sarah Weaver is a New York-based contemporary composer, conductor, researcher, teacher, and technologist working internationally as a specialist in Network Music. She is the director of the Sarah Weaver Ensemble and founder of NowNet Arts, Inc. which is a presenter of ongoing productions for an artistic and social purpose. You can connect with Sarah here

What Does She Do?

Sarah is a composer working in telematic music, a specialization within network music which describes live performance via the Internet by musicians in different geographic locations.

“An issue has always been the speed and quality of the connection as well as the latency of the synchronization of the audio stream, which is the work is often enjoyed at universities and government facilities — where Internet2 enables a seamless performance.”

Sarah’s interest in democratizing access — and participation — in telematic music led her to found NowNet Arts, Inc this past year. As an analog to the ongoing challenges that civic tech has confronted in codifying Net Neutrality and broadband access, with NowNet Sarah hopes to realize her long-term vision of professional network arts productions in public venues. One of her current colleagues is at a public library in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a Gigabyte city, reminding us of the disparities in Internet access between regions — even New York City, despite Google being our corporate neighbor.

Ultimately Sarah aspires for NowNet to establish a dedicated network arts venue in New York and in international locations for an eventual network of network arts venues.

As Moore’s Law continues apace (transistors doubling in an integrated circuit every other year) — Sarah’s work frequently confronts phenomenological questions around space and time. Not merely in terms of technology, but in performance: “We’re creating an extended version of ‘now.”’

How Did She Get Into This Work?

While Sarah has been working as a composer for over twenty years, her upbringing — a social worker father and a psychiatric nurse mother — informs her focus on art that is grounded in social purpose. Her impulse to frame the role of the arts as more than aesthetic or escapist has manifest in several projects with the United Nations around peacebuilding (“ResoNations 2010: International Telematic Music Concert for Peace”). Her 2016 work, “Sustainable Balance,” focused on the long-term damage to the environment by palm oil production in Malaysia. The piece grew out of a connection to a colleague from Kuala Lumpur, as well as her aunt’s environmental writing.

Sarah was introduced to “telematic music” in 2006 by the late composer Pauline Oliveros. Telematic music has actually been around since the 1970’s — an early example is NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration using satellites to connect players on either side of the coast.

“I felt this medium amplified concepts I had been working within localized music, so I became immersed with pioneering telematic music together with collaborators due to artistic motivation. In 2009 we began integrating concerts for peace as the medium lends itself to this motivation, and have since integrated more social topics in the productions.”

How Did She Come to Civic Hall?

With Sarah working on transitioning network arts and telematic music from elite institutions to public venues, she was in search of a collaborative workspace that shared her commitment to social purpose.

“I was happy to learn online about the social tech focus of Civic Hall and felt this would be a good match for the work. I was also excited to become part of a larger community working with social tech.”

What Project Is She Working On?

While Sarah is in the process of completing her Ph.D. in music composition at Stony Brook University this spring 2018, she has a number of events on her calendar.

This coming December, the Sarah Weaver Ensemble will perform her work, “Interhere” at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.

Sarah is co-organizing a conference, “Artistic and Technology Strategies for Public and Private Networks,” which will take place April 19-22, 2018 at Stony Brook University and internationally. At the conference, she will perform Universal Synchrony Music — her dissertation, in fact — which has been a long-term collaboration with the NASA Kepler/Kepler and K2 Missions.

“The piece is about establishing a perception of synchrony into Deep Space – personifying stars and planets from deep space – creating a sense of their presence within the networked music medium. We can create a sense of “live” as far as a physical distance as we can perceive.”

Finally, she is producing the launch festival for NowNet Arts for June 8, 2018, at the DiMenna Center uptown, as well as in multiple locations internationally.” She is likewise in the process of composing a piece for this convening.

What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?

Sarah accepts the necessity of being a producer/founder as well as an artist/composer: “It’s part of the instrument. It’s part of the rig.”

While discussions over the Digital Divide and broadband access have focused primarily on access to data, Sarah is excited that we seem to be at the threshold of a conversation around the Arts and Internet access.

She’s still “plugging in” to find out how to best use Civic Hall, but has quickly found that “What’s Your Week” is a great opportunity to get to know individual members. Sarah is very interested in how we might further build out our virtual platform – connecting our membership globally – just as she does with her music.