Mikael Fernström
Mikael in his ILF Innovation AB lab.

Biography

He studied Electronic Engineering and Telecommunications at the Kattegatt Technical College in Halmstad in Sweden, graduating1975. He then worked in industry as inventor, electronics engineer, industrial designer, manager, composer and company director, principally in Sweden. He worked with AVAB Electronics in Gothenburg, from 1976 to 1979 building and designing sound and light equipment for theatres. He set up ILF Innovation and developed the business between 1980 and 1989. During this period he developed a number of patents for Signal processing of EMG-signals, Heat-pump control-system, Optical Interconnects, etc. In 1989 the company was taken over. He stayed on until 1991, when he took the opportunity to move to Ireland to work as a freelance consultant.

Cartoon of Mikael, courtesy of Aladdin Kishk.

From 1996 he worked as a Research Officer in the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick, primarily on the development of Multimedia Browsing Systems and the use of sound in human-computer interfaces. In 1998 he was awarded an M.Sc. by research by the University of Limerick and appointed as Lecturer. Subsequently he spearheaded the development of a new taught Masters degree in Interactive Media at UL and was appointed Course Director. He is one of the co-designers of the LiteFoot interactive floor. His research interests cover Computer Science, HCI, Electronics, Sound, Music, Multimedia, History, Archaeology and the Performing Arts. In 1999 he was commissioned by the Irish Pavilion at EXPO2000 in Hanover, together with Mr. Sean Taylor of the Limerick School of Art and Design, to create Bliain Le Baisteach, a multimedia artwork, which was also sponsored by the Art Council and Met Eireann. Between 2001 and 2003 he has been awarded research grants for collaboration with Dr. Joe Paradiso of MIT Media Lab to develop new interactive surfaces in conjunction with Media Lab Europe in Dublin and an EU Future and Emerging Technologies grant within the Disappearing Computer initiative on new object models for sound on computers.

In 2002 he collaborated with Sean Taylor and developed musical composition software that resulted in a multimedia work Coisir an tSionnan, performed an recorded at ESB’s Ardnachrusha turbine hall in October 2002. Both the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin based Brul Chor and Daghda Dance were involved in delivering the piece. In 2003 he collaborated with Sean Taylor on Common Ground – and with Michael O’Suilleabhain, ‘SIONNA’ European Festival of World Music, Limerick. In 2005, again with Sean Taylor, created TXTULTR, an Interactive Public Art commission with RTE Lyric FM, Limerick. In 2009 he and Sean Taylor were commissioned in the Infectious exhibition for the Science Gallery at Trinity College in Dublin to create the work Nobody Leaves 'till the Daphnia Sign. In 2010 he and Sean Taylor were Artists in Residence in Killybegs in County Donegal in Ireland, as part of Lovely Weather Donegal Artists Residencies, creating the work Marbh Chrios (Dead Zone). Between 2010 and 2014, he collaborated with Sean Taylor, researching and creating Amhrán na mBeach (Song of the Bees) and Song of the [Urban] Bees.

Mikael Fernström receiving the University of Limerick Alumni Award.

In 2009 he received the UL Alumni Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science & Technology.

He has been the Irish delegate in the European COST Action G6 on Digital Audio Effects and is one of the initiators of a new European COST action on Control of digital audio effects from human gesture. He is a Member of the Audio Engineering Society; Member of the International Society of Ecological Psychology; Member of IEEE; and Lifetime Member of the Electronic Music Foundation.

"It's always tomorrow, somewhere"