Zeynep Özcan's info, teaching, publications, music, selected performances.
Dr. Zeynep Özcan is a sonic artist, singer, and author. She holds a Ph.D. in Music, an M.A. in History of Architecture, and a B.A. in Philosophy. Her work focuses on the design and composition of interactive virtual sound environments and the applications of animal behavior to sound art works. Her works have been performed and presented throughout the world in concerts, exhibitions, and conferences. As a musician, she plays piano and electronics and performed with several bands and choirs. She is currently a lecturer at the Department of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Research Interests
Sound Art, Creative Ecosystems, Biologically inspired musical creativity, Interactive, Immersive and Generative Environments, Aural Augmented and Virtual Realities.
Max/MSP, Java (Processing), C++ (openFrameworks), Arduino, Ableton Live

Winter 2020 - present. Lecturer. PAT 204: Creative Coding for Music. University of Michigan, Department of Performing Arts Technology, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
June 20 – July 2, 2021. Faculty DirectorGirls in Music and Technology (GiMaT) virtual summer camp. University of Michigan, Department of Performing Arts Technology, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
February 2021. Sound. Saturday Show. Season 2, Episode 7 - The Senses. Ann Arbor District Library.
February 2021. Instructor. Composing Electronic Music. Women in Sound (WiS), New York, NY.
February 2021. Workshop: Creative Coding with Processing. AUDI 314-01: New Musical Interface Design. Columbia College Chicago, Audio Arts and Acoustics Department, School of Media Arts.
Winter 2021. Capstone Advisor. College of Engineering Honors Program. University of Michigan.
January 2021. Instructor. Composing Electronic Music. Women in Sound (WiS), New York, NY.
May 21 - September 10, 2020. Mentorship - School of Music, Theatre & Dance Faculty Advisor. Sonic Scenographies. University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, ArtsEngine, and School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
August 17 – 28, 2020. Faculty DirectorGirls in Music and Technology (GiMaT) virtual summer camp. University of Michigan, Department of Performing Arts Technology, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
January 2020. Soundwalk Workshop. Ann Arbor District Library Secret Lab Coding Program.
March 2020. Guest Lecturer - Anthrocul 357: Sonic Cultures. University of Michigan, Department of Anthropology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
Fall 2019. Juror. Architecture x Carillon research/design interdisciplinary Workshop. An Archi-Musical Reimagination of the Belltower Typology. University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning and School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Spring 2014. Artist Talk. Architectural Design Studio 6|7: Urban Sound: Design Experiments for Sound Augmented Spaces Class. Istanbul Technical University, Department of Architecture.
Fall 2014. Guest Lecture. PA 483: Sensing Cities. Bogaziçi University, Department of Fine Arts.
Fall 2014. Soundwalk Workshop. PA 483: Sensing Cities. Bogaziçi University, Department of Fine Arts.
Book Chapters
Özcan, Z. 2019. "Polytopes" in İnci Aslanoğlu İçin Bir Mimarlık Dizimi (eng: An Architectural Index for the memory of İnci Aslanoğlu), Middle East Technical University Faculty of Architecture Press, Ankara, Turkey.
Conference Articles
Özcan, Z and Çamcı, A. 2019. “Compositional Considerations in the Design of an Interactive Agent-based Musical Ecosystem”. Proceedings of the 45th International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), New York, NY, US.
Özcan, Z. and Çamcı, A. 2018. “An Augmented Reality Music Composition Based on the Sonification of Animal Behavior”. Proceedings of the AES International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality, Redmond, WA, US.
Özcan, Z. 2015. “A History of Future Art From Xenakis to Wagner”. Continuum 2015-16: From Xenakis to the Present Day: The Continuum in Music and Architecture. University of Rouen, France.
Çamcı, A., Özcan, Z., and Pehlevan, D. 2015. “Interactive Virtual Soundscapes: A Research Report”. Proceedings of the 41st International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Denton, TX, US.
Thesis and Dissertation
Özcan, Z. 2018. Proprius: Sonification of Animal Behavior in an Autonomous Interactive Musical Ecosystem. (Doctoral dissertation). Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Özcan, Z. 2013. Intersection of Architecture and Music as Gesamtkunstwerk in Iannis Xenakis’s Selected Works. (M.A Thesis). Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.
Özcan, Z. 2012. Değiş-Tokuş. TMMOB Mimarlar Odası Ankara Şubesi, Ankara. (Children’s Literature)
Music Releases
Özcan, Z. 2019. As If I didn’t. Istanbul Soundscape Project.
Özcan, Z. 2019. Connotation. MIAM Electroacoustic. Lila Müzik.
Özcan, Z. 2019. Zone. A noise compilation. Sanri Zine.
Özcan, Z. 2013-2015. Various articles in architectural magazines. Boyut Publishing Group.
Özcan, Z. 2013. “Mahallenizin galerisi: Torun” (Galery Review), Radikal.
Özcan, Z. 2013. “Tiyatroda Ankara atağı: Stüdyo Cer” (Modern Arts Center Review), Radikal.
Unpublished Literature
under review. Beşinci Madde. (eng: Fifth Matter) (Scary, science fiction and fantasy, dystopian fiction stories for early teens).
under review. Kavin’in Yolculuğu. (Eng: Kavin’s Journey) (Fantasy Fiction Children’s Litterature).
I believe that my interest in storytelling is also reflected in my compositions. I like to imagine different scenarios and then use sound to shape them.
Public Address (in progress)
for Carillon
Tuning of my world (in progress)
A journey of getting used to hearing and speaking a foreign language.
Proprius (2015-2018)
Proprius is an autonomous interactive sound environment, where the sonification of animal behavior within an ecological simulation is used to create an interactive augmented reality music composition. The consecutive layers of a food chain are used as movements that dictate the temporal progression of the composition. The listener explores a physical space augmented with Proprius to experience the compositional unfolding of the ecosystem. The listener’s presence in the system affects nearby organisms; the listener is thereby situated as an interactive agent that contributes to the progression of the work.

Selected Fixed Pieces (2013-2015)
Inconnu is composed for 20-channels. Each sound (20 different entities in my imagination) is designed for separate speakers, but each channel is considered to be laid out in a linear fashion where one sound could only travel into adjacent channels, implying a strict directionality. However, the loudspeakers for the performance are placed on separate levels and asymmetrical spots in the construction in a non-linear fashion. Furthermore, when the piece travels in space, the structure itself adds various effects beyond what the composition affords and further interrupts the linearity of the sonic trajectories. Through the specialization scheme I follow for the performance of the piece, I aim to obscure the trajectories I determined during the composition process. By blurring these trajectories with an uneven dispersion of speakers and the resonant characteristics of the structure, I choreograph a metaphor for how an individual’s path should be ambiguous and distinctive. Still, through close listening, the audience can untangle this ambiguity and recognize the underlying trajectories that are deeply embedded into the composition.
As if I didn’t
As if I didn’t is a made up soundscape of a dream. Composed of field recordings, it tells a story of an individual’s struggle with waking up, as the person in the composition tries to find her way through a synthetic environment of abstract and real objects. The piece starts with a gloomy atmosphere that includes very few representational sounds. But as the piece moves forward, a balance between concrete and abstract sounds emerge to signal the individuals’ “ascent” to consciousness, This consciousness, however, swings back and forth between reality and a dream. The final gesture blows the whistle on the narrative of the piece.
Connotation is composed from the recorded material (e.g. trumpet) that has been electronically manipulated and Frequency Modulation implemented in MAX. I tried to eliminate the source of the sound as much as possible. Instead of following a story that I try to tell, this time, I wanted the audience imagine based on their previous experiences about sound. Additionally, I tried to impose traditional musical form to create a sense of structure and association.
Suck Your Blood
Suck your blood is about a busy mosquito which tries to find a human to feed on blood and then takes the blood to the blood factory where all other mosquitoes are uniting.
Smoke and Mirrors (Butka)
Butka can be used as referring to the elite in Lubunca which is the language/argot of Turkey’s LGBTQ community. Butka is usually used for smarty, brag, beautiful or rich people. Depending on the context, it can be used as an insult, a desire for something or implying high class (in a sarcastic way) events or people. I used a scripted scenario and performer (a hidden audience) during the performance. The performer used the script and improvised. During the performance, we listen to the ideas of the performer about the concert they are currently in. At the beginning of the piece, thier phone rings and they realize that they don't remember how they got there. After a while, they realize that they hear their own voice in the composition. The piece was performed in no-light environment with a seated audience. After the performance, the lights turned on and I showed the audience the performer who sat in the middle of them. Some of them looked surprised. One of them (the one who sat next to the performer) told me that he thought I used wave field synthesis because he heard the takings in the composition as if someone was sitting next to him (which literally was the case). I also observed that some of the audience tried to silence the performer during the performance because they thought they were being disrespectful by talking on the phone with someone else (that was also part of the script).
Inconnu. ICMC-NYCEMF: International Computer Music Conference and New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.
Connotation. New Music Central – Electronic Music from Turkey. University of Canterbury School of Music, New Zealand.
Proprius. The Comfy Show with Trixie Light and Dental Drill. UK Radio Podcast.
Proprius. Processing Community Day: Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan.
As If I didn’t. Istanbul Soundscape Project: Haydarpaşa’da Bir Gar. Istanbul, Turkey.
As If I didn’t. ISEA: International Symposium on Electronic Art. Manizales, Colombia.
Monad v0.3 by Cem Çakmak. ALGORAVE 2017: Algorave (Algorithmic rave) 5th birthday live stream. performed with Cem Çakmak.
As If I didn’t. NSEME: The National Student Electronic Music Event. Louisiana State University, US.
As If I didn’t. Istanbul Soundscape Project‎: Haydarpaşa’da Bir Gar. Istanbul, Turkey.
Connotation. MIAM Surroundscapes Quadrophonic Sessions. Istanbul, Turkey.
Connotation. ICIT SYMPOSIUM 2016 New Expressions: Women in Music Technology University of California, Irvine, CA, US.
Inconnu. Norient exhibition: Seismographic Sounds – Visions from a New World ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Vertigo match#2 by Maya Felixbrodt. Sa.ne.na + Korhan Erel IDM Project (Berlin Preview) + MIAM Experimental Performed by The Team: Ivan Arion Karst – Euphonium, Amy Salsgiver – Vibraphone, Boran Mert – Baglama, Sibil Arsenyan – Conductor, Zeynep Özcan – Electronics, Maya Felixbrodt – Viola.
Inconnu (20-channel acousmonium). MIAM Sonic Arts Acousmonium. Istanbul, Turkey.
As If I didn’t. Limerick Conference: Urban Soundscapes and Critical Citizenship. Echo-Locations: Sounds of Elsewhere Sound Installation. Limerick University, Ireland.
Suck Your Blood. Journey of Sound 7: Young Composers Festival. Süreyya Opera House. Istanbul, Turkey.
Hearsay. Identities – An interdisciplinary approach, International Graduate Student Conference. Istanbul, Turkey.
Connotation. Ogen/blik #2. Het Nutshuis, The Hague, Netherlands.
Connotation. Electrosonic City 4.0 Akbank Art Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey.