Although still jet-lagged, the historical and conceptual information presented today was nothing short of inspiring, re-kindling my enthusiasm while reminding me of the bredth of approaches possible with electronic music. Kristina Andersen gave an engaging potted history of STEIM, and Takuro Mizuta Lippit got into some of the performance issues inherent in live electronics. A visit to the FabLab with Daniel Schorno at the Olde Dam was brilliant, if for me somewhat intimidating, only because of the astonishing range of skills involved so freely in the fabrication of art objects, and potentially, instruments. As they say, the mind boggles.
The performance by students in the evening was good, especially the discussions afterwards, raising lots of questions for me about just what makes an electronic performance good and notable, what it means to be enagaing, and just how is it that certains sounds and techniques converge into making a sort of live electronic vernacular.
The other sessions mostly kept up the standard of engagement, especially the 3-D sketching session which helped me think through my concepts of data flow and distribution, which tend to get so abstract when discussion the software but it turns out can be readily explained using wire, plastic cups and paper clips!
Joel Ryan’s talk was energizing and insightful, putting me back into a sense of creative vertigo which is more inspiring than daunting, but only just!
Throughout the week, the workshop participants shared knowledge with one-another, each having a different skill set that I found particularly helpful, and yet my own knowledge of both piezos and acoustics came in handy for them too, so it really was about sharing knowledge all-round.
The repeated themes of music making music vs playing music, making music AS playing music, and the distinction between instruments and interfaces kept running as a through line through many discussions.
Daniel’s suggestions about performing electronics with others and with visuals rang with practical wisdom that I’m sure I will be revisiting for quite some time as I keep carving away at my multimedia system “instrument”.
Overall, it’s been a very good experience, I’ve learned quite a lot and been able to focus on my own work in a very supportive context.