about

garrett in front of Nam June Paik's Four Decades at the Dayton Art Institute

Garrett Laroy Johnson works with responsive media environments to probe, condition, engender, and refract relations between technological determinations and productions of subjectivity. Trained as a musician and musicologist, questions of ensemble, materiality, expression, learning, gesture, and vocality are central to his research. Johnson designs and creates digital-physical systems activating sound, light, and expressive materials in immersive and quotidian spaces alike. His dissertation deals with the diagram (as instantiated in Guattari and Deleuze) as a conceptual figure for animating transdisciplinary practice with computational media.

Garrett is based in Chicago, where he is completing his PhD in Media Arts and Sciences and Critical Theory (grad certificate) at Arizona State University supervised by Sha Xin Wei (chair), Lauren Sarah Hayes, and Adam Nocek. Garrett completed an MA in musicology from Arizona State University, a B.Music in Music History from Ohio University, and a DAAD award to study musicology at the University of Leipzig.

Johnson has presented research-creation at ACM MOCO, ISEA, SEAMUS, SLSA and SLSAeu, ACLA, AAG, and has had works performed and exhibited at Kennedy Center as well as the National Academy of Sciences in DC, in London, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Irvine, and Phoenix. A significant aspect of his work deals in community building and organizing, exemplified in varied and far-flung groups such as LORKAS (the laptop orchestra of arizona state, 2013-2015), PHuN (the post-human network, 2016-present), and ITITIT{inc} (2017-present). He is currently chair of SloMoCo, a durational conference experiment hosted by Movement and Computing.

Johnson has been active in differnet organizations at ASU. He is a graduate student affilitate of Synthesis@ASU. He worked as an experimental fellow at the Center for Philosophical Technologies (2018-2019). In 2016 he co-founded Post-Human Network (PHuN), a grad-led critical theory interest group. As co-director of PHuN, he has organized two symposiums and two conferences, and facilitates reading groups on campus and over video conferencing with interlocutors from around the country.

Garrett creates immersive responsive media environments + installations interactive dance works, various performances for live electronics, laptop orchestra pieces, and sound-based fixed media. He has worked and practiced as an improviser with experimental electronic performance, e.g. with the dark/ambient group Gulch, and with cello and laptop in the group gbjjck. He’s worked with artists and performers from many different disciplines, including among others Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Chris Ziegler, Sha Xin Wei, Julian Stein, and Britta Joy Peterson. His music has been invited to SEAMUS, the Oh My Ears! Music Marathon, Interference Series and the ACDA at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and his installations have been featured at the 2013 ASU Microtonal Music Festival, ARTEL PHX, and commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art for

In 2015, he completed his MA in Musicology at Arizona State University, where he wrote a masters thesis investigating the role of the body in David Rosenboom's exploratory use of electroencephalography in musical performance. Garrett has presented some of his musicological investigations into the the bioregional music of experimental American composer David Dunn and the psycho-dramaturgy of Wolfgang Rihm’s opera Dionysos (2010) at various conferences in the US and Canada. In May of 2015, he organized with Matt Briggs SSOO (something said only once), a four-day arts mini-fest thematizing improvisation, algorithmic creation, indeterminacy, and site-specificity.

Garrett led LORKAS (The Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State) from Fall 2013 to Spring 2015 as the group’s director. During his tenure, LORKAS performed at the A2RU national conference, the 2014 Southwest Electronic Music Festival, the 2015 Southwest Maker Festival, the 2015 Oh My Ears new music marathon, Glendale Community College's Experimental Music Festival 2015, and hosted an array of guests including Cycling 74 developer Tim Place, experimental musician John Wiese, and Mark Hosler of Negativland.

He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music History with a minor in German from Ohio University. The 2011 Deutsche Akademische Austausch Dienst (DAAD) undergraduate scholarship award supported study and research at the University of Leipzig, where he performed and toured with the Leipziger Universitaets Orchester, took courses at the Institut der Musikwissenschaft, was awarded the highest certification in the German language (DSH-3), and wrote a bachelor’s thesis about Swiss composer-pianist Nik Bärtsch and his “minimal groove music”.

Garrett also enjoys cycling, bikepacking, and backpacking.