OISTAT Sound Design Group Meeting

September 2009

Minutes of Meeting

Download the minutes


The Lexington Hotel, Seoul, South Korea and Boston, London, New Haven and San Antonio via a Skype Conference call.

9am Sunday 20th September 2009 (South Korea)

1am Sunday 20th September 2009 (UK)

Various Saturday 19th September 2009 (USA)



Steven Brown UK (Seoul)

Gregg Fisher UK (Seoul)

Jethro Joaquin Philippines (Seoul)

Richard Thomas USA (Seoul)

Liz Atkinson USA (New Haven/Skype)

Kim Bizjak USA (Boston/Skype)

David Budries USA (New Haven/Skype)

John Leonard UK (London/Skype)

Rick Malone USA (San Antonio/Skype)


Minutes taken by

Gregg Fisher (Written)

Richard Thomas (Audio Recorded)




1. Opening remarks - Steven Brown.


2. An overview of World Stage Design 2009 - Jethro Joaquin.

a. Jethro started by informing us WSD sound design exhibit has a total of 13 entries from around the world, 6 from the USA, 3 from the UK, 2 from the Philippines and 1 each from Russia and Taiwan.

b. The exhibition opened at 2pm yesterday (19th September) at the Zero One Design Center in downtown Seoul. The various galleries used for WSD are spread around and not integrated.

c. JJ then went on to explain the disappointing sound design exhibit. SB went on to talk about how this exhibit was constructed, how the content was played back and also how our help and advice with concern to this exhibit wasn’t taken. SB went on to explain that this was true for the whole exhibition and not just the sound design section and went on to explain in more detail how poorly the event has been staged generally.

However we’re all having a good time and it’s important to remember that this is no more than a blip and designers shouldn’t be put off by this when it comes to entering work for the next World Stage Design exhibition which will be held either in Cardiff or Beijing in 2013.

d. Gregg Fisher has compiled a new exhibit which will be installed after this meeting after coming over to Seoul from the UK for the day.

e. Thanks also to Jethro who has been our contact in Asia for the last year and done a remarkable job under difficult circumstances. JJ kindly offered the SWG the opportunity to meet in Manila in the future should we wish

to return to SE Asia and promote sound design anytime in the future.

f. David Budries and John Leonard asked about how the event was being received and SB and Gregg Fisher replied that it doesn’t seem to have been marketed and that their is a distinct lack of Korean exhibits and practitioners around.

g. SB went on to talk about the printed catalogue and the lack of a digital version.

h. SB talked about how useful and interesting the OISTAT Congress which is running alongside WSD has been.

i. SB finished by extending his gratitude to d&b and Cadac who financed his participation as no funding was forthcoming from the usual UK sources and this was echoed by the other participants.

3. Prague Quadrennial Update - Steven Brown

a. SB started by stating that there are a few people from PQ here but no one from Scenofest.

b. Scenofest will run from June 16th until June 26th 2011.

c. As VystaVyste will be unavailable for 2001 PQ will be taking place at various venues around Prague. The Student and National Section will be held at the Veletrzni Palace (The National Gallery). The Intersection Project will take place on the outdoor Piazzeta between the National Theatre and The Laterna Magika. (The Intersection Project explores performance an important element of different art and cultural disciplines). The Architecture Section will take place at either the Bethlehem Chapel or St. Anne’s church in the centre of Prague. There will be an Extreme Costume exhibition at a venue still to be decided.

We’re currently considering three venues for the PQ lighting and sound lectures, The Laterna Magika, The Archa Theatre and La Fabrika Theatre, hopefully some further news on that soon.

d. SB continued by outlining his role as Sound Design Curator for PQ and confirming that David Budries will be undertaking the role he previously held for Scenofest. SB is looking for 3 or 4 high profile events to stage.

One of the events which was being considered was David Byrnes ‘Playing the Building’ but after seeing this at The Roundhouse in London it was decided that this was not suitable for PQ, it was, in fact, very disappointing. DB talked about some installations using Ableton Live which may be worth considering.

e. 52 countries have applied for the Student and National Sections and the event has changed its name from the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition of Scenography and Stage Design to The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.

f. DB and SB discussed the issues surrounding moving the event away from a single venue to multiple venues and it was agreed that some participants may feel nervous about this.

g. DB continued to explain that DAMU would be the likely venue for Scenofest projects. SB concurred that this would be a great place to hold these as it’s right in the centre of Prague.

h. SB and DB agreed to have a separate meeting about PQ and Scenofest plans and arrangements in a few weeks time.

i. Kim Bizjak asked about how close together the venues are and whether they’re within walking distance of each other. SB confirmed that he has asked PQ for a Google map clearly showing the location of the venues. SB will distribute to all when he receives this map.

j. KB offered DB help with Scenofest.

k. For the first time a member of our group will be an International Juror at PQ, Kevin Purcell (Australia) This is of course great news for both Kevin and us!

4. Scenofest Update – David Budries

a. The organisers are trying to keep Scenofest centred around Old Town.

b. 10 spaces being used inside DAMU.

c. DB has been instructed to look to run a fewer amount of larger workshops, rather than many smaller ones as was the case with Scenofest 2007.

d. Joint collaborative projects between sound and lighting and he’s interested in getting peoples ideas about what these may be.

e. 50 Student juried exhibits.

f. Professionals who have juried these will available in real time online to feedback and talk about these if they’re not in Prague.

g. 50 selected Street Stories Projects, 5 a day over the 10 days, developing pieces focussing on Prague.

h. Manufacturers will be allowed to give demonstrations and workshops.

These will focus more on ‘under the hood’ creative tools rather than loudspeakers, microphones etc. DB has been exploring this with some manufacturers already.

i. Four groups of student volunteers will be available from Carnegie Mellon, Amsterdam, UK, and Finland.

j. DB is working on budgets and also creating real centres which have a true aural and visual presence.

k. DB is visiting Prague to look at every potential site, although the exact dates aren’t confirmed this looks likely to be around March 5th to March 14th.

l. SB stated that he’ll try and get over and meet DB in Prague.

m. SB thanked DB for his report.

5. International Sound Design Exhibition - Steven Brown

a. SB announced that he’s been approached by XXXXX to look at organising an international Sound Design Exhibition/Competition. This stems from the problems we’ve had over the past 12 months with respect WSD.

b. They were very keen on sponsoring us at WSD but this was ignored by the organisers, which was embarrassing for all of us.

c. What shape or form this will take we don’t yet know and obviously we need to talk about this at great length at another time.

d. Amongst many things we need to decide whether this is an open exhibition which will allow everyone the chance to have there work heard. It will be free or have a limited entry fee and will not have anything like the 100USD entry fee asked for by WSD which put so many people off entering. The other option is that we have a team of curators on each continent finding a way to select and present the best work from there region.

e. SB would like to move forward and explore this idea a bit further and is interested to hear what people think about the concept. Is this worth doing? Or should we just wait until WSD2013 to readdress this situation.

f. Some discussion took place about when this should happen and obvious problems were highlighted with regards to whether this would conflict with PQ and how it could perhaps be integrated with Scenofest.

g. SB stated that we really need a wider group of people to discuss, when, how and why we want to do this before making any final decisions, but he’s interested in what this group thinks.

h. It could also be an OISTAT branded event and there are no doubts that other manufacturers would like to participate and be involved.

i. SB has had several enquiries from visual designers who would want to design us something visually striking as well, one of these was responsible for the magnificent Berio Lounge at The Royal Festival Hall in London. So this exhibition wouldn’t just be a laptop in the corner somewhere but a properly designed and curated exhibition.

j. Gregg Fisher stated that we’d all agree that anything enhances our profile internationally is a good thing. The question is how do we place it where we don’t have to generate audiences or strap on to any other kind of event. This is something we really should look at. How should we move this forward?

k. SB wants to form a group to discuss this in detail further, and he’ll put a call out on the SWG Yahoo page, but wanted to run this by everyone first to work out whether this is the way forward and in order not to add anything further to people’s already hectic lives!

l. GF added that he thinks this should be a small manageable group representative of geographic location.

m. John Leonard (UK) offered to take part in the initial discussion as did Rick Malone (US) and Jethro Joaquin (Asia).

n. SB will send out an email and basic concept for people to feed back on before feeding this information back to XXXXX.

6. Future Plans for the Sound Working Group - Steven Brown

a. SB started by announcing that the SWG is quite an interesting beast (!) After events such as the last WSD and PQ everything goes a little wild, everyone is enthusiastic, has lots of ideas and things then we all forget about them because we all have busy lives and we perhaps don’t follow things through in the way that we should, also because we have our rents and mortgages to pay and that needs to take priority. Certainly within our Yahoo group we have an abundance of talent, ideas and creativity which we may be wasting. We all have lots of resources we can all share, writings, lectures, recordings.

b. SB has trying to update the website for over a year and thinks we need to get a group of people together to update and work on this further, archiving our resources in order to make them not just available to us but to everyone and certainly to all the other members of OISTAT this will also help to improve our visibility with the organisation.

c. SB is looking for an individual or group of people, to volunteer to look at our web presence and increasing our profile.

d. Rick Thomas went on to explain that OISTAT has a grant to develop their website and would we be wasting our time improving ours.

e. SB went on to explain is that initially the group would gather all our information, lectures, recording, writings etc. turn them into mp3’s, pdf’s which we can either use ourselves, or easily integrate into the OISTAT website. So the first objective is to gather all the information we have and turn into an easily usable format.

f. The possible costs of doing this was discussed.

g. RT went on to discuss the fact that OISTAT really needs to look at how their web presence is financed and if sites aren’t financed properly they become out of date very quickly.

h. SB agreed and went on to say he might be able to apply for funding from OISTAT to develop our web presence he also went on to say that they’d been an awful lot of talk at the congress about the OISTAT website and it’s failings, but in his opinion the ‘all singing and dancing’ websites which many people believe the OISTAT site should be are often very high in design but very low in content but all the straightforward sites are usually high on content and as far as we’re concerned the content is the most important thing. We need a web presence which allows people to access the information we have amongst us.

i. RM said the key is what we actually require a website for. SB replied that we need somewhere to promote our activities at Scenofest, WSD and any other project we get involved with and also as a means of storing and

accessing information.

j. SB went on to say it would be good to use as a meeting place. Most of us only get to meet each other in person every couple of years and the website would be good to help promote and encourage other meetings, webinars etc. and allow other people to get involved in what we do. SB would really like people to work on this and develop the idea further. KB volunteered to become involved.

k. RT suggested that we try and set KB up us our liaison with the OISTAT website to ensure that we had a presence on the new OISTAT website.

l. DB is going to try and find someone who is savvy in web creation.

m. RT commented that he’d like to add something critical in that fact that who maintains it three years from now? It has to have continuity. The OISTAT website is a perfect example of a website which is dead, it has never lived up to the promise of when it was created. We need a long term plan and it shouldn’t be the case of we just want to update our website.

n. SB will be in touch with KB and DB to work out a plan on how to move forward with this.

o. JL commented that our current website wasn’t very good (laughter all around). SB commented that some people should stick with music and that Rick Thomas was a perfect example (more laughter).

10.10 am (Seoul) SB closed the meeting at this point as the participants in Seoul had to go and sort out the WSD sound exhibit and thanked everybody for taking place.