Derek Hoffend

Gateways to Awareness explores the role of memory, perception and the five senses in our appreciation of art and the world around us. The artworks included in the exhibition engage the viewer in multi-sensory experiences across a variety of genres and media including disability, floral, olfactory, and sound art(s). This year-end show is a veritable tasting menu of the experimental and experiential forms of art the Museum is scheduled to present over the next two years.

Derek Hoffend

Derek Hoffend

Derek Hoffend is a visual and audio artist who creates interactive sound-sculpture installations and electronic music, exploring sound as a medium intersecting with physical forms, structures, bodies, and spaces to create immersive and participatory experiences for viewers. Fusing elements of sonic, electronic, digital, and physical media, his work combines acoustic, recorded, and generative audio processes with objects and environments, and emphasizes relationships between sensory phenomena and perception.

Ongoing themes of interest include explorations in immersive audio, multi-channel arrangements, geometric architectural forms, tactile interfaces, vibro-acoustics, viewer participation, resonant objects, and amplified spaces. Recent work additionally explores an interest in biometric sensing, and therapeutic potentials of audio frequencies, rhythmic entrainment, and colored light. Hoffend also maintains an active music practice, recording and performing electronic music under the moniker Aether Chroma as well as his own name.

Recent shows include performances at Mayday (Providence, RI), the New England Synthesizer Festival (Burlington, MA), and Modular on the Spot (Somerville, MA), and installations at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), Boston Cyberarts (Boston, MA), and The Sprinkler Factory (Worcester, MA). Aether Chroma music is released on

Derek holds an MFA in Art & Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2004), an MA in Studio Art from New York University (2001), and a BFA dual-major in Sculpture and Photography from the State University of New York at Fredonia (1997). He is currently Director and Professor of the Game Design & Immersive Technologies program at Lesley University (Cambridge, MA), and Adjunct Faculty in Animation the Massachusetts College of Art & Design (Boston, MA).

Artist Statement

My artwork is characterized by installations that combine sculptural forms with sound and interactive experiences. Pieces explore the intersection of sound as a medium with sculptural forms and structures, as well as light, sites, spaces, and the human body to create immersive and participatory experiences for viewers, employing sonic, electronic, and physical media. Works are often interactive and invite participation through touch or motion, exploring cause-and-effect relationships of viewer action within reactive systems, as well as personal and social dynamics found in play and collaboration.

Recent work explores an interest in facilitating somatosensory responses, therapeutic experiences, and shifts in consciousness via direct viewer participation. I am particularly interested in works that create a space where scientific and metaphysical ideas can cohabitate, creating a bridge between the physical and supernatural, and inviting the potential for interplay between sensory and spiritual experiences.

To this end, I am inspired by and employ a variety of processes and theories in my work such as vibro-acoustics for haptic experience, entrainment theory (rhythmic, biomusical, and neural), acoustic phenomena such as monaural and binaural beating, and components of sound therapy, sacred-geometry, and color therapy. Biofeedback principles and techniques are also employed such as using heart-rate monitors to trigger external events in the form of sound and light feedback.
Hoffend 08_SonotronMobius_FrontColors_Edit2_FULL_72ppi

Derek Hoffend
Sonotron, 2013
Steel, Sound, Speakers, Wood, Fabric, RGB LED Spotlights, Computer, Software and Amplification Gear
11’ x 9’ x 10’


Derek Hoffend
Portal, 2014
Polyester Drafting Film, RGB LED Strips, Sound, Speakers, Microcontrollers, Audio Equipment
7’ x 9’ x 4 ½’