At UC Santa Barbara the department for research in the field of electronic art is called CREATE. Author of the great book ‘Microsound’ Curtis Roads is Associate Professor and Stephen Travis Pope is their Senior Research Specialist. The Director is composer JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, one of the few women in this field. A new building that will host CREATE is opening next year. It will feature a data visualisation space - a sphere with 127 speakers and a 360 degree projection surface and 3D imagery. Imagine being inside a giant football… There seems to be a well developed interaction between the Media Arts and the Technology departments at the University and the new building and its spaces will be shared with researchers from the natural sciences (nanotechnology, biotechnology etc). This is something that we at Lund University still are having problems achieving, partly because of the geographical distance between the departments. Personally I don’t think there is a lack of interest, just a lack of initiative. Hopefully, my collaboration with the department of Theoretical Physics is a beginning that can lead to a further expansion of crossdisciplinary interactions and collaborations.
At CNMAT, Berkeley, I met with some of the graduate students at the composition department. One of them, Brian Kane I met at the Spark Festival in Minneapolis in January. Not only is he a remarkable intellectual and a great composer with a background in philosophy, he is also a highly skilled jazz guitarist. At Spark he delivered a paper on phenomenology and Pierre Schaeffer that was noteworthy. As problematic as Schaeffers theories can be, there is still a lot of his work that is applicable today. I sat in on an informal seminar where the grad students in composition got together and discussed their recent work. I was envious of the way in which the students evidently self organised and initiated discussions such as the one I was part of considering how little interaction there actually is in our own PhD program.
In San Diego I also played a gig at the Gallery Voz Alta, arranged by the Trummerflora Collective. There seems to be a fairly active experimental music scene also outside of the University. I met Hans Fjellestad who helped set up the concert, a great musician and keyboard/pianoplayer filmmaker. I haven’t seen his filmwork but his CD 33 is deeply original. At the concert flute and reedplayer Ellen Weller sat in on the second set. Check out her CD ‘Spirits, Little Dreams and Improvisations’ on Circumvention Music where especially the free stuff is great.