‘Acousmatic Transcendence: A Feast of Diffusion’


‘Acousmatic Transcendence: A Feast of Diffusion’

Sound-Image-Space Research Centre, University of Kent, UK

Call for fixed media electroacoustic compositions


The MAAST (Music and Audio Arts Sound Theatre) will meet the Acousmonium from The Acousmatic Project / Vienna, for a feast of diffusion with more than 50 loudspeakers in the Mezzanine of Slip 3 at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent, UK

  •  Deadline for Submissions: 12 March 2015
  • Notification of acceptance:  13 April 2015
  • Dates of concerts: 14, 15 and 16 May 2015
  • Registration fee: None

Special guest: Jonty Harrison (will diffuse his own works and compositions by Denis Smalley)


We invite submissions of Fixed Media Electroacoustic works on any theme

++ Submission Format:

Submissions will be anonymous. No filename should include your name.

Preference will be given to those who will attend their concert to diffuse their compositions.

Create a zip file that contains the three following:

  1. A folder with your piece
  2. Programme notes
  3. Biography with an indication of attendance

Please email us download links to your zip file, using Dropbox or similar

Please email:  acousmatic.transcendence@gmail.com


  1. A folder with your piece:
  2. a) For stereo acousmatic works, please include your piece in wav format, 44.1 kHz, 24 bit (higher resolution files can be submitted after selection)
  3. b) For multichannel works please send a stereo reduction (format as above) and the audio files for the individual channels; name your files accordingly; FL=Front-Left, (C=Centre if used) FR=Front-Right, FSL=Front-Side-Left, FSR=Front-Side-Right, RSL=Rear-Side-Left, RSR=Rear-Side-Right, RL=Rear-Left, RR=Rear-Right. Works up to 8 channels are accepted.

2.  Programme notes (200 words max)

  1. Your biography (150 words max). This is the only file that will include your name in the text, and will be used to link works to composers after selection by the panel. At the end of your bibliography, PLEASE INDICATE WHETHER YOU WILL ATTEND YOUR CONCERT, IF SELECTED

Composers may submit one piece only. Preference will be given to works of durations less than 12 min, although longer works will be considered

Aki Pasoulas: Director of MAAST (Music & Audio Arts Sound Theatre)

Thomas Gorbach: Director of The Acousmatic Project Vienna




Michael-Lawton-TrentaMichael Lawton Trenta per Venticinque, installation view, Foto Vera Portatadino


Conversation with Michael Lawton

Vera Portatadino: Let’s start with the title of the show. All your paintings are the same size, and this size is 30 x 25 cm. Is there a specific reason for choosing this size? I remember you painting on a larger scale. Do you ever miss that? Do you ever find your 30 x 25 cm scale constraining?

Michael Lawton: Well I allow myself both orientations, so the paintings can either be 30 x 25 or 25 x 30, (though we’ve only shown those in the portrait format here,) and that gives me some scope, it was the reason I rejected a square as my size. To be honest, yes, I sometimes miss painting larger, but I console myself that my smaller work has almost always been better than my large work. Big work seems quite indulgent to me these days. And I can always go back, I’m not saying I painting the same size forever, just for now. Regarding this particular size; there are suggestive things about it for me; books, pages, things that obviously appeal to me as a writer. And it is a size that suggests more if that makes sense? More paintings, more subject, a world outside the frame. As to why I’ve done it; it started as a way out of painting, I got so sick of myself, wondering if I should write or paint, I thought ‘okay I will do one hundred paintings the same size, of anything I want, in any style I want, and see where that takes me.’ I’m now over halfway into that 100 and it has worked in that I know that I want to keep painting, but I’m sticking with the series for now. I feel some loyalty to it as it kept me painting. I guess that it was only two years ago that I realised I would probably be doing this for the rest of my life, painting that is, not necessarily painting the same size.

VP: Your paintings are between abstraction and figuration. You give access to the viewer but nonetheless you leave them with a puzzle to solve. This is something I am very much interested in because I also think there is no use in painting for ‘focal clarity’. In your essay “I Have No Use for the Truth”, you said ‘I am not interested in ‘psychological truth’; what exactly do you exactly mean by this? What do you define as a psychological truth? You go onto say that ‘Paintings can tell stories, reveal psychosis, capture sensation, evoke an atmosphere, but all of these endeavours should be abandoned if the painting demands it: If the painting could be taken somewhere more interesting.’ What is this ‘more interesting’? Can you tell me something more about it and about the kind of questions that you think art should tackle?

ML: I think I meant that I am not interested in painting done for the sake of ‘emotional truth.’ Be it a portrait that is supposed to ‘really get to the heart of the sitter,’ or an abstract that sums up an emotional state. I don’t really buy that. I might like paintings that are described as such, and that might be why the artist made them, what they think their work is about, but I judge it as a painting.

That’s what I was getting at in the second part of that paragraph. If you sit down at your work and start to make a painting about… I’m struggling to think of something… let’s say you have a photograph of a wasp’s nest, this is an abstract shape that I can see would make an interesting painting. Now when you are working on it, something suggests itself that would deviate from the structure in the photograph; some pink perhaps or a hand or sticking on a piece of plastic you found in the street; if the addition of which would make the painting better then it should be added. The painting is then reevaluated; its feel or mood is changed, it is suggestive of something else and the painting should be then taken in that direction. This is also why I say in the statement I don’t really care what makes someone paint; there is no hierarchy of subject matter. It isn’t better or more profound to make a painting about war than it is your pet dog, and nor doesn’t mean the painting will be better. Now these ideas of equivalence of subject matter are hardly radical but I can see how this might read as nihilistic. I don’t see it as such, I am just sure of the edges of what interests me in painting. And conversely I actually want to paint everything. And I am not saying paintings can’t or don’t evoke moods, that is what I am painting for, for that moment when I begin to sense something new and I head in that direction. That is why they are bewitching to make, and (when they are good,) to look at to.

VP: You talk about the unexpected and the beautiful as some kind of starting point, a seducing experience that prompts you to make new work. What do you mean by ‘the unexpected’?

ML: I think I meant that I like seeing new things within paintings, I don’t necessarily mean in painting as in material innovation, just feel there is something I haven’t seen before. This might actually be in fact a trick of composition, perhaps there is a way to resolve a painting compositionally so it always looks unexpected, it always jars?

In terms of my practice I’ve certainly read other painters say something like they paint until they end up somewhere they haven’t been before, and I think I am that kind of painter.

VP: And the beautiful (or the sexy) you talked about, after so many years it has been forbidden to talk about, do you think it’s time we revaluate the role of beauty in art and in the way we engage with reality? What power has ‘the beautiful’ in your mind, if there is any? I actually think the beautiful can be a lot more political than people think.

ML: I don’t know, that is a big question, and one that I am not sure I am interested in. I think that when I wrote that essay, which as you say was a while ago, I listed the beautiful and unexpected as things that make me stop and look at a painting: The more work you make, the more you see, you develop a kind of tunnel vision, you go and see shows, big and small, in artist run spaces, institutions and in art fairs, because you are hungry to see new things. And then you are walking around an art fair and you are surrounded by such a parade of shit that it is sort of out-of-focus, you don’t bother concentrating on it, but you do occasionally see things that you like, that you zoom in on, for me these are almost always paintings that I could either bracket as beautiful or unexpected. So I’m not referring to what I want to make here, but what I will stop to look at. I remember beautiful paintings I’ve seen.

VP: You are also a writer. Do you keep the two practices separated or somehow conceive one as part of the other? How do they interact if they do? What are the writers that you look at and find inspiring, and what are the painters? Do they have anything in common? You are currently doing a practice-based PhD at the University of Kent. What is the subject of your research and how do you feel about this experience? How is this influencing your new work?

ML: This last question or questions cover everything I think about. This is what I ask myself; do I view them separately or together? That is sort of what my PhD is about, or where it starts. How do they relate? Both ontologically and empirically. One way I have thought I might separate them is for me writing is about revealing things whereas painting is about hiding them. With my research I’m trying to write narratives that evoke the same feel as the painting. It is very early days yet so I’m not sure about it’s effect on my new work, I’m still getting into so to speak so can’t comment yet. As to painters and writers, I don’t know, I never know how to answer this question, I don’t like painters in the same way I like bands. When after hearing an album I like I will want to hear more by that band, I don’t search out paintings in that way or if I do it’s to look at them on the internet which is a prejudiced way to interact with paintings. So I judge paintings when I see them. It seems ungenerous not to name anything though, so I will say that I really like Uccello’s Battle of San Romano (the panel in the National Gallery, London.) I look at that a lot and will be focusing on it for my PhD. And looking over my shoulder at my bookshelves the first monographs I see are on Bruegel, Mondrian, Matisse, Motherwelll, Morandi and Wayne Thiebaud.

VP: I remember when you visited in November you were particularly taken with the top off of a bottle of water. I thought then that you would make a painting of it, is this the way it happens? You look at things, things that are often thought of as irrelevant in someone’s life, then let yourself be puzzled by them… think about them for a while, before you go back to your studio and actually make a painting. I imagine you going around with a lot of paintings ready in your head, ‘unexpected’ things… what then is the process to make them come to life? How do these images you collect, change once they become alive?

ML: Ha yes, I’ve made a painting of that bottle cap actually, its called ‘Geologist’, maybe we’ll put it in the show. Yes I do feel like that, that I carry paintings around in my head. The images are there, waiting to be exorcised into a painting, then I forget about them. But I don’t make a point of examining the quotidian in a special way to find ‘the magic’ in it, I am just interested in whatever interests me, and that includes everything.

I don’t think there is a process that I always follow, I mean some paintings take me a day, some I’ve worked on for 18 months, but leaving aside timescale there is a rough methodology that I follow. As I’ve often said each painting or its subject starts from a moment that for me slips a precise written definition. So I record these moments, in the manner that is most expeditious at the time; normally this will mean either a quick sketch or a photograph taken with my phone or both, though sometimes I am able to physically collect the stimuli. These photos / drawings / things are then taken to the studio, where I work on them further, making one or many drawings of them, working out what the formal qualities are that interest me, what I want to emphasise in the painting. These drawings are perfunctory, I consider them stepping-stones, rather than work in their own right. The painting process will often see the stimuli transfigured and transformed almost completely – the inspiration is lost (visually), but is sometimes alluded to in the title, a name that now seems deliberately obfuscating. As I said before when I’m painting if the work starts to suggest a different direction to the one I thought I was heading in I have no qualms about following it. I am trying to make something that intrigues me as much as the stimuli, though it might look completely different, I will keep painting until I reach somewhere unexpected.


Too Prolix: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Steve Klee

Untitled 3

24.01.15 > 01.02.15
Preview: Friday 23.01.15. 6-9pm
Gallery Open: Saturday – Sunday 1-6pm

The exhibition is one manifestation of a research project that draws inspiration from contemporary philosophy and its on-going struggle to define human agency with, or against, ‘material conditions’. The show includes video documentation of a performance, realised this summer. This piece took worker-disputes in British Royal Dockyards of the Eighteenth century as indicative of the wider social upheavals within Europe of that time. Was the exorbitant rhetoric of the dockyard workers, their prolixity, evidence of ‘Jacobean influence’? I thought so, and emphasised the workers’ evasion of their social destiny by having their words performed in the mannered gestural acting-style associated with the C18 elite. Every turn of the head or hand movement conveyed a meaning…

Untitled 5

Let’s shift the frame. What if rhetoric does not only perform but can touch the real, indexing matter? A matter not life-less in comparison with the excitements of human activity and intensity but rather one that deserves to be thought on the same ontological plane. Is the historical narrative of the break-up of the ancient-regime as much of an object as the appropriated museum mannequin I intend to exhibit?

Untitled 4

It would seem that rhetoric (representation), either as performance, or index is the key term; perhaps it is time to think through its definition once more…

Untitled 5

66 Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road London E8 4QN

The Inflatable Archive

The School of Music and Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of The Inflatable Archive, an exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery by two recent graduates of the School of Music and Fine Art. Claire Orme and Drew York are the recipients of the first inaugural Recreate Bursary awarded in celebration of the University of Kent’s 50th Anniversary. As part of the award, Claire and Drew have been given studio space for 4 months during the run-up to the exhibition, together with professional mentorship and practical support.

You are invited to the open reception of The Inflatable Archive on Thursday 22 January 2015, 6.30-8.30pm. No need to book just come along. The exhibition runs from the 23rd January – 21st March 2015

687dfd0a-5301-48fe-8b6f-1e6e46227580                   Treasure Maps, tracing paper and light by Claire Orme

“Everything in the world has its own spirit which can be released by                                         setting it into vibration.” Oskar Fischinger

For The Inflatable ArchiveDrew York aims to explore the relationship between sound and image in an immediate and visceral way. Centrally concerned with acoustic anthropology, York uses 3D printing technology as medium to the unseen dimension – bringing to light the forgotten sonic histories of our environment by realising sound as object. 

6f6268d2-5bf0-48f0-857e-c82a69fcc049           Submarine Wreck by Claire Orme

Claire Orme presents works that playfully explore the unexpected associations between the history of Kent, Ancient Egypt and British Music Hall. Weaving together Kentish folklore and ancient rituals, ghost stories and archaeology, music hall and sonic arts, Orme constructs an unorthodox narrative that is somehow suspended between the real and the imagined. This narrative is created through research materials, sculpture, drawings and sound.

Taking over the gallery and transforming it into an archival grotto, the artists will fill the space with curious artefacts that they have excavated from the ether.  Dismantling local chronologies and assembling new narratives, Orme & York will entwine past and present in an imagined reality.

Visit the project blog theinflatablearchive.com

0e8139eb-e572-4c67-99c4-575d2c2be48a                                                                                                                       Shells by Claire Orme

The exhibition forms part of SMFA’s ongoing partnership with Medway Council Arts development team through the Recreate project. Funded by INTERREG, the project brings together Universities and local authorities from across the south of England and in France. Recreate involves SMFA staff and students, who work closely with the local authority and arts organisations to establish creative hubs and extend student activities and opportunities into the local area.

This exhibition is supported by the School of Music and Fine Art; University of Kent, the European Union Recreate Bursary and Medway Council with objects kindly loaned by the Guildhall Museum.


Free Family Workshop – The Secret Museum Saturday, 28 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm or 1.30 – 3.30pm in the art gallery. Join Claire Orme and Drew York for an exploration of objects – discovering the secret stories and sounds within them. Create your own narratives, songs and artefacts and curate a mini museum of objects in the gallery. Places must be booked with the Arts Team. Suitable for all ages, ideal for accompanied children aged 7+.

Narrating the Archive Wednesday, 11 March, 7 – 9pm at The Guildhall Museum, Rochester. An experimentative workshop looking at the role of narrative in the archive. Suitable for students and adults. We regret this event is not accessible to wheelchair users. 

Free – just turn up.

Find us on facebook: Rochester Art Gallery & Craft Case

Rochester Art Gallery is situated within the Visitor Information Centre at 95 High St, Rochester Kent ME1 1LX. Open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays 10.30-5pm. Admission is free.

For more information about Rochester Art Gallery contact the arts team on 01634 338319 or email arts@medway.gov.uk or visit www.medway.gov.uk/arts or find us on facebook at Rochester Art Gallery & Craft Case.