On Friday 12th June 2015 we are opening the doors at Leicester's Curve Theatre to a series of talks that discuss sonic art and its place in the public space.




Peter Batchelor || Welcome


Nye Parry || Public Engagement, Private Divorce: Contexts and motivations in a Sonic Arts Practice




Nicola Dibben || Music-making for Mobile Devices: Björk's "Biophilia" App Album


Steve Jones || Roaming: mobility, media and the capture of (public) place


John Richards || Blood, Sweat and Music




Louise Rossiter/Jack Richardson || Networking the Arts: Introduction of the Art & Sound Symposium


Simonne Jones || The Secrets of the Universe


Franz Rosati || Contact; Shock: minimal and maximal approaches to electronic live music


Franz Rosati || Ruins: Live Audio Visual Performance

Nye Parry || Public Engagement, Private Divorce: Contexts and motivations in a Sonic Arts Practice

The Arts are frequently called on to facilitate public engagement with other disciplines. It is believed, rightly or wrongly, that art can communicate complex ideas in science or history through analogy, metaphor, reenactment or direct demonstration. But what about public engagement with the arts themselves? Should Art be expected to explain itself in a similar way? With reference to my own work, I will suggest that the private motivations that drive artistic production may not map onto the public's experience in such straightforward ways. Nonetheless a balance can be found in which the agendas of artists, commissioners and audience can all be addressed.

Nye Parry is a composer and sound artist who has made work for numerous museums including the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum, Heineken Experience and the British Museum.

Nye has written concert works including a number featuring Balinese Gamelan alongside western instruments for the London Symphony Orchestra's Community Gamelan as well as works for live musicians and electronics such as the site-specific musical game Ludus for 2 saxophone quartets, Dice and Colour Sensors (2009) for the Colourscape Festival. His work has been broadcast internationally including on BBC Radios 3 and 4, France Musique, CBC (Canada) and Hessischer Rundfunk Germany.


John Richards || Blood, Sweat and Music

The talk will cover some of the recurring themes of Richards' work as Dirty Electronics that relate to what could be considered participatory art. The idea of labour, both physically and mentally, is seen as a way of creating performance and music from the ground up. Through building sound-making devices from scratch, an opportunity arises to re-cast music and performance. Building takes place in groups where handwork, conversation, and relationships with people and materials collide. The process of making together serves as a vehicle to explore the potential of sound and group performance and provides a tabula rasa: there is no distinction between expert and novice. The resulting performance can only be 'authentic', belonging to that group and its players. Performance is not, to use the words of Claire Bishop, 'delegated' through participation, but 'owned'. Furthermore, performance is seen as an extended process that has more in common with collaborative practice rather than something that fits into concert or theatre time. Ultimately, it is not the case of 'participation', but 'creation': empowering the participant to make it themself.

John Richards explores the idea of Dirty Electronics that focuses on shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics process and performance are inseparably bound. The 'performance' begins on the workbench devising instruments and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments. Richards is primarily concerned with the performance of large-group electronic music and DIY electronics, and the idea of composing inside electronics. He has been commissioned to create sound devices for various arts organisations and festivals and has released a series of hand-held synths on Mute Records.


Professor Nicola Dibben || Music-making for Mobile Devices: Björk's "Biophilia" App Album

Digitalisation has brought profound changes to the way people experience music. This presentation examines how the mobile (tablet and smart phone) app is one response to the dramatic challenges digitalisation has brought to the music industry and music listening. Using first-hand experience of working on Björk's "Biophilia" (2011) - hailed as the first app album - this talk evaluates the way mobile music apps are (re)introducing interactivity and multimodality into the experience of recorded music, the way it maintains musical traditions as much as it innovates, and asks what other creative uses might await.

Nicola Dibben is Professor in Music at the University of Sheffield, co-editor of Empirical Musicology Review, and former co-ordinating editor of Popular Music. Her research on the psychology of music and in popular music studies has been published in more than 40 journal articles and book chapters, a monograph Björk (2009), and the co-authored Music and Mind in Everyday Life (2010). She collaborated with Björk on the artist's multi-media app album, Biophilia (2011), and has a book of the same name forthcoming.


Steve Jones || Roaming: Mobility, Media and the Capture of (Public) Place

The talk will describe making a mobile media video installation using smartphones, digital tablets, cameras and micro-projectors. Recorded during a year of travelling between three very different cities – Paris, London and Leicester – it looks at how an unobserved performer produces electronic music from the sounds of traffic, pedestrians and public transport. Whether walking along a street, sat on a bus or a train, each location becomes the basis of an improvised composition. Roaming examines an emergent mobile media practice, revealing the process of observation, of watching and being watched, and the increasing blurring between public and private space.

Steve Jones' research is concerned with mobile technologies and applying the 'Carry Principle' to sound and performance: small, personal, communicative, multifunctional, battery operated and always connected (even in a standby state).