Subject: re: ICMA et al.
From: Jim Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 11:33:11 EST
from the ICMA website (computermusic.org):
"The International Computer Music Association is an international
affiliation of individuals and institutions involved in the technical,
creative, and performance aspects of computer music. It serves
composers, computer software and hardware developers, researchers, and
musicians who are interested in the integration of music and
I don't see a limitation to the "technical" in this statement. As Kevin
says, if one has concerns, one is welcome to working from the inside to
put forward one's own agenda. One is welcome to submit papers on
history/aesthetics/etc. for consideration. I can only speak for myself,
but if I were on the Paper Jury for an ICMC, I certainly would not
reject a paper because it wasn't "technical" enough.
On a related point, I serve on the editorial team for Computer Music
Journal, and there is a perception that this journal focuses
exclusively on the "technical" as well. But, this is simply not true,
as a perusal of the Table of Contents would show
(mitpress.mit.edu/CMJ). Unfortunately, I think that this
mis-information prevents people from submitting articles for
publication consideration. I can assure you that well-written work on
any relevant topic is treated with all due care.
" Published continuously since 1977, Computer Music Journal (CMJ) is a
quarterly journal that covers a wide range of topics related to digital
audio signal processing and electroacoustic music. It is published
(in hard copy and on-line) by MIT Press. The topics addressed in
Computer Music Journal include:
• software and hardware for digital audio signal processing;
• electroacoustic, electronic, and computer music;
• software for music notation, printing, and archival systems;
• music representation languages and music cognition;
• new physical performance interfaces;
• sound localization and 3-D sound spatialization;
• sound in computer user interfaces and virtual realities;
• aesthetics of contemporary music, and other areas."
On Jan 22, 2005, at 10:04 PM, Kevin Austin wrote:
> Thank you. I am now clearer that you wish to see the ICMA change, so I
> think we have been talking about two different issues. I have tried to
> address the issue in a general electroacoustic sense, which is why I
> have continued to talk about the 'parameters' of the associations.
> At 12:54 -0500 2005/01/22, William Osborne wrote:
>> These are very interesting thoughts, Kevin, though I don't have time
>> at the
>> moment to really elaborate on these issues.
>>> >For a long time I have thought that the ICMA is a "computer music"
>>> association, and as such will continue to focus on issues of
>>> technical developments. It may be time for the development of a
>>> really inclusive international electroacoustics organization that
>>> would encompass all aspects of ea -- technical, cultural and
>> It is true that the ICMA is technically oriented, but should that be
>> to the exclusion of cultural studies in electro-accoustic music? Why
>> push it to the side to create another organization when cultural
>> studies would really benefit the ICMA? And why burden participants
>> with yet another expensive conference to visit?
> Having chosen not to be a member of the ICMA, it is of little
> 'concern' to me whether or not they work to include cultural studies
> in what they do. As I see it the are neither the largest, the most
> important nor the only game in town.
> Having worked on the creation and maintenance of a national
> organization for some 20 years, my advice to people who want to change
> things is to "get involved from the inside". As I see it, if I am
> really concerned that the ICMA (or some other association) is not
> doing something, I would either join the Board and work to influence
> the association, or work on the creation of an association that does
> respond to my concerns.
> From my experience with SEAMUS, SAN, the CEC and ACMA (among others),
> there is more flexibility and concern for the topics you return to.
> To get a feel of what is meant by this, Google "women in
> electroacoustics". This may help you find out the regions of
> electroacoustics (music technology) where these matters carry weight.
> (You may wish to read the Charter of the CEC written in 1985 regarding
> the 'special place' of women in the electroacoustic community.)
> The objectives of the Corporation are:
> a) To actively encourage, support and develop communications and
> communications systems, including information and information
> retrieval systems, for the electroacoustic community in Canada in all
> of its multiple artistic and artistically related manifestations:
> print, electronic, electromagnetic, computer information and other
> media, with continuing special concern for the younger generation of
> individuals and women in this community;
> The Charter was written in 1984, but the 'history' books will tell
> you it was 1986. ]
>> Among other things, cultural studies would help musicians and
>> engineers learn more about the nature of computer music, about the
>> special kinds of sophistication composers and engineers should and
>> can develop, how they can better work together. It could help clarify
>> the directions and focus their work should take, and how they can
>> better obtain funding and publics. Unfortunately, this kind of
>> pragmatic social and cultural study is missing. Instead, there is a
>> constant technical focus on developing more and more new gizmos
>> without taking sufficient time and study to also establish an
>> overview of where we are going and what it all means. This is a
>> formula that could lead to misdirected work.
> From my point of view, there are (secondary) issues of the concept of
> "great music" which remain undefined (except by great dead white
> german males ...), and I now see that your point is less about the
> field of electroacoustics / music technology and gender than about
> issues surrounding ICMA.
> When (some) American composers had difficulties with the
> transformation from the ACMA to ICMA, they decided to create an
> American e-a music association, and SEAMUS cam into being. (There were
> other concerns as well....)
>> A notebook computer now has more power than the old
>> Columbia-Princeton and WDR studios put together, so one might
>> provocatively ask, where's the really great music? Why do works like
>> Gesang der Junge or Silver Apples of the Moon stand out in the
>> history of the field? It is not the facility of sound creation that
>> is at issue, but the cultural sophistication of the statement. That
>> is why we need electro-accoustic music studies as an integral and
>> systematically organized part of the ICMA conferences.
>> The lack has a lot to do with the epistemology of the field. In the
>> calls for papers, technical issues are carefully broken down into a
>> very complete and detailed list of categories, but issues in cultural
>> studies are generally mentioned only under the wide rubric of history
>> and aesthetics.
> In my experience, I have proposed to people who have "a better way",
> to offer to host the conference.
> Speaking from experience, when similar issues came up in the Canadian
> context, many people put their shoulders to the grindstone and
> produced successful wide-ranging and widely based conferences.
> Subsequent to this, it was determined, as you have found, that the way
> to address these issues in the 21st century is not through the
> 'academic conference' process, but through hammering them out in front
> of a thousand people on email lists.
> It is true that my Chair and Dean do not recognize my writing to email
> lists as being (equivalent) to research or "peer-reviewed"
> publication, I will not forsake this (a)venue for communication within
> the community, even though it is 'detrimental' to my (research
> profile) position in the Department, Faculty and University.
>> A lot of the problem would be solved by better planned calls for
>> that breakdown cultural issues into a detailed set of groups,
>> addressing the calls to groups like the AMS list, and the creation of
>> specific panels to deal with specific cultural issues. This is
>> something new, and participation would have to develop over time, but
>> it would surely grow.
>> These events would be very popular with the composers and engineers.
>> They really need and want more detailed cultural analysis of their
>> This whole line of thought needs much more elaboration and
>> explanation, but I hope some will consider it.
> The CEC, SEAMUS, ACMA, and the CEC have been doing this, actively for
> over a decade. There already exists a broad community, possibly not in
> the American "computer music community" sense, but having a finite
> amount of time on this planet, I will continue to put my energy where
> I see the most benefit accruing, as you do with yours.
> I wish you the best of luck with your concerns about the ICMA, and
> would propose that people who are concerned about "doing something",
> consider joining and supporting their national ea associations that
> are "doing something".
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