Reports

PROCESS is a 2 day festival focusing on the sound of systems. Terms like ‘process-driven’ and ‘generative’ are expanded to include live performances based on breath, a train-yard video that generates rhythms dynamically, and a large metal ‘drop machine’ which emulates electronics, with no electronics. The program features two evenings of live performances and new-media works, and workshop. A discourse on Process and System is a discourse about relationship; this is not only an examination of the way the determinants of construction play out in their final form (such as it might be), but also the nature of said Processes and Systems in their own right. How do these come to be? How do these Processes evolve into more fully formed sound and new media works? What could happen when we extrapolate on these questions and throw the Processes by which sound and music are created into the spotlight, examining these relationships with primacy on the Systems themselves? These are some of the questions that one could ask of the Process Festival 2010. The works selected all bare the manner of their composition as an integral part of the whole. We move beyond mere observation of how the system relates to a composition and can now address how the system itself is determined as well as what ramifications this has on the work as a whole. This is a different relational interplay; examining the nature of the system, its genesis and development as a separate entity, and then filtered into a compositional mode. A simple contrast by way of example; biological systems appear several times during this festival. To what extent can biological systems be said to be inherent, for example? In what ways can they be manipulated or extended upon, theoretically and practically? How do we talk about these in contrast to mathematical or computational systems, which themselves could also be limited to specific kinds of manipulation? What new language arises from these discussions, what terms do we need to accustom ourselves to using? Moreover, what rules govern each of these Processes and how can they be subverted? What contradictions appear? What can be done to overcome them? While many of these questions are not necessarily new, the Festival itself and its launch in 2010 feel timely, as the current technological and social background with regards to sound now blurs the dichotomy between electronic and acoustic elements in a way perhaps not so clearly and comfortably defined previously. The ever widening field of new media works is here acknowledged and celebrated. The genesis of a work and its expression share different modes, co-opting parts from many methodologies and enabling a much wider flux of difference to be laid bare. How far apart do we set the boundaries and how grand is the scope that lies between them? Furthermore, these discussions build upon long standing and regularly developing ideas surrounding alternative modes of composition. Is something given up by the composer by surrendering to an exterior Process? Conversely, what could be gained in such an action? Does the composer’s agency increase or decrease, do they gain more or less control? What role does the composer occupy by working with these modes? With these lines seemingly so blurred, what new distinctions can we draw between different modes of sound and new media works and performance? Process Festival 2010 does not seek to answer all of these questions, but rather hopes to act as a forum for the examination of these ideas and their possible permutations. It is our hope that more questions will arise from the works selected, widening still further the possibilities in the diverse field of sound.

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