Didier Michel Sylvain

PhD Student in Ethnomusicology

Didier Michel is a sound artist and PhD student in Ethnomusicology. His work focuses on the spiritual or phenomenological dimensions of “black” engagement with sound technology among Afrofuturist-identified music-makers and listeners in Haiti and the United States. He engages with dialogs on Afrofuturism and the speculative arts; ritual healing, self-transformation and embodiment; human-machine interaction and improvisation; histories and aesthetics of sound and media; and the relation between the virtual and the everyday.

In addition to his graduate pursuits, Didier serves as Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed music journal, Current Musicology, where he is publishing a special issue on Race, Sound, and Technology (Spring 2017), featuring an interdisciplinary group of scholars writing on the mediations of racial formation in society. In Spring 2015 he collaborated with the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Public Life to organize “Tomorrow is the Question: Afrofuturism, Sound and Spirit”—a symposium of artists and scholars exploring what an “Afro-future” might sound like and mean today. Beyond Columbia, Didier’s professional career has centered on facilitation and the art of listening to elicit creative leadership in organizations and people across creative, entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and business communities.