The Triangle’s network of talented creatives, scholars and university leaders are stepping into the spotlight at this year’s Moogfest, leading insightful discussions, panels and workshops about new and emerging themes in the local community and beyond.

Local musicians and DJs are also representing the Triangle’s vibrant creative culture, rich with lively performances and record talent.

Here’s a sampling of Triangle-led events coming up at Moogfest (organized by program themes and categories), along with short bios of the folks headlining them:

Moogfest theme: Transhumanism

Brain-Machine Interfaces: From Basic Science to Neurological Rehabilitation

Dr. Miguel A. Nicolelis is a Duke School of Medicine professor teaching within multiple departments including neurobiology, biomedical engineering, psychology and neuroscience. He is also the co-director of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering.

Dr. Miguel A. Nicolelis, Duke University

Nicolelis will lead a discussion about using computational methods and devices in brain function research, explaining how brain-machine interfaces can inform neurological rehabilitation techniques and practices.

Editing the Genome

Dr. Charles A. Gersbach is an associate professor in Duke’s departments of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic surgery, an investigator in the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology and the director of the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering.

Dr. Charles A. Gersbach, Duke University

He will headline a talk about “editing the genome,” and transhumanistic applications to biology.

Moogfest theme: The Future of Creativity

Pub Talk: Arrival of the Robot Car

Michael Clamann is a senior research scientist in the Humans and Autonomy Lab within Duke’s Robotics Program, an associate director for UNC’s Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, and the lead editor for robotics and artificial intelligence for Duke’s SciPol science policy resource site.

Michael Clamann, Duke Robotics

Clamann’s research focuses on the similarities and differences between robots and humans, and how the two can join forces to improve society. He will deliver a talk about self-driving cars and the hurdles our society must overcome before introducing them into everyday life.

Moogfest theme: Sci-Fi Wishes and Utopian Dreams

Science Fiction vs Science Fact

Duke colleagues Katherine Hayles, a professor of literature, and Mark Kruse, a physics professor, co-designed a course about “Science Fiction/Science Fact.” It combines the two fields into one, and explores different ways of understanding quantum mechanics as expressed in science fiction.

Katherine Hayles and Mark Kruse, Duke University

The two will headline a discussion about quantum mechanics applied to science fiction, using the Greg Egan novel “Quarantine” as an example.

Moogfest theme: Protest

Grassroots Musical Activism

A group of artists, musicians, writers and UNC professors and scholars will contribute their perspective on how works of art and music can be used to express social and political causes, as well as influence change.

(Left to right) Shirlette Ammons, Pierce Freelon, Mark Katz, Laila Nur, Jess Dilday

The discussion features local activists and creatives: Shirlette Ammons, an award-winning poet, musician and record label co-founder in Durham, Blackspace digital makerspace founder, UNC professor and co-founder of PBS web series Beat Making Lab Pierce Freelon, music technology author, scholar and UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities Director Mark Katz, LNLR lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Laila Nur, and UNC lecturer, scholar, DJ and producer Jess Dilday (alias PlayPlay).

Music & Tech: Tools to Fight Mass Incarceration

A panel discussion will explore how music and technology can be used to address the problem of mass incarceration in the U.S., and all of the repercussions and inequities that come with it.

Marshall Jones (left) and The Foreign Exchange Band’s Phonte and Nicolay

Locals on the panel include locals: Rob Wall, executive director of the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities In the Criminal Justice System, Marshall Jones, a Chapel Hill DJ who started performing in mid-1990s rave era still a DJ and running radio station DanceGruvRadio, and Phonte and Nicolay of Raleigh R&B and hip hop duo The Foreign Exchange Band.


Four on The Floor

The Floor, a local DJ group, will run an eight-hour techno and house mix with lightup visuals.

(Left to right) 3ZKL, Strider, Andrius, Bosslady, Sound Resurgence, Lady Fingers

The event features local talent in the DJ craft: The Floor cofounders 3ZKL and Strider, Raleigh DJ and dance performer Andrius, soul, classic and deep house DJ Bosslady (who’s also organizer of the Durham House Music Meetup), North Carolina DJ Sound Resurgence, and multi-genre DJ Lady Fingers.

Pie Face Girls

Raleigh band, Pie Face Girls

Pie Face Girls is reviving Raleigh’s punk scene with self-taught musical talent. The band’s first-ever album was released earlier this year, and they will perform at Motorco Park.


Visualizing Sound with Code

Walt Gurley, NCSU Libraries

Walt Gurley is a visualization and digital media librarian at North Carolina State University Libraries, where his work is to translate the campus’ many tools and assets into digital form. His digital displays are located in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, as public video walls.

Gurley will lead a workshop session teaching participants all the different ways to convert sounds to visual outputs, writing code to view audio properties.

Mobile Beatmaking and Multitracking

Jason Evans Groth, NCSU Libraries

Jason Evans Groth also works in NCSU Libraries as a digital media librarian, where he runs the Leading Spaces and Services department’s 11 audio and video production suites and multimedia programs.

He will lead a workshop on mobile beat-making and multi-tracking, teaching participants the ways to record, mix and produce creative audio and beats with mobile tools, on the go.