Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Latest Activities


Almost three months since my last blog post... I guess you could say I've been busy, all the time making photos, gathering sounds, writing poems, delivering lectures, presenting new compositions... interrogating the world around me through as many means as possible. Here follows a short summary, with photo and audio accompaniment.

Back in August the extensive compilation For Tom Carter was released, the aim being to raise funds for Tom Carter's (Charalambides) hospital fees. It will take you over ten hours to listen to all 99 contributions, including my own "Bicameral Dash", a track unique to this venture. The album is available on BandCamp. Highly recommended! (And free to listen, but please purchase.)

listening to HomeBird

At the end of August I delivered the paper "Radio Before and After Radio Waves" at ISSTC 2013, which took place at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design. I wrote more about that in my last post. This annual event was, as usual, a fantastic occasion in which to listen to vast amounts of music and develop insights into matters both technical and artistic. I was happy with the reception my own paper received, which only means that I have to somehow find time to write it up into a presentable PDF.

Church of Saint Kancijan

I had only a couple of days at home and then I was off to The Golden Boat Poetry Translation Workshop in Slovenia. Guests from several countries (England, Ireland, Slovakia, Poland, Montenegro, Finland) were invited to contribute their own poems and assist in the translation of others. The results were read at the historic Church of Saint Kancijan, and then in a reading at Trubar Literature House, Ljubljana. The week was absolutely fantastic on a professional level, and I must thank all of the participants and especially the organisers, Iztok Osojnik and Tatjana Jamnik.

Reka waterfall

The week was also stupendous in terms of the local geography of Škocjan, which is literally beyond description. The area is know for including the largest cave network in Europe, which we of course visited. Terrifying! Beyond this the psychogeography of the region was compelling. Even if you don't believe in ghosts there is certainly something unusual happening in the vicinity of the Cemetery of the Fearless Dead. I stayed in Betanja, where dreams are known to be dark and fluid, mapping the river that literally runs all around and underneath the limestone terrain.

I not only wrote a poem from this expeience, I made a film for it. Hopefully to be shown at some point! In the meantime, here are some midnight insect sounds:

Later in September my article Making Noise And Reading Noise was published in Interference Journal. This is a review of Hillel Schwartz's massive book Making Noise, which I recommend... under advisement. You can read my detailed critique on the journal's website.

Marco Viscomi with Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, translator

Poetry continued in October at the Cuisle Limerick International Poetry Festival. I am on the committee and so was kept busy despite the onset of an annoying flu. I was particularly happy at the reception of the two lunch-time poets. Though illness precluded the usual late nights socialising in the pub, I found the variety of works stimulating. Pictured is Marco Viscomi from our new sister festival in Italy, with translator Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

As each year, the festival was the site of the launch of the annual Stony Thursday Book. No. 12 was edited by Paddy Bushe. I am happy to say it included my poem "Tinnitus", already translated into a few languages at the aforementioned workshop! At The White House poetry session I read a brand new poem, reworking Irish mythology. "Amhairghin Returns" got a great reception, so I immediately sent it out for publication... not something I generally bother with.

Slip 3 Mezzanine concert environment

Most recently I was at the Symposium on Acoustic Ecology at the University of Kent. I met up with no fewer than five other Irish composers -- nice to see us well represented. A special shout out to Fergus Kelly, since I meet him on pretty well every trip I take outside of Limerick! Mikael Fernström and Aileen Dellane each presented papers. Alan Dormer provided an installation while Steve McCourt and myself had pieces in the listening room. You can listen to my "Caged Birds (Augmentation)" on Soundcloud.

It was great to hear the keynotes from Katharine Norman and Barry Truax, somewhat surreal to be chatting to Denis Smalley as we walked from building to building, and a happy accident that I found intriguing sounds to record while I was there. I am sure that the historic Medway docklands would be a fantastic place to wander around when it isn't raining all the time. But I did my best in any case.

The photo above shows the site of the final evening's concert, a huge hangar that appears like the hull of an inverted ship. Imagine an array of forty speakers blasting out sounds here. And freezing cold. Special!

On top of all of this I've been teaching Acoustics & Psychoacoustics on the Masters in Music Technology programme at DMARC, University of Limerick. And working front-of-house at the Limerick City Gallery of Art.

So, yes, busy. And more to come, which I should save for another post.

Sorry for the long absence. I hope this summary will keep my non-Facebook friends somewhat in the loop.