The 2023 C-LAB Sound Festival: Diversonics begins October 6! The third edition of this sound festival continues to push the envelope in regards to experimentation with the latest sound technologies and to encourage interdisciplinary co-creation in music and sound. This year’s festival features a cine-concert with a contemporary score composed for the classic silent film Metropolis. This is a new work in which different genres of music and technologies are intertwined. R is the latest co-production with France’s Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM). It combines dance and music to co-construct body movements and rhythmic lines. In addition, poet Hung Hung was invited to curate the Poetry & Sounds section, guiding audiences through new and wonderful audio-visual experiences.
This biennial sound festival is organized by Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) and curated by Taiwan Sound Lab and IRCAM. It brings together more than 200 creators, performers, and technical professionals from France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and Argentina to present 46 programs and 80 works, mostly newly created or re-created on-site and that incorporate immersive technologies, Ambisonics system, or artificial intelligence (AI), to apply new thinking on technology to the creation of multi-dimensional sensory experiences. This festival is divided into six sections: Contemporary Music & Sounds, VR: New Soundscape, Dance & Sounds, Inter-Artistic Expressions, Poetry & Sounds, and Academy.
New Audio-Visual Experiences: Interweaving Music, Technology, VR, and Dance into an Artistic Banquet
The highlight of the Contemporary Music & Sounds section is a cine-concert for the epic sci-fi silent film Metropolis in collaboration with IRCAM. Composer Martin Matalon has rearranged chamber music and electronic music presented in an immersive surround sound field. Metropolis is a classic sci-fi silent film from 1927. It explores the impacts of continuous technological advancements on society. Spanning the cutting edge and the classic, diverse musical styles give new life to an early silent film. This cine-concert will be performed at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) on October 15.
Other exciting programs in this section include LI Li-Chin’s interactive multimedia musical for sheng, Landscape on the New Horizon of Sheng: A Tale of Two Cities. Presenting music from several international composers, it is an immersive journey of light, electronic sound, and instrumental music. In addition, 66 Musica performs Hello by avant-garde contemporary and Ars Electronica Festival in Linz award-winning composer Alexander Schubert. A chamber ensemble of musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, 3PEOPLEMUSIC interprets the works of emerging contemporary composers LIN Chih-Liang, KUO Jing-Mu, and PAN I-Tung to reshape the sensory imagination of traditional musical instruments based on contemporary thinking. Trumpeter DENG Hsei-Ping performs TSENG Yu-Chung’s human-computer interaction (HCI) experimental work Capriccio ∞ ExTpt. Allen WU, 晟SHENG, and CHEN Liang’s Digit(s) - Initial // start from 1 combines percussion performance and real-time images. LAI Tsung-Yun’s The Ancestors: Illusory Vision perpetuates disappearing indigenous culture in different forms and spaces through the use of virtual and digital technologies, while WU Ping-Sheng’s Aileron of Soul: Exhalation combines a brass instrument with electronic sounds and images generated in real-time to create a rich audio-visual experience.
The VR: New Soundscape section focuses on the latest virtual reality (VR) art. It includes a co-production by Taiwan Sound Lab and National Taichung Theater, NTT x C-LAB OOBE, in which new media artist HSIEH Wen-Yee, body movement artist Zhao Ting-Ting, and composer HUANG Chi-Yen explore the unknown experience of a soul leaving a body through the use of an immersive multi-channel audio system. Composer HUANG Ling-Hsuan and artist HSIEH Wen-Yee collaborated on LIMBOTOPIA – Impermanence, creating a gray area of auditory perception between “the real world” and “hallucination.”
The Dance & Sounds section includes the second international co-production by C-LAB and IRCAM, entitled R. In this work, choreographers TIEN Hsiao-Tzu and LIN Yu-Ju and musician LIN Mei-Fang co-construct body movements and rhythmic lines to reflect the momentum between “stagnation” and “restarting” during the COVID pandemic. In NTT x C-LAB Re-Fracture co-created by YEH Yu-Hsuan, CHENG Dao-Yuan, and HSIAO Yu-Li, physical movements, sounds, and installations are regarded as interdependent vehicles for mutual checks and balances, superimposition, and recombination. HSIEH Hsien-Te, HSIAO Ching-Shin, and YEH Ting-Hao’s remake of Pandora Illusion – Infinite Odyssey combines live percussion performance, multi-channel soundscapes, and audiovisual interactive art. In HSIAO Ching-Shin, HSIEH Hsien-Te, and HONG Yi-Bo’s System Tandm, motion capture devices are used to describe how street dancers’ movements are closely intertwined with the lighting system.
Polyphonic Resonance: International Collaborations and Creative Dialogue in Contemporary Art
The Inter-Artistic Expressions section features works that span contemporary art and technology fields. For example, at the creative core of CHEN Chieh-Jen’s latest video work, Worn Away, is extended thinking on politics, technology, and civilization. CHEN Yi’s Current/y is a performance art work that incorporates laser and motion capture technologies. CHANG Yen-Tzu’s Whose Scalpel 2.0 is an image-based installation and a sound art performance in which medical image processing techniques are used to initiate a sci-fi journey of the body, science, and cultural imagery. French visual artist Guillaume Hébert and composer Alexandre Lévy present their original work in collaboration with the C-LAB Taiwan Sound Lab, Lost Aura: Lingering Sound and Image of the Political Warfare Building, which is a unique look at the history of a now demolished building of the former Air Force Command Headquarters.
The Poetry & Sounds section was curated by poet and director Hung Hung. With words as the medium of perception, poems by Hung Hung, LO Chih-Cheng, Ami, HSIEH Hsu-Sheng, and LIN Heng-Tai are represented by WANG Yu-Jun, ufa, HUANG Ling-Hsuan, and Ross Aftel, LIN Ying-Chen and Nubbin DAI, stirring up sparks between contemporary sound and modern poetry. The Academy section is an important stage for nurturing new talent. This year, collaborations continue with music and technology-related departments and institutes of Taipei National University of the Arts, National Taiwan Normal University, and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University. For the first time, students from the experimental music class of Qingshui High School in Taichung have been invited to perform original works. Moreover, collaboration with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts also serves to fulfill the goal of cultivating a new generation of creators.
Exploring Sound Technology Trends: IRCAM Forum & Workshops
During the IRCAM Forum and Workshops, new trends in sound technology are explored, as experts from IRCAM give lectures and lead practical workshops on technical applications of AI, immersive technologies, and sound spatialization. They also share their experience in cross-institutional collaborations and sound technology education. Additionally, Xavier Boissarie (Orbe founder) and Tomek Jarolim (Orbe artistic director) speak on applications of somatosensory devices in dance performances; the French Orbe company has collaborated with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) on the integration of body movement and new media.
Participants in the 2023 C-LAB Sound Festival span generations and fields. Venues include C-LAB, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), Taipei Performing Arts Center, Taoyuan Arts Center, and Double Square Gallery. Moreover, strategic alliances with National Taiwan Science Education Center, One More Festival, Taitung Sound Art Festival, Taoyuan Iron Rose Festival, and Taiwan Science Festival provide opportunities to present the diverse and infinite potential of contemporary music and sound creation. This sound festival runs until November 19. For more information, visit C-LAB’s official website (https://www.clab.org.tw/) or Facebook page.