Meet the tutor

Meet the Tutor: Sebastian Pappalardo

Thu 8 Feb

At the intersection of art, technology, and education, Sebastian Pappalardo, an experienced Sound Designer and Live-Coder, brings over a decade of rich experience in the realm of Audiovisual production. With an extensive background spanning sound design, sound effects, from editing to mixing, recording, and voice-over work, Sebastian has played a pivotal role in a diverse variety of audiovisual productions (IMDB), ranging from television series to advertisements and award-winning films. Additionally, he delves into generative art projects, participating in live- coding events using programming environments like Hydra (Javascript) and Tidalcycles (Haskell). Sebastian's commitment to staying at the forefront of technology is reflected in his adaptability and proficiency in various sound design and creative coding tools.


How did you became a sound designer?

"Originally from Buenos Aires, I studied sound in the film school there (ENERC) after a career in computer networks. The turning point was witnessing the mesmerizing sound design by Guido Berenblum for Lucrecia Martel’s movie "The Swamp" at IFFR in Rotterdam. This experience led me back to Buenos Aires to study sound in a music studio. However, my passion leaned towards more abstract and narrative-focused work, pushing me into the challenging and immersive world of film sound.

Years later, I worked on the sound design together with Guido Berenblum and director Lucrecia Martel's film, which was a true full-circle moment for me."


What is your subject of knowledge?

"My expertise lies in sound design for film. I'm fascinated by the acoustic space's potential to deeply connect humans with emotions. Film sound, to me, is a magical synergy between narrative and audio, creating an immediate connection. The dynamics between acoustic and visual spaces, the synchronization of sound and image, and the attention to sound and silence contribute to the unique magic of film sound."


How did you start working at Willem de Kooning Academy?

" After teaching in a film school in Buenos Aires, I joined Willem de Kooning Academy in 2019. The opportunity arose when I got in contact with course leader Hill Scholte, she invited me to be part of the Transformation Design team as an audiovisual design tutor. Teaching is a fulfilling challenge, allowing me to contribute to shaping the program and fostering a dynamic and collaborative learning environment."


What defines you as a tutor?

"My tutoring style revolves around inclusivity, openness, and a caring attitude. I maintain a horizontal approach, engaging with students as equals, and being present to offer support when needed. Dialogues and collaboration play a significant role, mirroring the teamwork in the AV industry. I continuously learn from my students and aim to create a space where creativity can flourish. "


What do you love about teaching?

"I think of teaching as a system of growth, where the emphasis lies in enabling rather than commanding. It's not an overwhelming expanse but a focused endeavor to create an environment where possibilities can sprout and students can chart their learning journey. This analogy resonates deeply with me, as both education and AV production thrive when you provide the space for growth. I incorporate this philosophy into the structure of the program, articulating three stages of AV production that align with the educational process. Pre-production involves providing materials for students to work with—theory, practices, and skills. Production is the phase where students pitch ideas, transforming them into a cohesive product. Post-production follows, offering time for feedback and further project development.

The dialogic-focused learning approach is integral. I seek to foster conversations, consciously incorporating open forum dynamics within the classroom. This horizontal power relation mirrors the collaborative efforts in AV production. It's a team effort, just like in AV, where even though there's a director, everyone works together. The surprises come from the students—their remarks, ideas, and projects. Learning from their implementations enriches both my professional and personal work. The dynamic exchange in the classroom is a source of inspiration, constantly challenging and evolving, much like the projects we undertake in the world of audiovisual production."


What project have you been working on recently that really excites you?

"Apart from my work in film sound, I'm involved in creative coding, creating improvised audiovisual performances using code. Being part of the live coding community offers a horizontal and open space for collaboration. I find joy in the challenges presented by live events, sound design, and streaming. Each project, whether films or live performances, resonates with my passion for diverse creative endeavors."

You can check out a playlist of his live performances here and check out more about the project here.


What is something most students don’t know about you, that you would like to share?

"While I'm transparent about my interests in AV, sound, and coding, students may not be aware of my deep passion for history. I believe historical references are very valuable, though they may not resonate with every student. Recognizing the importance of history, I occasionally incorporate historical aspects into my teachings, aiming to enrich their understanding of the cultural and artistic context in which they operate."