Music - Assessment Meeting Report - May 2011 - AlloSphere Residency

In early 2011, the Australia Council invited Australian musicians, sound artists and media artists working in sound to apply for a three month residency in the AlloSphere facility at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

This 30-foot diameter sphere built inside a three-story near anechoic cube, allows for synthesis, manipulation, exploration and analysis of large-scale data sets. Artistically, it offers the opportunity for the creation and performance of formally innovative new works, and the potential to explore new modes of expression in an immersive environment.

The Australia Council is the first organisation in the world to support a formal artist residency at the AlloSphere. The residency is the result of a partnership between with the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Australia Council's Music Board and Inter-Arts Office. This is a pilot initiative, running for the first time in 2011.

Thirteen applications to this program were submitted from both established and emerging artists, with a variety of artistic and academic backgrounds. Most applicants showed a strong understanding of the potential and capabilities of this facility, with submissions proposing to draw inspiration and data and from a range of different sources.

Applications were assessed by a panel comprising Lawrence English, Lubi Thomas, Madeleine Flynn and Robin Fox, in consultation with the Director of the Allosphere, Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, who is Professor of Media Arts, Technology and Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

David Rogers has been selected as the inaugural Australia Council Allosphere resident. David plans to use the residency to develop the Interior Earth Interpreter (IEI), an interface which will utilise the Allosphere to produce visual and audio representations of seismic waves travelling through the interior of the earth.

David describes his project in these terms:

'Interior Earth Interpreter can be viewed as an early 21st Century expansion of the avant-garde music and sound art form of 'Musique Concréte'.

The IEI system processes seismic wave form data, and converts this data into audible sound frequencies which are then driven through a series of points displayed on the twin Alloshere hemisphere screens. These points represent the interior structure of inner earth and are coloured representing seismic velocity structure.

Inside the Allosphere, the viewer stands at the centre looking towards the surface of the earth and experiences the sound of earthquakes travelling through the earth as they trigger and alter the colour and brightness hue of a series of visual points mapped across the hemisphere screens.

The sounds are produced by considering each of these seismic structure points as sources of sound. Pitch of sound is related to the frequency of motion and volume is determined by amplitude of seismic motion.'

David’s proposal also flagged a number of potential outcomes for this work beyond the specific Allosphere site, including small scale versions for cinema.

Both the Music Board and Inter-Arts Office are pleased to be supporting this initiative and look forward with great interest and curiosity to both the final outcomes of this residency and  evaluating its future potential.

Paul Mason
Director, Music

Successful applicants

Rogers, David (NSW) - $20,000
Development of the Interior Earth Interpreter (IEI), a seismic sound and visualisation interface for the AlloSphere.

Funding statistics

Applications received: 13
Applications funded: 1
8% success rate
Amount requested: $260,000
Amount approved: $20,000

The following Board members and industry representatives provided input into the assessment process:

  • Lawrence English (Qld)
  • Lubi Thomas (Qld)
  • Madeleine Flynn (Vic)
  • Robin Fox (Vic)

Australia Council staff:

  • Paul Mason, Director, Music
  • Morwenna Collett, Program Manager, Music
  • Andy Rantzen, Program Officer, Music
  • Lia Kemp, Section Coordinator, Music
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