NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program is a hotbed of exploring digital media, partly because — well — they actually focus on it in their degree, and make performance central. Nothing tests technology quite like taking your work live and making it convincing to an audience. And that’s exactly what those crazy ITP grad students are doing next weekend April 29, as they take over New York’s hip, experimental club Tonic. Upstairs will be performance, downstairs will be installations, and you can expect a strong emphasis on alternative musical instruments and experimental digital music-making tech. The work comes out of classes like “New Interfaces for Musical Expression” and “Live Image Processing for Performance” by faculty members Jamie Allen, Gideon D’Arcangelo and Luke Dubois. Last year was a big hit; this year should be no different. (Thanks, Jamie! Hope to see you there.)

TOOL Event, 4/29, NYC (and check out some great tidbits on alternative notation and performance planning, plus lots of deli.cio.us links, on the ITP New Interfaces for Musical Expression blog)

For the world beyond New York, it’s worth pointing out that NYU’s often art-focused, performance-based, experimental program has given its alumni powerful tools when they develop their careers. It’d be great to see more institutions recognize that the supposedly “soft” fields of art and performance can be just as powerful as traditional science and engineering approaches when developing technology. It’s a possible role model for any of you in academia trying to get colleagues to “cross the quad.”