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James Perley is an American composer, performer, and interactive media artist. His musical compositions implement custom-made instruments and his performances demonstrate “Non-Strategic Strategy,” in which he explores compositional modes as an aspect of subconscious creativity. In his Berlin residency, James reimagines previous works while incorporating new modes in production and performance.

In particular, James seeks to advance previous developed compositional strategies using voice in a live production. Based on his observations of performers’ tactics and engagement in diverse genres, including theater and opera, James reframes a new approach to contemporary theater by implementing narrative movement and interactive projection.

James Perley at
Open Studios September 2018 September 2018
Open Studios September 2018 September 2018
Open Studios June 2018

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James Perley


MIHI (Musical Instrument for the Hearing Impaired)
Custom Instrument/Installation/Performance (2018)
What if video was audio and audio was video? What if we could
control what people see by what we hear and vice versa? MIHI
(Music Interface for the Hearing Impaired) aims to be a step in the
direction that converges movement of sight with the movement of
sound. Originally conceived and inspired while working with Pauline
Oliveros in 2015 and while doing music technology research at Mills
College in California, MIHI tracks video movement via the camera
eye, which, in turn, triggers sound. Then the sound is reinterpreted
and changed back into vibration.
During my residency at Glogau
AIR, I will aim to extend this idea by
implementing haptic feedback to the user and audience, utilizing
vibration technology that mimics and simulates sound. This extension
will enable persons with hearing loss to not only perceive music, but
also to participate as a composer/performer. Using vibration
methods, similar to the way we receive “silent” notifications on our
smart phones and mobile devices, this project proposes a new
modality for the hearing impaired to appreciate and understand music
and sound, translating music theory and acoustic sensation to an
individual with hearing loss.
There are many areas of the human body that respond to SPL (sound
pressure level) and vibration similar to the ear. The chest, arms, legs,
abdomen and jaw respond to various vibrations in tandem with
sounds. The cochlea in the inner ear is part of a major sensory
system that enables us to hear sounds the way we do, but other
sensory systems of the body also are stimulated and respond to
acoustic vibrations that can help us experience sound, navigate
music, and have visceral experiences through alternative sensory and
biofeedback processes.
Proposed Materials:
Laptop/MacBook with Max/MSP
2 x Bluetooth Trackpads
1 X iPad with Touch OSC
3 x Webcams, USB-C
3 x SM 58 Microphones
3 x 20” Flatscreen Monitors
3 x TENS Units
3 x Loudspeaker Monitors
Various cables and power supplies
Installation Description:
An ensemble of performers, (three in this installation) are conducted
by a fourth person. The conductor operates each MIHI instrument
according to instrumentation and musical role; e.g. rhythm, melody,
and timbre. Each performer sends video information performing with
custom built “Motion Microphones,” (cameras set to trigger audio).
Each performer has a loud speaker for the audience to listen, though
their movements triggered by the video interaction is translated to
vibration movement through the TENS unit. The TENS unit is
attached to another individual in the ensemble, this way they are able
to have a musical interaction and perform by hearing/feeling each
other. The conductor controls the performance duration, tempo, and
structure. Each performer is given a visual score with instruction and
follow the conductors cues. Rehearsals allow performers to plan and
play in front of an audience, and those with hearing disablities are
welcomed to join and participate.
Weblink for Schematic:


2015 — MFA Electronic Music Composition and Recording Media, Mills College, Oakland CA
2012 — MFA Design and Technology, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
2005 — BA Audio Arts and Acoustics in Recording, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago IL

Professional Experience
Production and technical assistant for Pauline Oliveros at Whitney Biennial 2014
New York City and Troy, NY — 2013-2014
Coordinating and programming for Pauline Oliveros’ Whitney Biennial Exhibition, Expanded Instrument System (EIS)/“Deep Listening Room” New York, NY; installation and deinstallation duties, exhibition curator and maintenance, MIDI programming and code development using Max/MSP and Touch OSC/Mira, audio, video and photo documentation of performances at the Whitney Museum
Album design for Deep Listening Band’s “Dubrobin Sonic Gems”, recorded live in Dunrobin Canada, October 2013; photography and video production, graphic design, CD printing layout, PR and poster design for album release
Documentation and Technical Coordination for the 2nd Annual International Conference in Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, July 2014; AV documentation of festival, program coordination, technical assistance and management for guest lecturers, workshops and performances

Leadership roles in classroom/workshop facilities, guest lectures and collaborative projects
Leading, organizing and managing live performance festivals, including, public relations, marketing, managing social media, documentation, technical direction
Interactive music and media performances with custom interface controllers: MIDI controllers, Touch OSC, Mira for Max/MSP/Jitter, installation design with motion sensor and video triggering
Music composition and production, digital and acoustic instrumentation, piano, guitar, vocals, digital synthesis, sample production
Music and mixing software on various DAWs, VST and RTAS plugins: Avid Pro Tools HD/LE, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Audacity, GarageBand, Adobe Soundbooth, Soundtrack Pro, Reason, Waves, Native Instruments, EastWest Play, Toontrack, Melodyne
Post Production/Video software: Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Quicktime, iMovie, VLC, Roxio Toast, DVD Studio, Compressor, Color, Motion FX
Photography, Graphic and Web Design: Adobe Creative Suite (CC), Hype HTML5, iWeb, Muse, Fetch, Aperture, Lightroom, iBooks Author, Adobe Acrobat
Music programming language platforms: Max/MSP, AppleScript, SuperCollider (certificate from CCRMA at Stanford University)
Custom built electronic instruments: Rattle Instrument, Gremlin Controllers, Single FM Transmitting Glass Harmonica and CrimperBox Controller

Works, Exhibitions, Performances
2017 — CITY HAS NO STARS: SLIVR DREAMS , The RendezVU, 2017
2017 — Solo electronic performance, “CITY HAS NO STARS,” Analog Theater, Portland OR
2017 — Film Screening and Film Score “Sherry” Direct by Eliana Lima, Roxie Theater, San Francisco CA
2017 — Solo electronic compilation, “CITY HAS NO STARS”
2017 — Music direction and film score, “Sherry,” Directed by Eliana Lima, CalArts
2016 — Solo electronic music performance, Analog Cafe, Portland OR
2015 — Solo interactive music and video performance of “VANISH” Signal Flow MFA concert, Mills College, Oakland CA
2015 — Guest performer with John Driscoll, (David Tudor Composer-In-Residence), Mills College, Oakland CA
2015 — Solo Performance, Life Changing Ministry, Oakland CA
2014 — Album design, art direction and publication Deep Listening Band “Dunrobin Sonic Gems”, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2014 — Guest Performer with Pauline Oliveros and Thingamajigs at Berkeley Arts Museum, Berkeley CA
2014 — Solo Performance using custom built electronic instrument “Rattle” at the Center for New Music, San Francisco CA
2014 — Solo Performance with FM Transmitter Glass Harmonica at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy New York
2014 — Production Coordinator and documentation for Pauline Oliveros’ “Deep Listening Room,” Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, New York NY
2013 — Duet Performance with Joshua Marshall “CESS/POOL” at the Northern California Performance Platform, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
2013 — Performance California Electronic Music Exchange Concerts Performance, “CONJURE”, Mills College, Oakland CA
2013 — Collaborative performance in Kate Short’s “Oculus” installation, Mills College, Oakland CA
2012 — Studio performance of “A Bell In View”, The Hill Studio, San Francisco CA
2012 — Music direction and film score, “Leonora,” Directed by Eliane Lima
2012 — Installation and Interactive Performance, “Laid” Design and Technology Salon, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
2012 — Video and sound installation featured in ArtPad San Francisco “HASNT HAPPENED SINCE”, San Francisco, CA
2011 — Phantasmagoria, Swell Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA