ISSTC 2014

issta-logoJust came from The fourth annual Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocation or ISSTC organized by ISSTA or the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association. I had the honor of being a Keynote speaker which I am really grateful for. This took place in the Irish National University in Maynooth, a wonderful campus where they have the main Seminary in Ireland that just so happens to be beside a 13th century castle that was most important in Irish history. The schedule was filled with interesting lectures, concerts, installations and workshops including themes as diverse as Field Recording/Recoding and soundwalks, noise, cybernetics, foley, spatialization, brainwaves, development of new interfaces, applications and synthesis. So some very high tech developments, some philosophical ideas, artworks and great music. Had lots of interesting conversations with great people, lots of things happening in Ireland.

I was in a residency in The Guesthouse in Cork earlier this year and during my lecture I was able to perform some of my octets that I started writing during that residency, for open instrumentation and open number of instruments (from 1-8). Also in Cork I was able to meet a lot of sound artists in the area during a performance with Pauline Oliveros who was in Cork to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Cork while I was there and there was an event to celebrate this at The Guesthouse. I had briefly mentioned the idea of performing these pieces at ISSTC to the few sound artists I met there. This was however perhaps not a realistic idea as there wasn’t going to be much time to rehearse during the convocation. So this time around in Maynooth, after a 5 minute rehearsal I was able to end the lecture with a performance by Tony Langlois, Sean Taylor, Michael Fernström, Robin Parmar, myself and my wife Katelin. Usually I would insist on more rehearsals but this way I was able to make a point during my lecture of the efficiency of this notation system and the performance practice common in Fersteinn, Fengjastrútur and generally in animated notation pieces by S.L.Á.T.U.R. members for instance. And the funny thing was that it had exactly the same vibe as when we play these pieces in Iceland.

So lot’s of interesting conversations during the lectures and concerts and in the pubs afterwards about the Intunatar, alchemy, dream state, alpha theta waves, subsonic sonorities and influences of sound on the body, acoustic ecology and the idea of a new sound art gallery and record store in Limerick which I certainly hope will see the light of day. While walking to the last concert along with the Norwegian Ulf Holbrook we saw the name-tag of Michael Fernström placed on the side of the bridge beside the Maynooth Castle, a little creek and bird sounds, cars and bicycles driving by. So after all it was his piece. Just before leaving the next day, (after I had had the last breakfast there along with the next generation of priests in Ireland while having a conversation with the Welsh Dafydd Roberts about Alchemy) I walked the long corridors to see if someone could let me into the chapel (which looked more like a Cathederal). An angel in the form of a student of theology came and offered to show us the Chapel which was absolutely gorgeous (if one can say that about a Catholic Church) with a beautiful marble altarpiece and some gigantic Italian organ, and he just happened to play the organ, but he had to leave for mass in another part of the building so I´ll have to come another time to hear him play. After all I was there for electronic music (this time at least).