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Festival ’24 Open Call – Symposium Talks

Sonorities welcomes proposals for short talks (up to 20min) that engage with the topic of Human Computer Improvisation – a deliberate abuse of the common HCI acronym – with a nod to earlier work by John Bowers. John will join Lucy Suchman as invited keynote speakers for the Sonorities Symposium, which will include a range of talks intertwined with other events across the five-day festival.

Submissions Closed.

Some background:

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) came into existence as a named academic field in the early 1980s when existing methods of study of the relationships between humans and machines (e.g. ergonomics) on the one hand and methods of software engineering on the other came under criticism. New approaches were required which took seriously the challenges of computing technology and the complexity of human thought and behaviour. Exactly what computing technology consists in and how humans are to be understood has gone through successive waves of reformulation in HCI as elsewhere in disciplines which examine these matters.

Our intention with this symposium is to critically reflect on this history, its parallels in ideas of ‘computer music’ and ‘new instruments for musical expression’ amongst other formulations, and to explore new ways of seeing the relational field created by technology (and its others), humans (and their others), and interaction (and its others) in musical contexts. As a starting point, we tweak interaction into improvisation: Human Computer Improvisation. In this way, we can highlight improvisational possibilities in the relationship between humans and technology. Not just that there might be technologies for improvisation but that the human, the technological, and their variable relationships might be improvisationally produced. These are matters which seem neglected in much contemporary technological discourse within the arts and other cultural settings. Consider, for example, the development of large language neural network models such as ChatGPT and the rather fixed field of relationships which both advocates and critics take them as offering. Likewise, we are broadly interested in talks that explore the ethics of how artists and machines (and the communities they depend on and create) are reconfigured through their dynamic interactions and longer-term relations.

To apply, please submit a proposal (in PDF format) by 31st August 2023 containing:

  • Name
  • Title of proposed talk
  • Abstract (up to 200 words)
  • Links to online media (if relevant)
  • Technical requirements (indicating what you will provide and what you expect Sonorities to provide)

Please also supply a short bio (up to 100 words), at least one promo image, and optionally a link to your website or other online material that could be used for promotional purposes.

Note: Sonorities is unable to provide a fee or travel expenses for presenters selected through this open call. However, Sonorities can provide a letter of support to assist with funding applications to allow presenters to travel to attend the festival.

Submissions Closed.

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