Sound Design Group Report at OISTAT Congress

Prague, Czech, June 2007

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Rick Thomas
Head, Sound Design Group

The Sound Design Group has been focusing its energies exclusively on preparations for the 2007 Prague Quadrennial(PQ). The Associate Head of the Sound Design  Group, Steven Brown has taken charge of the preparations for the Sound Events at Scenofest, and has organized a great group of Sound Design  Group members to create a memorable Scenofest. Joe Pino is curating the Second International Sound Design and Music Composition Exhibition; Dave Tosti-Lane is producing the Digital Media for the event. Nancy Tobin, Eileen Smitheimer, Davin Huston, Veronika Vorel, Gregg Fisher, Janne Auvinen and Kimberly Bizjak are all providing support for the event.

The Sound Design Group is planning twenty-two workshops, presentations and events. Guest Presenters also include many Sound Design Group members. German composer and director Heiner Goebbels will lecture on the interface between artistic practice and scientific experience. Russian Composer and Director, Igor Drevelev will present a session on The Scenography of Sound, and London Sound Designer Ross Brown will present a workshop on Noise Memory Gesture, The Theatre in a Minutes Silence. From Australia, Dr. Kevin Purcell will present a workshop on Designing Auditory Aura with The MaxStage and Basil Hogios will present a lecture on Theatre Sound and Architectural Dreamspace. Legendary UK sound designer John Leonard will share his thoughts on life, sound and the theatre in a special lecture, An Afternoon with John Leonard. Hong Kong Sound Educator Chris Johns is hosting the Sound Educators Seminar, while London Sound Designer Chris Schutt will present a session on The Music of Sound and Philippine sound designer Jethro Joaquin will discuss Theatre Sound Design: A Communal Process.

John Taylor of sponsor d&b Audioteknik will present a session related to Sound System Design. UK based Robin Whittaker will do a presentation on TIMAX audio matrix processors. Paul Gillieron will demonstrate a new ambisonic platform for sound design, AudioScape 3D, and Curtis Craig from the US will lecture on the most amazing musical instrument ever invented, the human voice. Gregg Fisher will lead a roundtable discussion on archiving sound designs. Finally Jaume Ferrete and Bram de Jong will lecture on a phenomenon that will surely be of interest to OISTAT members, The Freesound Project, an international collaborative database of creative commons licensed sounds that artists may use for free.

Visitors entering the PQ from the long tarmac main entrance will be able to create sound and improvise acoustic performances with a collection of mechanical devices used for the creation of sound effects in years gone by. A couple of examples include a wind machine, a rain maker and a sound tree (see pictures below).

An exciting experiment created by the Sound Design Group will take place at the Masarykovo Railway Station on Monday, June 18th. Teams of sound designers, with participants stationed at the railway station in Prague, and others stationed at various locations throughout the world, will collect and perform collaborative soundscapes at the railway station, thus using the theme of transportation to embody the “transporting” of sound art across many countries and continents.

Finally, the Sound Design Group will conduct its annual meeting in Prague, and begin to develop its plans for World Stage Design, and the next few years of the group. We are deeply indebted to all of our members for all of their great efforts to make the 2007 PQ a success, but most especially to Steve Brown, without whose tireless efforts, the exciting sound programming that is about to unfold at the PQ could not have taken place.


Updated September 2007