Ben Houge

Working at the nexus of music composition, video games, performance, sound installation, and digital, art Ben Houge explores the sonification of real-time data with MIT researchers.

About the Residency

In 2011, sound artist Ben Houge worked within the Media Lab’s Responsive Environments Group, sonifying networked sensor data as part of the DoppelLab Project. During MIT’s Independent Activity Period, he directed a workshop that provides an overview of designing audio for video games, while exploring how game audio design techniques can be applied to other real-time digital experiences.

Houge returned to MIT in fall 2016 to participate in a panel discussion, “Cooking up Ideas: a conversation with Mugaritz.” The discussion between a multidisciplinary panel (engineering, physics, mathematics, architecture and music) dove into the nature of the creative process and was moderated by MIT faculty members Pedro Reis, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering and Evan Ziporyn, MIT Music and Theater Arts and MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology.

Presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Responsive Environments Group at the MIT Media Lab.


Past Events

Cooking up Ideas: a conversation with Mugaritz
Screening of documentary Off-Road and forum discussion on Creativity with MIT faculty
November 2, 2016 / 4:00-6:00pm
MIT Lecture Hall 10-250
222 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA

What is the process by which we generate ideas? How do we select the best ones? This event will focus on creativity and the creative process. We will be screening Off-Road; a philosophical and ethological documentary about Mugaritz—one of the best restaurants in the world, located in the hills of the Basque Country. Prior to the screening, a multidisciplinary panel of MIT faculty (engineering, physics, mathematics, architecture and music), together with Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, will discuss their own perspective of creativity in research in their respective fields. After the screening, this same panel will converse with the audience for a forum discussion. 


Pedro Miguel Reis, Gilbert W. Winslow Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering
Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music and Faculty Director, MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology


Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz Chef and Founder
John Bush, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Associate Department Head
Ben Houge, Associate Professor of Electronic Production and Design, Berklee College of Music
Dani Lasa, Mugaritz Chef
Gareth McKinley, Professor of Teaching Innovation, School of Engineering
Pedro Miguel Reis, Gilbert W. Winslow Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering
Gigliola Staffilani, Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor, Department of Mathematics
J. Meejin Yoon, Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture

Artist Panel: Sound and Real-Time Systems
February 15, 2012

Houge leads the panel Sound and Real-Time Systems, a discussion about the overlap between seemingly disparate disciplines as video games, digital media and music composition. To underscore these connections, MIT panelists share their experience in a range of fields: Joe Paradiso presents his modular synthesizer, newly installed at the MIT Museum; Evan Ziporyn and David Cossin discuss performance and composition; and Nick Montfort provides insights into media environments.

Workshop:  Audio Design for Video Games and Other Real-time Media
January 10-12, 2012

Collaborators at MIT

David Cossin, percussionist in Bang on a Can All-Stars

Nick Montfort, Associate Professor of Digital Media in the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies

Joe Paradiso, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences directing the Responsive Environments group in the MIT Media Lab

Pedro Miguel Reis, Gilbert W. Winslow Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music in the MIT Department of Music and Theater Arts, and the Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology


Since 1996, sound artist Ben Houge has been developing audio for video games, contributing to projects including Tom Clancy’s EndWar, King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity, Half-Life: Opposing Force and Arcanum. While living in Seattle, Houge founded the Sound Currents concert series and contributed to the Seattle School composers’ collective from its inception, garnering a Genius Award from The Stranger and a Best Experimental Music Award from Seattle Weekly.

Ben currently teaches game audio at Berklee College of Music and Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts. His recent work has been exhibited at the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media (Boston), e4c (Seattle), the N Minutes Video Festival (Shanghai) and the San Diego Museum of Art.

More at the artist’s website: Ben Houge.