Unable to speak, his body an obstacle with no way to express who he really was, Dan Ellsey was living in isolation, in institutions. Then MIT Media Lab introduced their Hyperscore music software to Dan, life became larger, and a composer was unleashed. We. Love. This.

At Deloitte University the other week, we presented clips of Project Daniel alongside work by Katia Moritz (Undiagnosed) and Jesse Roessler (The Starfish Throwers). Each representing different and equally important platforms, a common front was found as is common in the documentary world.


Then Jesse sent us this, a clip he'd shot a couple years ago, but which we'd never seen and never knew existed. Sometimes, when a tree falls in the forest... you know the rest.

We watched the clip above, tears welled, we heard phrases like "Communication, brought to a different level through the creative process," and we knew we had to know more: 

How's Dan? Is he the only person using this tool or do others have it? Did MIT ever release this software? Does the software come with the tracker to help other quadriplegics? What did it feel like to watch Dan perform?


Jesse let us know that sadly, some funding was cut for this program, but that Hyperscore is still reaching some people in Tewksbury Hospital, that the tracker was made specifically for Dan only, and that "seeing him use it for the first time was a very moving thing. You can feel this hugely dynamic presence inside of Dan and being able to express himself in this way - he just beams after recording a track. You play it back and he's just brimming with pride."