2009 Spark Festival of Electronic Music [us Minneapolis]

sparkbanner09.jpgUniversity of Minnesota West Bank Arts Quarter In partnership with the American Composers Forum Call for Works: 2009 Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts :: February 17 – 22, 2009 :: Minneapolis, MN :: Submission Deadline: October 31, 2008.

Now in its seventh year, the Spark Festival invites submissions of art, dance, theater, and music works incorporating new media, including electroacoustic concert music, experimental electronica, theatrical and dance works, installations, kinetic sculpture, artbots, video, and other non- traditional genres. Although Spark does not force submissions to adhere to a annual theme, we are especially interested this year to feature wearable and mobile technologies, and events will include the first Spark Fashion Show.

Spark also invites submission of scholarly lectures and panel proposals on topics of Collaborative Arts, Interactivity, Cognition, Compositional and Artistic Process, Social and Ethical Issues in the Arts, Art, Music, Video, Film, Animation, Theater, Dance, Innovative Use of Technology in Education, Scientific Visualization, Virtual Reality, intermedia composition, performance, human-computer interaction, software/hardware development, aesthetics, and history and all topics related to the creation of new media art and music.

All accepted papers will be published as part of the Spark proceedings.

Music submissions will be accepted in seven categories:

1. Concert Hall works: Interactive works for acoustic instruments and electroacoustics (performance forces are available, TBA) and electroacoustic works with and without performers. Performance venues will accommodate 2-8 channel works and works with video. Although there is no strict limit of duration, pieces of fifteen minutes or less are strongly encouraged. This year, Spark encourages submissions of works for electronics with one of the following solo instruments: trumpet, tenor (voice), percussion (marimba especially), or violin. Additionally, the Renegade Ensemble, a local ensemble consisting of 2 percussion, 2 piano, clarinet (Bb, bass, etc), mezzo-soprano, cello and flute will perform several works. Other instruments and ensembles are possible. And, as always, bringing one’s own performer(s) is highly encouraged. Note: Although some “tape music” will be programmed, Spark generally favors works with live performers or other visual component. Some accepted “tape” works may be choreographed. Please indicate if you do not wish to be considered for this.

2. Pub/Club works (aka Spark Nightlife): Experimental electronic performances in a “club-style” venue. Performers of various styles will be considered, including those influenced by IDM, hip-hop, glitch, jazz, etc. Selected performers will be given sets of 15-45 minutes. Performance venue will accommodate stereo sound and video. Please note that this venue is literally a pub. It will be a loud place. If your work requires a quiet atmosphere, please submit under the Concert Hall or Ambient Room category.

3. Ambient Room works (aka Nightlife / Ambient): Experimental electronic performances in a coffeehouse or club lounge venue. Works of any aesthetic approach are welcome, but ought to be “quiet” music. Please note that this venue will be a public establishment, not a concert hall, and thus listeners may converse during performances.

4. Installations: [See “Art Works” above]

5. Music with video [See “Art Works” above for general parameters, but also note that this year we ask submitters to specify whether the work is a video piece or a music video piece and these will be judged by separate juries.] Music with Video may also be submitted in either the Nightlife category or Nightlife / Ambient category.

6. Special Submission Category: “Homemade” instruments showcase. We encourage submission of proposals for short (15 minute) talk/ performances to explain and demonstrate custom-made instruments. These presentations will happen in lieu of one or more daytime concerts. If the instrument is an item of clothing or otherwise mobile, please consider submitting under the Spark Fashion category (above).

7. Guerilla-style works/performances: See #2 in Dance / Theater, above.

PAPERS/TALKS/PANELS: Technical papers, lecture/demonstrations, panels, and workshop submissions that deal with topics relating to creating arts and music with new technology are encouraged, including discussions of ideas and technology related to works submitted for performance at Spark 2009, as well as topics of Collaborative Arts, Interactivity, Aesthetics, History, Cognition, Compositional and Artistic Process, Innovative Use of Technology in Education, Social and Ethical Issues in the Arts, Art, Music, Video, Film, Animation, Theater, Dance, Scientific Visualization, Virtual Reality, Intermedia Composition, Performance, Human- Computer interaction, Software / Hardware Development. For Spark 2009, we are particularly interested in papers discussing custom-made instruments and wearable / mobile creations; but submissions on other topics are welcome. All accepted authors must attend to present their lectures.

Submissions should consist of a 1-2 page abstract with bibliography. Where appropriate, camera-ready papers will be due on December 10, 2008.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Applicants are invited to submit one work per category in up to three categories for consideration. All applicants must complete an online submission form on the Spark Festival website and include their submission number(s) with any physical media sent via postal mail. Applicants are strongly encouraged to post submission materials to their own websites or other online media resources (e.g. YouTube, FreeSound) and submit a URL with the online form, rather than sending via post (Spark does not accept submissions as email attachments). This will greatly help the Spark juries view submissions and make decisions in the most timely fashion. The submissions website is here. The online submission system will be opened on Thursday, Oct. 9. Music submissions for multichannel (more than stereo) speaker configuration should be submitted as a stereo mix.

Regarding music and other performance works: Performing resources will be drawn from the University of Minnesota and Twin Cities area musicians. However, Spark has only a small budget for this purpose, and availability of musicians will be taken into consideration when selecting works. Therefore applicants are encouraged to bring their own performers when possible. More information about available performers will be posted on when known.

Composers and artists whose works are selected for inclusion are strongly encouraged to attend the festival. Scholars whose papers, talks, demonstrations, or panels are accepted will be required to attend Spark to deliver their presentation. Spark is also looking for works that fit into the “Twin Cities Showcase Concerts” that happen as the introduction to the festival. To be considered for these events, please indicate in the comments section of the online application that you are a Twin Cities artist interested in this category.

Please note that Spark requires documentation of work in order for it to be selected. Spark does not program works from proposals or descriptions of works in-progress, without exception. (For a complete music work that has not yet been premiered, a MIDI realization is acceptable.) Also note that, regretfully, Spark does not have financial resources to fund selected artists.

TECHNICAL DETAILS: Selected works will be announced by November 30, and travel and accommodations information will be posted on by the same date. If an artist requires notification information sooner (for funding applications, for instance), s/he should email sparkfst [at] to inquire about possible early notification.

Submission deadline is 11:59pm (PST), October 31 2008 (postmarked)

All submissions for Spark 2009 must be initiated via the online submissions procedure on the Spark 2009 website.

Materials not posted online can be mailed to:
American Composers Forum
c/o Spark Festival
332 Minnesota Street
Suite E-145
St. Paul, MN. 55101

Spark 2009 has been made possible by generous support from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and the American Composers Forum.

Oct 20, 2008
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