EMS 09 – Abstract- The Archiving and Preservation of Inter-Media Composition, Happenings and Other Significant Electroacoustic Events

I Autor: Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner
Idioma: Inglés
Fecha de Publicación: 25/06/2009
Actividad en donde fue presentado: EMS 09. Herencia y futuro


“Part of the problem of our medium is the ephemeral nature of the music we do, especially non-standard performances like Scaletti’s.  I really hope that some mechanism for preserving, replaying, or re-performing this work can be found … I urge all of us to see this as one of the central questions facing the ICMC and ICMA.”
Review of the 1995 International Computer Music Conference – Brad Garton (Array – Winter 1995)
The heritage of electroacoustic music has included repertoire and resources which present unique problems in terms of preservation and archiving due to technical and non-technical materials utilized, unique performance and presentation venues needed, and lack of planning and consideration of the  possible significance of the works.  This has lead to a loss of historical content which may be invaluable to future generations of electroacoustic musicians. The author of the paper has encountered the disadvantages of this lack of preservation in her own research of the works of Carla Scaletti, Ruth Anderson, and Annea Lockwood.
A discussion of the merits of archival preservation of inter-media compositions, happenings, and other electroacoustic events such as installations and web-based compositions with emphasis on work already completed in this area and the tools available for future and further activity will be presented.  The majority of options and opportunities available for the preservation of significant electroacoustic repertoire and events are already in use by libraries and museums for the archiving of non-musical media objects. Specific examples of this type of research will include work being done by the University of North Texas in their Digital Projects Lab.  Additionally, groups actively working in performance re-creation of significant but problematic aspects of electroacoustic heritage include Newband and the Russolo Ensemble and this aspect of preservation will also be considered.
Specific works explored as case studies for the paper include John Cage’s HPSCHD and Carla Scaletti’s Public Organ. In the case of HPSCHD (1969), both analog and digitally-remastered recordings of one instance and aspect of the event are available as well as an extensive paper and lecture (1999) by Johanne Rivest on the University of Illinois premiere presentation of the project.  A few photos of the original event exist in the University of Illinois archives and many memories and anecdotes remain in minds and hearts of the (fewer and fewer) living persons who participated in the piece. HPSCHD was occasionally performed on a grand scale after the UIUC premiere including one such re-creation at the University of North Texas.
Carla Scaletti’s Public Organ (1995) was commissioned by the International Computer Music Association for its 1995 Digital Playgrounds conference at the Banff Centre.  An interactive internet piece, the actions of the viewer determined the current state of the installation.  Public Organ also existed for awhile on the web after the conference but the site hosting the event went off-line some time ago.  Currently some documentation of Public Organ exists on the composer’s website:  www.carlascaletti.com.  For both of these cases and for works of this nature in general items to be assessed include what criteria can and should be used to determine whether a piece is ‘worth preserving’, to what extent should this preservation and archiving be taken, and technical and non-technical tools can and should be used to accomplish this task most effectively.

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner
University of North Texas