It’s a phone number…

By Rob Ahlers

Now that February is well underway I would like to reflect on the European Music and Showcase Festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) that took place from 11-14 January. Some of this year’s ESNS festival statistics: 40.300 visitors, 424 performances, 465 journalists, live broadcasting from 17 countries, media coverage from 34 European countries, Popprijs awarded to Dutch DJ Martin Garrix, and, of course, rainy weather. The festival was sold out (unsurprisingly) and so was the ESNS festival conference. This year, the conference welcomed a new record of 4200 national and international guests.

In my previous blog I discussed the value of curiosity and discovery for music culture and how ESNS facilitates this. Within a fast changing environment such as the music industry, festivals like ESNS help to keep an eye on the ball. Not only does the showcase festival offer the opportunity to see new and upcoming acts, the ESNS conference plays a central role in this process as well. The four-day conference is the European music industry epicenter where you learn about trends and developments and get informed about new initiatives. Continue reading “It’s a phone number…”

Blurring Visual Art, Musical Composition, & Theatre with Musical Mail Art

by Chris Tonelli
Groningen University    

The concept of “blurring art and life” stands in for a series of ideals: the notion we can all see ourselves as artists, rather than just a specialized few; the notion that we can approach our daily activities with the attitudes we take to artistic work; and the notion our experience can be enriched by acting outside of the normative economics and patterns of distribution of artistic work, to name a few. Artists like Ray Johnson and Ken Friedman saw the postal system as a tool for achieving these ideals and went on to develop the tradition of mail art. While mail art may seem best suited to those who identify primarily as visual artists or poets, the work of Southern California based composer Jude Weirmeir has demonstrated that mail art can become a tool to reconfigure what it means to be a musical composer. Weirmeir has created a massive body of musical mail art scores—work that is equally visual art object, musical composition, catalyst for performance, and event in itself, as, around this work, sending, receiving, waiting for, and replying to mail art all take on the character of an aesthetic event.

Weirmeir (right) observes as soprano Fiona Chatwin performs his mail art score “Music for Soup” (a score designed to perch on the lip of a bowl of soup).

Continue reading “Blurring Visual Art, Musical Composition, & Theatre with Musical Mail Art”

Eurosonic Noorderslag: Research or Recognition?

by Rob Ahlers

This week the city of Groningen will once again dominate the European music stage. The 31st edition of the European Music and Showcase Festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) takes place from 11-14 January at various locations in Groningen. What once started out as a simple band competition between Dutch and Belgian bands in the mid 1980s has evolved into a multi-disciplinary music festival and an international media event that stimulates the circulation of European repertoires and festival networks. Continue reading “Eurosonic Noorderslag: Research or Recognition?”

A Dancing Museum

by Carmen van Bruggen 

‘It is time to see, to make visible and bring alive the moving bodies of a culture’

Boris Charmatz in Manifesto for a Dancing Museum.

She wears dirty sneakers, blue Adidas sweatpants and a simple grey t-shirt. Her outfit, however, reveals nothing of the styles she dances: Russian Folkdance and ballet. It has a brilliant effect, the banging of her sport shoes on the museum floor, while she plays both the male and female roles of classical pieces. Of course she is a contemporary dancer. She does whatever she wants. She mixes styles, appropriates any role and enjoys the absence of any clear dance rules. Continue reading “A Dancing Museum”

Virtual Reality Experience of Reading

In reading, a lonely quiet concert is given to our minds; all our mental faculties will be present in this symphonic exaltation.

Stéphane Mallarmé

With this quote in mind, how much has the experience of reading changed over time and what does the experience look like in the age of digital technologies? Continue reading “Virtual Reality Experience of Reading”