Seeing Sound 2 [29th/30th October 2011, Bath]

Following the success of the first Seeing Sound event in 2009, Bath Spa University (UK) will once again host an informal two-day symposium exploring multimedia work which foregrounds the relationship between sound and image.

We aim to explore areas such as visual music, abstract cinema, experimental animation, audiovisual performance and installation work through paper sessions, screenings and performances.

This year will see a focus on direct sound – the generation of sound and music from visual material (by various techniques including images drawn or photographed on an optical film soundtrack drawing directly on to an optical film soundtrack for example). This practice is almost as old as sound cinema itself and has influenced the development of both electronic music and abstract cinema/visual music.

We will explore this theme with the help of input from four key speakers (brief biography outlines below):

Mick Grierson will be discussing the exhibition of Daphne Oram’s Oramics machine at London’s Science Museum, including the impact of co-curated contributions from experimental audio/visual artists, ex-BBC radiophonics workshop personnel and EMS staff, through the lens of his research around audiovisual perception.

Cindy Keefer, director of the Center for Visual Music, will discuss Oskar Fischinger’s 1932 Ornament Sound experiments and his influence on Visual Music.

Volker Straebel will discuss composition and production of synthesized sound in John and James Whitney’s “Five Film Exercises” (1943/44).

Andrey Smirnov will present an overview of censored and lost sound experiments in Russia, 1910 to the 1930s including Graphical Sound, Noise Orchestras and related sound machines with music and video examples.

A call for papers and creative works will be published soon.

Mick Grierson is Director of Creative Computing at Goldsmiths College, and Director of the Daphne Oram Collection.

Cindy Keefer has taught, curated, lectured and published on Visual Music and Oskar Fischinger internationally. She has preserved dozens of historical visual music films by Fischinger, Belson, the Whitneys, Dockum, Bute and others; currently she is co-curating an upcoming traveling Fischinger museum exhibition.

Volker Straebel is a musicologist focusing on electro-acoustic music, the American and European avant-garde, intermedia, performance and sound art. He is co-director of the Electronic Music Studio at Technische Universität Berlin and currently a fellow at the Research Focus Media Convergence at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Furthermore, he is curatorial adviser to contemporary music festival MaerzMusik and has realized and performed indeterminate works by John Cage and himself.

Andrey Smirnov is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, engineer, researcher and developer of electronic music techniques, author, curator, educator. He is a founding director and the Senior Lecturer of the Theremin Center for Electroacoustic Music at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. He is collecting and keeping unique archives on the history of Audio Computing and Music Technology in the early 20th century Russia as well as a collection of original historical electronic musical instruments.

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