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Aaron Bielish

My research consists of a number of continuing series of works which represent answers to my own “what if” questions. These questions have formed into four series:



Omnis Inexploratus Musica



The Merge series of digital images began as data collection and an examination of glitches in image software combined with the modification of a digital camera to automatically take long exposure photographs as I commuted between my workplace and home. This initial exploration generated over 198,000 images. This formed my first data set, and using glitches and “holes” I found in cheap consumer grade software I was able to create aggregate images of my commute. This compressed and combined the collected light in different ways that seemed to be more true to the experience of commuting in Houston at speeds exceeding 70-80 miles an hour.

Think of the first time you travel to a place. Everything is new, and you may be double checking the directions, either on paper, or what the GPS is directing you to travel to, so your mind become hyper-aware. Is this matching up with my expectations? Is my trip leading me to the right conclusion? Contrast that with the hundredth time you travel to the same destination. I find a lot of aspects become automated due to sheer familiarity. Because they are automated, they can be numbing. 

If a definition of art is becoming aware of the larger reality (my modification of a definition of Art by Milton Glaser), then how can I activate that awareness in the face of technology (roads and beltways) designed to simultaneously keep me safe and also lull me into a senseless and unaware commute? 

How can I reinterpret my travel? How does that small travel compare to travel throughout the course of a life?

Imagine a composite digital picture. For this discussion lets’ make it a panoramic photograph. Three to four individual images stitched together by software created to look for similarities between these singular moments in time. In reality each image is separated by the other by small but significant moments of time. The resultant image is one enhanced moment which has compressed time into a singular but synthetic perspective. Now, imagine the entirety of all reality, all of the perspectives, all of the voices present in a singular moment revealing the true nature of our reality.

We are all travelling,

In time,

In space, even when we think we are sitting still.

The moments between photographs made in creating a panoramic image are considered insignificant. 

What would an image made from every moment of a persons life look like?

What would a photograph of that look like?

Is a moment ever insignificant?

The Merge series is a creative investigation challenging our perceptions of time and space, creative collaboration, singular reality and collective reality.

I ask the computer and consumer grade software to do different things than was originally intended. In asking these things to do something absolutely different, I enter into a creative collaboration with the computer. I enter into a dialogue with the software.

What is possible? 

How can I make the software do things it was never written to do.

What is the software going to ask of me?

How will I react to the result?


EYEmusic, is an investigation of the idea of the score using the shared territory of music and visual art.  The drawings are created from a story, either personal to me, or as a commissioned piece using another individual’s life event as the initial source of inspiration. In the process of listening to an individual’s telling of their story, aspects where the artist’s life experiences intersect with the individuals become woven into the narrative. This interwoven narrative, the experience of life’s intersections, affects and changes my life, creating a certain sympathetic and empathetic energy that imbues the drawing and becomes the graphic score. The story is transfigured into a visual retelling through mark making, thus creating a unique EYEmusic score, which now also exists as visual art.

When viewed as a score by musicians, the story informs and shapes the musicians’ interpretations of the marks. 

Each graphic score has an accompanying story. In contrast to traditional program music, the stories of EYEmusic scores are hidden. They are given to the musicians only. The stories act as a lens, focusing the performer’s interpretation of the visual art. The audience sees the visual art and listens to the music. The audience is free to make connections based on their experience of the two. From performances in 2019 and 2020 there are three albums currently being mixed and mastered, with a tentative release date of 2022. There are twenty new commissions for EYEmusic scores for 2022-2023 and plans are currently being made for performances in San Francisco, Houston, New York, and Berlin. Long term plans for EYEmusic are to continue creating collaborative scores, and when a sufficient amount of scores are produced, to look for families of similar marks with the intention of eventually creating a unique graphic symbolic set. 


In Omnis Inexploratus Musica I have asked questions of how humans have chosen to favor certain sonic patterns and frequencies above others. In examining the potential for alternative systems I have created structures involving constantly moving pitches, commonly known as glissandi. In contrast to traditional use of glissandi in traditional music which is usually quick and used for a more superficial effect, the glissandi I create last for many minutes and form the structural core of this music. Omnis Inexploratus Musica research involves re-examining basic assumptions of these traditional musical structures. Following an idea independently reached by Henry Cowell in his text New Musical Resources in the early 20th century and myself in the late 20th century, glissandi proves to be a rich sonic building block. In my system the interactions heard in this music are eight slowly progressing glissandi. When two or more glissandi converge on one frequency simultaneously what results is the creation of our traditional static pitch. However, its existence in this system is fleeting. The result of this constant motion creates a field of sound more akin to a collective narrative as opposed to a singular narrative. For me, this music is more reflective of the multiple simultaneous narratives in our culture than to hear traditional melodic/harmonic or contrapuntal relationships.  My first explorations were programmed simulations using excel spreadsheets. During my MFA I built software instruments in MAX to play this music. The next phase is to complete more complex applications that can examine all of the frequency relationships in the eight glissandi and assist in prediction of sonic relationships. This software will assist the performer in finding traditional intervallic relationships as well as non-traditional unnamed relationships. This will allow performers of the scores to custom design and highlight the sonic relationships they find most compelling.  The final phase will be to realize physical instruments that heighten the human experience and control of the complex multiple glissandi interactions. Publication of the scores will occur in 2022 and 2023 along with the first post MFA application upgrade designed for performers to realize the glissandi score.  


Intersections is centered around the transformation of a piano whose very existence and history was to provide music in an accompanist studio in New York City. Its current state is such that it is able to make sounds but those sounds it makes are not acceptable to traditional music anymore. We have had many cases of storied instruments owned by exceptional performers with grandiose histories, but what are the stories to the instruments that are the workaday instruments? What are the stories of the people who play them? What are the stories of the materials that comprise the piano? The instrument is in need of repair and the cost to return it to its original state as well above $12,000. For me, the instrument has transcended its normal parameters as a tool to transmit standardized pitches and frequencies to an audience. I view it more as an elderly being, who, due to extensive life experience, is reaching the end of the path for which it was originally designed. It is a meditation on the human state, and specifically the period of decline. In creating this project, I have decided to not repair the instrument, but to manage its decline much in the way that assistive technologies in the medical field are able to alleviate suffering but not solve the root cause of the disease. Sensors will be added to the original piano. They will take the sounds of the instrument and transform them into visual information. Microphones will be hooked to the governing computer managing the transformation of the data. The public will be invited to add their own words, stories, and recollections of their own family members who have either passed on or who are in decline. The instrument itself will, through my research into its history will also be a repository for its own information and history. This information will be stored by the computer, but it will be accessed through playing the piano. We are at the beginning of this project. The piano will act as a repository of information about the communities that it visits throughout the course of its decline. The piano and its assistive technologies will serve as a repository for the past, a focal point for the present, and a marker for future intersections.

The initial project had two phases. The first phase involved research into the history of the instrument. The second phase of the project involved building a support system of technologies whose goal was not to repair the piano, but to manage its eventual demise. Mechanisms and parts of the piano, when they broke, would not be replaced or fixed. Instead, new mechanisms would be fitted to the broken parts, and materials from the piano will be re-purposed. This metamorphosis the piano from an instrument devoted for sound to an intermedia device capable of a cascade of images and sounds from its past as people play. Additionally new ways of ‘playing’ the transformed instrument will be developed. The application of technology parallels medical treatment for terminal illnesses, whose protocols aim to maintain a quality of life. 

Intersections did a very successful first show in the spring of 2017, hosting a number of artists and musicians throughout the month long run. I recorded performances and interviews, built the support mechanisms, and hosted the events.  String and key mechanism breakdowns were anticipated, but no breaks happened during first show. Intersections was going to be shown in the fall of 2017 and was stored in the art gallery at Lone Star College Kingwood when Harvey hit, flooding the campus and putting the future of the project in jeopardy. The fate of the piano was not known until the building was cleaned and repaired a year later. Thankfully the piano was in good enough condition to continue the project. With only the wheels and pedals destroyed, the original mandate of the project will be followed. The wheels will be transformed, and new mechanisms for the pedals will be devised, but in facing the problems of moving the piano, and in the face of what Harvey did to Houston, I realized that the initial transformation of the broken parts meant that the piano should become more mobile, not less. Like a patient who regains mobility in a wheelchair, the piano will become mobile, but at the expense of being housed inside halls and traditional gallery spaces. The direction is to create a mobile performance space in the form of a trailer and affix the wheel-less piano to it. The other influence of Harvey on the Intersections project is that the hurricane has become the pianos most recent “memory”. In reflecting this reality, the new phase of Intersections is to travel with the piano and trailer to sites in Houston, offering the opportunity for Houstonians to record their experiences of the flood into the piano. Their stories, along with stories of the performers will form the second layer of piano memories that will be accessed by future performers and artists. Out of all my projects, Intersections has suffered the most due to the pandemic, and an anticipated re-start of the project is currently planned for early 2023. 

Artist Location

1402 LOFTY MILLS DR 1402 Lofty Mills Dr 77339

1402 LOFTY MILLS DR 77339 United States US Texas TX Kingwood United States US United States US United States US United States US United States US