Artist Statement

I am a creative technologist, artist, and performer experimenting with emerging technologies, particularly in the domains of new media, sound, and extended reality, a field encompassing both virtual and augmented realities. My work is driven by my expertise in creative coding, motion-capture, sound, machine learning/AI, digital fabrication, and live performance.

I use installation and performance to engage in dialogue with motion-capture-generated digital sounds and visuals, aiming to transform the militaristic principles of marching band culture into a more inclusive and experimental ritual. The regimented ethos of this activity inherently imposes constraints on an individual's capacity for free artistic expression. In my practice, I introduce the concept of 'free-drumming,' which constitutes an improvisational form of rhythm-making via a marching snare drum and the voice utilizing mo-cap generated sounds and visuals.

I use the snare drum as the primary artifact for enacting “free-drumming”. Symbolic of my own experience in competitive percussion ensembles, I employ different methods to reconstruct the significance of this instrument, which all revolve around the idea of breaking free from the conventional constraints of structured rhythms. Through live performances, I seek to liberate the drum from its regimented context, allowing it to become a vessel for spontaneous expression and a catalyst for redefining the boundaries of sonic exploration. I record rhythms using the drum and my voice, then apply various sound manipulation techniques through body movements tracked by motion-capture to distort and de-codify the normalized, synchronous experience.

My installations expand on the ideas presented in my performances, engaging in a process that deconstructs the very physicality of the instrument in a "cyborgian" manner. This involves outfitting the drum and the surrounding physical space with screens that function as portals, transporting audiences into speculative virtual environments made possible by extended reality. Here, one can witness posthuman drummers and visuals brought to life through motion-capture data, often inspired by drills and choreography performed in shows and competitions. This data is repurposed to deliberately infuse a sense of ambiguity into the movements of digital humanoid figures and virtual artifacts, breaking down the visual nature of marching band.

This process of deconstruction and reconstruction serves as a metaphor for challenging established norms within marching band culture, emphasizing rhythm-making as a more organic and community-based activity. Beyond my own experience, my research seeks to challenge current perceptions and contribute to the evolving discourse at the intersection of art and technology—a transformative ripple that extends far beyond the confines of the drumline.


Sal Moreno (he/him) is a creative technologist and artist based in Chicago who engages with creative computation, sound, performance, and new media. Sal experiments with free-drumming and emerging technology to dismantle the regimented traditions of marching band and its origins in Western military and music ideologies. His fluency with game engines and motion capture allows him to develop animations, visual effects, particle systems, and generative sounds to re-envision the representation of the human body in virtual spaces. He has shown work at Ars Electronica, EXPO Chicago, Mana Contemporary, and virtual platforms. Sal received the 2021 Excellency in New Media Award by the New Media Caucus. He is an educator at UI Chicago, Northeastern Illinois, and UC Irvine.