Every year the members of the Irish, Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA) meet somewhere in Ireland to discuss their latest research, listen to lots of intriguing new music, attend workshops on anything from circuit bending to DJ tactics, and generally have a good time. It's not a conference, it's a convocation, a word that better expresses the plurality of activities on offer.
This year the ISSTA Convocation is 28-29 August at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design, just down the tracks from Dublin. Wednesday afternoon I will be delivering the paper "Radio Before and After Radio Waves", which draws on my experience in radiophonics in Canada. I want to define what practical qualities make radio special, but also which topological and network aspects allow us to speak of radio as a concept, a powerful spark to imaginative artistic practice.
This fits in with this year's theme of Transmission Drift:
Transmissions enable us to experience ideas, energy, data, sounds, events and art from distant and long ago places. In negating temporal and physical boundaries, transmissions sustain traditions between generations and broadcast across borders. The act of transmission is simultaneously cultural, technological and political, but it is never simple, because transmission requires both senders and receivers, and meanings frequently drift between the two. Messages are distorted, drowned in noise, re-discovered and interpreted, censured, forgotten and forbidden. Mediated and buffeted by the motions of fashion, genre, bandwidth and fidelity, electromagnetic transmissions are an ever-increasing constant. Electromagnetic frequency bands can be commercialised, purchased and sold, making the content of broadcasts answerable to financial enterprise. How, as artists, composers, writers and scientists of sound, might we engage with the concept of transmission?
The convocation is composed of three paper sessions, three concerts, an art walk, a workshop, and keynote address from Darren Copeland of New Adventures in Sound Art in Toronto.
All of this for only 40 Euro, which is surely the cheapest registration fee I'll be paying all year! There are also reduced rates if you can only attend one of the concerts, etc. Full details of the schedule are available on the website.
ISSTC is the biggest event of its kind in Ireland. Anyone with an interest in the sonic arts owes it to themselves to attend!
(Note that I have been forced to cancel my installation/performance Ouroboros, for health reasons. My apologies.)