interdisciplinary research studio-lab

labXmodal is a studio-lab founded by Chris Salter dedicated to the research, development, and creation of performative environments - physical spaces with a focus on dynamic and temporal processes over static objects and representations. We research and develop new hardware and software sensing technologies, apply these tools and techniques in solo + collaborative, internationally disseminated artistic works and critically reflect on these practices through technical and theoretical/historical publications, talks and public presentations.

more About Xmodal.

Xmodal is dedicated to

a deeper exploration of the concept of interaction that goes beyond the traditional, one to one relationship between user and computer and instead towards that of the embodied inhabitant in complex, dynamic media environments. To accomplish this, Xmodal focuses on interdisciplinary research-based practice involving visual and performing artists, designers, engineers and computer scientists, acousticians and audio experts, anthropologists, architects, philosophers and cultural critics.

Xmodal was established in

April 2006. It is affiliated with the Hexagram Institute for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology and the Department of Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University.

Xmodal is directed by

Dr. Chris Salter and funded through grants from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Hexagram Institute for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Sciences, the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec (CALQ), the Office of the Vice President of Research – Concordia University and Faculty Research and Development Funds, Concordia University.


Project Description: How has it come to be that artists, scientists and scholars use this prickly word “performance” to describe a similar interest in material actions and temporal processes despite being situated in radically different cultures of knowledge? Performativity and Technics will aim to answer this question by linking concepts and practices of performance across [...]

Project Description: E[MERGE]is a collaborative research/creation project between labs at Concordia and McGill Universities to develop new software tools for artists to better understand and compose with large amounts of real time data generated by many sensing and computation devices spread throughout a physical environment. The innovative artistic project N-Polytope that relies on such distributed, [...]

Project Description: The Qualified Self is an exploratory research project between researchers at Concordia and McGill Universities, Philips research laboratories and cultural partners in the Netherlands. The project aims to study the phenomenon of interactional synchrony in a large group of people using biometric/physiological signals such as respiration, heart-rate/heart rate variability (ECG) and skin conductance [...]

Project Description: Disequilibrium is an interactive installation that explores the blurring of our senses of vision, touch and sound. Moving through near darkness, a group of 3-6 visitors at a time wears devices that produce touch-like sensations with various levels of pressure across the body. These sense impressions can be shared among visitors by way [...]

Project Description: Haptic Fields is an innovative research-creation program that brings together artistic work using new technologies, engineering, music technology and sensory anthropology to explore an overlooked but increasingly important sensory modality in todays audio-visual driven society – the sense of touch. The program of research is guided by three central questions: 1. Can touch [...]

Project Description: Mediation of Sensation explores the artistic/scholarly potential of the cross-talk between new media and sensory anthropology. The artistic design, development and ethnographic evaluation of the project was informed by interdisciplinary collaboration between artist/researchers Chris Salter, Concordia anthropologist Dr. David Howes and a team of professional artists/emerging researchers in anthropology, design, food studies and [...]

Public forums, a symposium, and commissioned essays/projects examining phenomena that go beyond static representations of the urban environment

Low Cost, Open Source Wireless Sensor Infrastructure for Live Performance and Interactive, Real-Time Environments

Interactive, dynamically changing auditory “scenography” for the stage.

A collaborative research project to develop home made sensors using readily available industrial materials such as paper


Research Director

Chris Salter, Ph.D.

Chris Salter is an artist based in Montréal, Canada and Berlin, Germany. His artistic and research interests revolve around the development and production of real time, computationally-augmented responsive performance environments fusing space, sound, image, architectural material and sensor-based technologies. Such projects range from small and large scale, public driven installations where the line between spectators and performers is blurred to traditional performance environments with trained performers that are augmented with computational and media systems.
Read on…

Visiting Post Doctoral Researcher

Marije Baalman, Ph.D.

Marije Baalman studied Applied Physics at the Technical University in Delft and graduated in February 2002 on the topic of Perceptual Acoustics. In 2001/2002 she followed the Sonology Course at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She completed her Ph.D. on Wave Field Synthesis and electro-acoustic music in 2007 at the Electronic Studio of the Technical University of Berlin. Currently she is a post-doctoral researcher in Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal. Her research goes into the use of wireless networks for live performance (such as dance and music), and installations. She has performed and exhibited work across Europe (STEIM, WORM (NL), EXIT festival (F), Club Transmediale (D)) and beyond (Electrofringe (AU)). She is a contributor to “The SuperCollider Book” (MIT Press, coming up in 2010).

Research Coordinator

Brett Bergmann

Research Assistants

Harry Smoak

Vincent De Belleval

Shannon Collis

Patricia Duquette

Nick Munoz

Research Collaborator, Co-PI

Marcelo Wanderley, Ph.D.

Marcelo M. Wanderley was born in Curitiba, Brazil, in 1965. He holds a B.Eng. in electrical engineering from the Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), Curitiba, Brazil, a M.Eng. in integrated analog circuit design from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil, and a Ph.D. from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris VI in Paris, on acoustics, signal processing, and computer science applied to music.

From 1996 to 2001, Dr. Wanderley was with the Analysis/Synthesis Team at Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris, where he studied ways of designing new musical instruments based on computer-generated sound. He is currently Assistant Professor and Music Technology Area Chair at McGill’s Faculty of Music, in Montreal. His main research interests include human-computer interaction, input device design and evaluation, gestural control of sound synthesis, as well as sensor design and data acquisition

External Researcher, Architecture

Justine Chibuk

Research Assistants, IDMIL, McGill University

Joseph Malloch

Joseph Malloch is a graduate student in music technology in the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory at McGill University. His current research focuses on the design and construction of new electronic musical instruments and controllers. Born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Joseph Malloch has worked professionally as a composer, performer, arranger, and sound designer. He has appeared on CD recordings by The Guthries, Hopeful Monster, and Ryan Roberts, and has performed in hundreds of live shows and concerts.

Joseph Thibodeau