Session #4 – Multimodal Approaches

Organizational Rhythms: A Sonification Perspective

Bilal Abdul Kader, Catalin Ratiu and Paul Shrivastava

Abstract: The current paradigms of management are primarily rational, logical, and scientific, focused on highly cognitive approaches to managing organizations. These paradigms ignore the role of emotional engagement, its role in decision-making, and need for engaging passion. To achieve environmental sustainability, organizations will need emotional and passionate connection to nature. This can be accomplished thru the arts (and particularly music). The arts offer a very useful and necessary complement to traditional scientific methods used by organizations.

In this project we seek to understand organizations from natural & aesthetic perspectives. It is based on the assumption that just like many other entities in nature, such as, people, bio organisms, and ecosystems, organizations also have natural “rhythms”, To uncover rhythmic patterns of organizations, we undertook two exploratory studies using acoustic sonification. As a first step we converted stock price data for publicly traded companies into audible acoustic frequencies — an increasingly used method in life and social sciences. In the first study, we focus on organizational rhythms of publicly traded corporations. We use stock market data (price variations, volatility, etc.) as expressions of financial rhythms, because the financial dynamics are good proxies for a corporation’s heartbeat. In the second study, we used a focus group setting to investigate emotional reactions to sonified stock market data, and to test pattern recognition among an eclectic group of musically trained individuals.

In this presentation we will report on these studies. We will offer a continuous stream of audio — an ambient music-like presentation — which tracks ongoing stock market data. The pattern may well present itself like a drone, a cacophony, or it may be symphonic (Schaffer, 1993). The semiotic of the current stock market is akin to an abstract (non-representational) painting; it cannot make sense to the representational eye because the intellect refuses to engage in patterns other than what is expected or anticipated. In our multimedia presentation we invite the audience to listen to these sounds and be the interpretive guides who can point the way into a non-representational aesthetic.

Bio: Dr. Paul Shrivastava, is the David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal. He also serves as Senior Advisor on sustainability at Bucknell University and the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong, India, and he serves on the Board of Trustees of DeSales University, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Shrivastava received his Ph. D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He was tenured Associate Professor of Management at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He has published 15 books and over 100 articles in professional and scholarly journals. He served on the editorial boards of leading management education journals including the Academy of Management Review, the Strategic Management Journal, Organization, Risk Management, and Business Strategy and the Environment. He won a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and studied Japanese management while based at Kyoto University. He founded the Organization and Natural Environment Division of the Academy of Management. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Christian Science Monitor, and on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour.

Dr. Shrivastava has 30 years experience in management education, entrepreneurship, and as a consultant to major multinational companies. In 1976 he was part of the management team that launched Hindustan Computers Ltd., one of India’s largest computer companies. In 1985 he founded the non-profit Industrial Crisis Institute, Inc. to mediate the industrial crisis between Union Carbide Corporation and the Government of India, and published the Industrial Crisis Quarterly. In 1998 he founded, and was President and CEO of eSocrates, Inc., a knowledge management and online training/education software company. He has served as consultant to AT & T, Baker Hughes, FMC Corp, Johnson and Johnson, Ketchum Communications, Scott Paper, Wartsila, Oy, and MEC RASTOR, and Elea-Olivetti. He designs and presents strategic summits and training workshops for upper management focused on corporate and competitive strategy, sustainable management, and crisis management.

Catalin is a PhD Candidate in strategic management and a full time lecturer at the John Molson School of Business. In his research, he explores the development of valuable capabilities that allow organizations to operate and develop sustainably. Cata’s research has been published in peer reviewed journals, books, conference proceedings, and the business press. Cata has been associated with DOCSE since the Fall of 2009, primarily for work linking sustainability, management, and acoustics.

Bilal Abdul Kader, a PhD candidate at JMSB, has got his MBA in 2006. His main research interests are: asset pricing, corporate cash management, micro-finance, and sustainability in finance. He has taught and assisted in various undergraduate courses in the department of Finance and MIS. He is committed to integrate active learning experience into his classroom in order to empower and engage students using recent methods, technologies, and activities. Bilal has accomplished several consulting assignments for start-ups in Canada and Lebanon.


Photographic Power: Ethics and aesthetics in environmental crisis

Karla McManus

Abstract: Photography is the quintessential medium of modernity, situated at the intersections of art and science, technology and nature. As the history of photography can attest, photography is the classic medium used to document and reflect on the perpetual changes that take place in the modern landscape. American photographer Mitch Epstein’s series American Power (2003-2009) has garnered international acclaim for its evocative look at the relationship between energy consumption and the human impact on the landscape. Most recently, he was awarded the 2010 Prix Pictet, created by the Swiss banking firm to honour photographic art that confronts issues of sustainability. By reflecting on the impact of Epstein’s work, and the various ways that these images have circulated through institutional and individual structures of acceptance, I will consider the ethical and aesthetic implications of photographing environmental crisis. While photography has often been critiqued for beautifying the horrific and for aestheticizing the mundane, this paper asks the question: can photography help to promote human responsibility and positive action towards the environment through the representation of modernity, development and ecological crisis? What role does the medium itself play in communicating these issues? And how do the ways that photographs are disseminated to the public, through institutional frameworks and popular formats, shape and influence the viewer’s perception of the medium and its subject?

Bio: Karla McManus is a PhD student in the Interuniversity programme in Art History at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec and a part-time lecturer in the department of Art History. Her research focuses on the presentation and interpretation of landscape photography as environmentalist and the intersection of meaning and context in contemporary photographic visual culture. Her proposed dissertation title is: Witnessing the Future and Exhibiting the Present: the ecological turn of contemporary landscape photography. Karla is a 2010 recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Aparato – second life equipment –

Andrea Varela and Natalia Pajariño

Abstract: Proyecto AbRiGo (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero) is implementing MAGnetismO – reuse program of technological and industrial discards – that returns to the field of use all that obsolete technology that is discarded within the University. Students and teachers at the career of environmental Engineering develop impact studies with the technology which scholars and teachers in the career of Electronic Arts, work on creative processes made reusing that technological discards for new useful objects or pieces of art. Magnetism shows UNTREF´s interest in lower levels of technological garbage produced, taking over the entire path of the equipment that acquires, investing in research and documentation of procedures for reuse to be replicated in other institutions. In addition to strengthening the institutional consciousness, Magnetism seeks to reach homes of our community with the same ideas and so enhance their objectives. To achieve this, we develop training workshops where we call on the families of the community to reach out with some old technology to learn what specific actions they can perform on it. Across these workshops, we share the knowledge gained about the environmental impact generated by this technology and extend our recycling techniques, adapted to enable them to develop both adults and children. We propose a series of creative work on technologies for the end of the day they can return home with a new object that carries a new value.

Bio: Proyecto Abrigo -art, fabric and technology- works since 2006 at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. It provides workshops open to the community and develops research on the relationship between fabric and technology. It received two subsidies from the University Volunteer Program of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Argentina in 2006 and 2009. It exhibited their products in UNIART -Design exhibition of the National Universities, CCJL. Borges- in ENLACES – Design and Art Festival, UNTREF- La Toma Gallery – Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina-. Since 2010, it implements Magnetism – reuse program of technological and industrial discards-.

Andrea Varela: Director of Proyecto Abrigo since 2006 and Professor in the Electronic Arts career at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero – Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Since 2002) Chairs: Audiovisual Narrative, non-linear narrative, Electronic Image 1. Visiting Scholar at the Hypermedia Studio. 2000-2001, UCLA (University of California – Los Angeles) School of Theater, Film and Television. E.E.U.U. European Master of Art in Image Synthesis and Computer Animation. 1999, Universitat de les Illes Balears. Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Natalia Pajariño: Degree in Electronic Arts. Since 2006 works as an assistant management in Proyecto Abrigo, where she also teaches. Assistant Professor in the Electronic Arts career at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. Chairs: Electronic Image 1, and non-linear narrative. She is member of CEIArtE from same University. She is part of ‘IQLab’, an artist collective that experiments, researches and creates, operating with electronical media and new technologies.