Pen Arts
27 February - 1 March 2015, Plymouth University, UK
Celebrating ten years of musical innovation
   

"In every sense, a memorable weekend."
The Telegraph

"The festival teems with compositional creativity."
New Statesman

"One of the UK’s most innovative festivals of contemporary music."
The Sampler

"It's enough to make Beethoven roll over in his grave."
Daily Mail

"Firmly establishing itself as an important platform in the UK for new music."
Seen and Heard International

"Anyone complaining that classical music is boring clearly needs to take a trip to Plymouth."
Sinfini Music


Festival Directors:
Simon Ible, Director of Music, Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University
Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor of Computer Music, Plymouth University
BioMusic: Music at the Cutting Edge of Science and Creativity is the theme of the 2015 festival.
Promoted in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research

Programme:

10th Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, PACMF2015
BioMusic: Music at the Leading Edge of Science and Creativity

 

Friday 27 February
SYMPOSIUM
10:00-16:00
Rolle 605
BioMusic Symposium: Interfacing Brain, Music, and Emotions
Free event. Limited spaces available. Registration is required.

[click here to register]

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  • A brain-computer interface is a system that enables one to control devices, such as a wheelchair, artificial limbs or a musical instrument, using brain signals detected by means of sensors. The BioMusic Symposium is aimed at discussing the state of the art in field of brain-computer music interfacing abbreviated as BCMI. Scientists from the EPSRC-funded project ‘Brain-Computer Music Interface for Monitoring and Inducing Affective States’ join musicians and invited experts to review methods for analysis and monitoring of bio-information associated to emotions, and techniques for generating music with a BCMI system aimed at inducing specific emotions on listeners. Hands-on demonstrations will be presented to illustrate the talks.

    For more information about the project, please refer to its website: bcmi-midas@ICCMR

    [CLICK HERE FOR THE SYMPOSIUM PROGRAMME]


FESTIVAL LAUNCH
18:00
Foyer, The House

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  • Festival directors Simon Ible and Eduardo Reck Miranda introduce this years festival from the Foyer of the new performing arts centre, The House, located behind the Roland Levinsky Building off North Hill.


INSTALLATION
19:00 (introduction)
19:30 (performance)
Foyer, The House
Unfolding|Clusters (Visi, Dothel, Williams)

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  • An installation by Frederico Visi, Giovanni Dothel and Duncan Williams

    Unfolding | Clusters is an immersive audio-visual installation demonstrating biomolecular processes associated with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurones.

    This work was first presented at UCLA’s Art|Sci Center in Los Angeles, USA, and is kindly supported a Santander Postgraduate Internationalisation Scholarship. It results from an international collaboration involving the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Department of Medical Science and Surgery, University of Bologna, Italy, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), Plymouth University.

    Related research paper:

    Visi F et al. (2014). Unfolding | Clusters: A Music and Visual Media Model of ALS Pathophysiology. To appear in Proceedings of SoniHED - Conference on Sonification of Health and Environmental Data, York, UK. [PDF]



Saturday 28 February

FILM
15:00 (introduction)
15:30 (performance)
Jill Cragie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building
The Creeping Garden (Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp)

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  • A film by Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp

    The Creeping Garden explores the extraordinary world of the plasmodial slime mould and the diverse and bizarre research that it inspires.

    Slime moulds are truly curious organisms: they are not plants, animals or fungi. But they share certain behaviours with members of all of these kingdoms.

    As well as stunning original time-lapse footage of these overlooked organisms, filmed within its natural habitat and in a controlled laboratory setting, the film features interviews with artists, researchers and scientists to explore ideas of biological-inspired design, unconventional computing and scientific modeling, including the research into biocomputer music developed at Plymouth University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR).

    The Creeping Garden is a must to catch a glimpse of the work behind Eduardo Reck Miranda’s composition Biocomputer Music, featured on Sunday’s Research Concert, which uses a biocomputer based on slime mould.

    The Creeping Garden website: www.creepinggarden.com


INSTALLATION
17:00 (performance)
Foyer, The House
Unfolding|Clusters (Visi, Dothel, Williams)

(read more) (close)

  • An installation by Frederico Visi, Giovanni Dothel and Duncan Williams

    Unfolding | Clusters is an immersive audio-visual installation demonstrating biomolecular processes associated with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurones.

    This work was first presented at UCLA’s Art|Sci Center in Los Angeles, USA, and is kindly supported a Santander Postgraduate Internationalisation Scholarship. It results from an international collaboration involving the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Department of Medical Science and Surgery, University of Bologna, Italy, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), Plymouth University.

    Related research paper:

    Visi F et al. (2014). Unfolding | Clusters: A Music and Visual Media Model of ALS Pathophysiology. To appear in Proceedings of SoniHED - Conference on Sonification of Health and Environmental Data, York, UK. [PDF]


GALA CONCERT
19:30
Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building
Corpus Callosum (Miranda),
Orchestral Processing Unit (Kirke)

The Hidden Sea (Sala Casanova)
DNA (Baltas)

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  • Ten Tors Orchestra
  • Simon Ible, Conductor

  • Eduardo Reck Miranda: Corpus Callosum
    This composition stems from the composer’s longstanding fascination with the brain and the musical mind.

    Corpus callosum is the part of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres and facilitates communication between them. The ensemble is divided into two groups on the stage, one placed on the left side of the stage and the other on the right side. The group on the left side represents the left hemisphere of the brain, and the group on the right side represents the right hemisphere. The piece develops as a dialogue between these two realms. During the performance, a video by Norwegian video artist Ellen Røed accompanies the music with pictorial renderings of brain scanning data.

    Corpus Callosum involved the assistance of a number of partners in the USA, France and Norway. The brain scans were taken at New York University with the assistance of Zoran Josipovic and Dan Lloyd. Software for computer-aided composition was developed with Duncan Williams at ICCMR in Plymouth and Anders Vinjar at NOTAM (Norwegian Centre for Technology in Music and the Arts) in Oslo, with support from PNEK (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway). Software for converting brain scans into music was developed with Philippe Esling at IRCAM (Institute for Research in Acoustics and Music) in Paris.

    Related research paper:

    Miranda ER (2014). Computer-Aided Musical Imagination. Chapter 6 in Light, Image, Imagination, M Blassnigg (Ed.). Amsterdam University Press. [PDF]

    Alexis Kirke: Orchestral Processing Unit

    This is a 15 minute performance by musicians who act as biological processing elements creating a computer whose calculations are done live by classical music.

    The “silicon chips” at the heart of our computers are made up of billions of metallic elements. Tiny electrical currents flow between these elements as processing is done. In Orchestral Processing Unit a simple “musical chip” is created, replacing these metal elements with people. And rather than electrical currents, musical melodies are used to specify and do calculations live on stage.  It is a calculator embedded in a chamber orchestra, but not only can the audience hear, and see the calculations emerging in real-time, they can feel them.

    Each part of a computation is represented by a melody of a few seconds long. The melodies are chosen by the composer and input to, and output from, the orchestra via the piano. Because it is a thousand billion times slower and a hundred million times larger than a real silicon chip, one orchestra can only do simple calculations. In this performance it will be adding two small numbers.

    The piece has three sections. The first is a fixed score and demonstrates the musical logic circuits. The second is the live calculation, whose two inputs will only be revealed to the conductor the day before the performance. The third is a calculation designed purely for its aesthetic value.

    Related research paper:

    Kirke A et al. (2014). Pulse Melodic Affective Processing: Musical structures for increasing transparency in emotional computation. Simulation: Transactions of the Society for Modeling and Simulation International, 90(5):606-622. [PDF]

    Anandi Sala Casanova: The Hidden Sea

    The Hidden Sea is a piece for string ensemble written in an exploration of Organic Minimalism, a concept that springs from Anandi’s love of Minimalism and passion for nature. The piece aims to make the music sound more natural and alive. As a result, the musicians and the listeners are able to follow a musical evolution while still having the experience of being suspended in time, an effect achieved by keeping certain elements of stasis throughout the composition.

    The mysterious and melancholic music was inspired by various experiences and memories of the Plymouth Hoe sea front: musical swells recall the waves and contrasting dynamic levels reflect both calm and agitated states of the sea.

    Anandi is a young Catalan composer, born and raised in Sound India, who has recently graduated with a BA in Music at PlymouthUniversity.

    Linas Baltas: DNA

    DNA is a new piece inspired by the structure of chromosomes in DNA. In this piece the composer puts into practice a composition method of his own devising whereby the geometric properties of DNA structures are translated into harmonic sequences.

    Linas Baltas is a composer from Lithuania, currently based in Plymouth.



Sunday 1 March

INSTALLATION
14:00 (performance)
Foyer, The House
Unfolding|Clusters (Visi, Dothel, Williams)

(read more) (close)

  • An installation by Frederico Visi, Giovanni Dothel and Duncan Williams

    Unfolding | Clusters is an immersive audio-visual installation demonstrating biomolecular processes associated with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurones.

    This work was first presented at UCLA’s Art|Sci Center in Los Angeles, USA, and is kindly supported a Santander Postgraduate Internationalisation Scholarship. It results from an international collaboration involving the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Department of Medical Science and Surgery, University of Bologna, Italy, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), Plymouth University.

    Related research paper:

    Visi F et al. (2014). Unfolding | Clusters: A Music and Visual Media Model of ALS Pathophysiology. To appear in Proceedings of SoniHED - Conference on Sonification of Health and Environmental Data, York, UK. [PDF]


RESEARCH CONCERT
16:00
Various, meeting point Roland Levinsky Foyer
BioComputer Music (Miranda)
Fast Travel (Kirke)
Piano:Forest (McInerney & Lewin)

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  • Biocomputer Music
    By Eduardo Reck Miranda
    Performed by the composer with the assistance of Edward Braund
    For prepared piano and biocomputer

    BioComputer Music is an experimental one-piano duet for a pianist and a biocomputer.

    The biocomputer listens to the pianist and generates musical responses in real-time. It plays the piano through electromagnets that sets the strings into vibration, producing a distinctive timbre.

    The biocomputer is an innovative computing device based on slime mould built in collaboration with Edward Braund at Plymouth University’s ICCMR. Slime moulds are truly curious organisms: they are not plants, animals or fungi. But they share certain behaviours with members of all of these kingdoms. ICCMR researchers are developing methods to harness the behaviour of these organisms in order to perform computational tasks.

    Related research paper:

    Braund, E., and Miranda, E. R. (2014). "Unconventional Computing and Music", Proceedings of the 9th Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology – CIM14. Berlin, Germany. [PDF]

    Fast Travel
    By Alexis Kirke
    Performed by Katherine Williams
    For saxophone and electronics

    Fast Travel stems from a research project being developed at ICCMR in collaboration with University of St Andrews in Scotland and University of Queensland in Australia, which is funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The objective of the project is to model the development of song repertoires by humpback whales, using computer music models informed by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    Artificially intelligent models of whales will swim in an invisible virtual sea encompassing the audience and a saxophonist. As the whales swim, they move between speakers, and the schools will sing to each other electronically, based on what they hear in this sea. The live saxophone will play over the ghostly artificial whale song and will also be audible to the whales, influencing their singing.

    Related research paper:

    Kirke, A., Freeman, S., Miranda, E. and Ingram, S. (2011). “Application of Multi-Agent Whale Modelling to an Interactive Saxophone and Whale Duet”, Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference (ICMC 2011), Huddersfield (UK). [PDF]

    Piano:Forest
    By Mike McInerney & Shaun Lewin
    Performed by the composers
    For piano and live data

    Piano:Forest is a collection of movements for piano and live data in which data derived from forested landscapes are used to generate flows of audio-visual material that contains elements both of manipulated field recording and structural abstractions of these datasets.

    The live piano material engages with these data flows by applying their patterns to performance parameters such as tessitura, pitches, density, duration, loudness and chord formation. The synthesis of these elements and their playback into the auditorium constitutes the primary production of the piece, creating a metaphorical ecosystem. As with all stable ecosystems, Piano:Forest recycles its primary production, some material being retained as structural ‘biomass’, some returning to the ground as a highly consolidated material and some becoming highly disaggregated sound particles that will be gradually leached out of the system.



Directions:

PACMF2015 will take place in The House - Plymouth University's new performing arts centre.

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Previous years: PACMF2014
Previous years: PACMF2013
Previous years: 2012 and earlier