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DIT welcomes over 100 delegates to the inaugural Sounding out the Space

Posted: 31 October, 2017

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) will host the first-ever “Sounding out the Space: An International Conference on the Spatiality of Sound” at its Grangegorman campus on 2‒4 November 2017.

The one-of-a-kind conference will attract over 100 artists, practitioners and academic researchers who will explore the spatiality of sound from across disciplines in the creative arts. The spatial aspect is seldom the most explored feature of an aesthetic experience, by contrast, Sounding out the Space will scrutinise forms of artistic expression in which the perception of space is intrinsic to the artwork’s design.

Sounding out the Space organiser/curator, Dr Adrian Smith, Lecturer in Musicology at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and Conference Chair explains, “While some research has been done on the use of space in musicology, sound art and visual art studies, much of this work has remained separate, enclosed within these specialised fields. Sounding out the Space will bring these disciplines together to delve into the spatiality of sound on a holistic level.”

During the three-day event, delegates from all corners of the globe can choose from more than 80 presentations, performances and installations focusing on the shared theme of spatiality between music, sound and visual art. Speakers will include a keynote skype lecture from Bill Fontana, the celebrated composer and artist who developed an international reputation for his pioneering experiments in sound. Notable works by Fontana include, ‘Acoustical Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge’, a piece created for the golden anniversary of the iconic structure, which used microphones to create a duet between the bridge and birds on the nearby Farallon Islands that was then transmitted by broadcast-quality telephone lines to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Also appearing at the event is Brandon LaBelle, an artist, writer and theorist famed for examining questions of social life and cultural agency through the use of sound, performance, text and sited constructions. LaBelle is also an active lecturer visiting institutions around the world addressing questions of auditory culture, sonic and spatial practices, the voice and the politics of listening.

The conference will also feature a remarkable collaborative project entitled Spatial Reverberations by leading Irish contemporary artists and DIT Lecturers - Composer Gráinne Mulvey and Visual Artist Mark Garry. Mark has created a number of temporary outdoor sonic sculptures based on the Aeolian harp of ancient Greece. The sounds generated from these sculptures will form the basis for an installation by Gráinne that will capture the sounds using contact microphones and transmit them to the interior of St Laurence’s Church on the DIT Grangegorman Campus.

Other conference highlights include a joint presentation from the Northumbrian poet Katrina Porteous and the composer Peter Zinovieff about their immersive audio-visual piece entitled SUN. The piece involves six audio speakers positioned around the audience, live performances and projections of stunning photographic images, sourced via Northumbria University's Solar Physics Research Group's Imagining the Sun.

Closer to home, the composer Fergal Dowling will discuss the work of the Dublin Sound Lab and their collaborations in Dublin City Centre that attempt to involve the urban environment within musical composition and performance. The conference will also feature two concerts in St Laurence’s Church, DIT Grangegorman by members of the Spatial Music Collective who will perform electronic compositions by conference participants that have a spatial dimension. The sounds will then be subject to a number of processes within the interior of the church involving both fixed and live electronics.

The conference is a collaboration between DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, the Dublin School of Creative Arts and the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media (GradCAM) at DIT. More information about the conference can be found at http://soundingout2017.com/