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Photo Courtesy of Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The Department of Music’s Professor Dennis Miller recently received a commission for a one-hour original animation to be shown in the glass atrium of the 41-story office tower at 100 Federal Street in Boston’s financial district. The impressive, newly refurbished space includes 8,500 square feet of retail space, 500 square feet of kiosk space and an 8,990-square-foot “winter garden” at the street-level. In this space, Miller’s piece is featured on a high-visibility 35-foot screen, which, as it likely comes as no surprise, is seen by thousands of people each day.

The commission is entitled Vox Populae, meaning “Voice of the People.” According to Miller, whose work usually includes his own original music accompanying his animations, the title comes from the fact that the “soundtrack” will be created on site in real-time by the noise and ambient chatter of the people who are in the space.

Still images from the animation at 100 Federal Street.

Miller’s work, along with several others, was curated by the Boston Cyberarts Festival on behalf of the building’s developers, Boston Properties. Miller has a strong relationship with Boston Cyberarts, a non-profit arts organization created to foster, develop, and present a wide spectrum of media arts to both local and global audiences, and by doing so, promote a sense of media and digital literacy. Miller’s animation in such a centrally located, high-profile downtown Boston building is precisely the visibility and awareness needed to build this media and digital community. He will also be in a show in the lobby of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory this fall, as the Boston Cyberarts Gallery presents a new interactive installation designed by Karl Sims. Like much of both Karl’s and Miller’s work, it will be quite algorithmic looking. And last year, Miller was also invited to participate in an exhibition produced in conjunction with the Boston Cyberarts Festival, called Mathematics and Art: Searching for Pattern at Suffolk University, and nearly a dozen of his animations are on display on the 80-foot marquee in front of the Boston Convention and Exposition Center, also thanks to a project created by Boston Cyberarts.

Professor Miller’s mixed media compositions, also referred to as “Visual Music,” have been shown and celebrated at concerts and festivals around the world, including Design Indaba Africa (Cape Town, South Africa), the New York Digital Salon Traveling Exhibit, Abstracta International Abstract Cinema Exhibition (Cairo, Egypt), Images du Nouveau Monde, CYNet Art Festival (Dresden, GR), Videoex Festival (Zurich SWZ), the Cuban International Festival of Music, the  Magmart International Festival of Video Art (Naples, IT) and the Gijon International Festival of Video Art (Gijon, Spain). With his global reach, it is incredibly exciting to have such a prominent installation right here – closer to home – in Boston. Miller has both a music and visual arts background, and his talent is combining the two. He brings a historical perspective, paired with his own practice in the music field, to all of his work, and this newest installation is no exception.

Like his mixed-media works, Miller’s standalone animations employ principles drawn from music composition and apply them to the visual realm. Artists have used this technique since the dawn of the film age, and painters from earlier eras, such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, have long explored similar connections between music and image.

Miller’s installation is currently on display. We encourage you to stop by and experience this original art piece. Current play times are: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.