Network Music Festival

Sound without Borders // 15-18th July 2020

Go to Online Exhibition


General Interest Talks will take place at Six Eight Kafé, 6/8 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5HG

Hosted by Luke Robert Mason, Director of the Virtual Futures Conference. Luke is a researcher in technology and Cyberculture and is currently based at the Centre for Fine Arts Research at the Birmingham School of Art.

The Talks are FREE to attend and open to the general public.

Ben Greenaway // An observation of events in network enabled shared spaces; 1996 to the present.

I first found myself asking about my sense of location while reading Mona Lisa Overdrive. The actual, as I now needed to call it, was about to become just one part of a hybrid composite constituting my real. Getting to something no longer meant going there and events which occurred in two or more places would be attended with ease. Alongside this connection and my involvement in remote locations and events there remained a remoteness and otherness to the places at which they occurred. This was something I thought a more perfected immersion would dissolve, but it hasn’t seemed that way for a while.
We remain attached to our occupied space however it is that we occupy it. The location is utterly irrelevant. What it feels like to be present when, “there’s no there, there,” is what it means to attend events without physical presence. The networked performance very easily behaves as a non-local phenomenon, one at which you are at once present and connected to everywhere. And it is in that sense, the sense of the performance’s population that we might try to develop more deeply another sense of location. One in which to explore distance with proximities.

Ben Greenaway has been a web developer and professional software writer for over 18 years. He collaborated on the first broadcast to cyberspace from the UK in 1996 and ran a series of experimental performance network events before leaving for California in 1999. There he worked for clients like Pixar, TZO, Sony Entertainment, AMX, Crestron, Search Optics and others in and around San Diego before moving to the Bay Area in 2010. He now lives in South London where he has been developing his consultancy and working on a project for schools and mentors and an AI notebook for iOS / Android. His most recent projects have been in eCommerce and the content management system Drupal though he continues to entertain a research interest in live streaming.

Scot Gresham-Lancaster (The HUB) // Discorporate and/or Embodied

A talk detailing the differences of style and content created by two very different network music performance scenarios. The first is performing in the same room with a local network and encompasses the interaction of the bodies of the player. The second is playing network music at a distance where the main contact with with the ear and the interaction is totally mediated by the transport layer that is chosen. Having worked in both contexts for decades now, the presenter will give an outline of the similarities and the marked differences that these two modes of network music interaction evoke. Techniques for working in these two types of performance modes will also be discussed. This includes the use of OSC, oscgroups, VLC streaming, Ustream, Skype, Twillio and other technologies. Synchronous and more social media oriented asynchronous techniques of interaction will be discussed.

Scot Gresham-Lancaster is a composer, performer, instrument builder and educator. Currently teaching Sound Design at ATEC UT Dallas, his recent work at IMéRA is in 2nd order sonification of data sets. As a member of the HUB, he is an early pioneers of “computer network music” and cellphone operas. He has created a series of “co-located” international Internet performances and worked developing audio for several games and interactive products. He is an expert in educational technology and techniques.

Nigel Morgan & Phil Legard // Musical Notation in an Increasingly Networked, Digital World

How might our established system of common musical notation adapt to our increasingly networked, digital world and in a field where music technology is often biased toward signal processing and manipulation of pre-recorded material? Nigel Morgan and Phil Legard survey ways in which network communications have changed the performance of notated musical works since the millennium.

In 2001-02 Nigel Morgan wrote two large-scale works for distributed ensembles over ISDN. How could three ensembles in distant locations successfully synchronise their performances (themselves each before a live audience) and also be brought together online for a virtual fourth performance? How did dealing with issues like distance and latency require new compositional strategies?

This work led on to the realisation of a number of ‘Active Notation’ systems in collaboration with Phil Legard, commencing in 2005. Active Notation is a philosophy in which common music notation is augmented by network and digital technology to investigate how notation, which was once ‘fixed’ to the printed page can be made more fluid and ‘active’.
Approaches to Active Notation include methods by which lengthy open-form scores can be coordinated within large ensembles (Self Portrait for variable ensemble, 2005). These include using networked page-turns and score orientation, and the use of networks to propagate re-scoring, re-organisation and markups,

In addition to this is the ‘fluid’ nature of an Active score – not only in the way that pages can be marked up and distributed, but in the potential to re-score the work and to look beyond the notes into the underlying structure and creative narrative of a work.

This talk will further examine some of the ways that providing access to a ‘poietic’ narrative can underpin the rehearsal and performance practice of such a networked piece.

Nigel Morgan is a composer working at the heart of contemporary concert music in the UK. His current worklist of some 90 compositions includes many commissioned works in orchestral, chamber, vocal and digital media categories.
He has been a co-developer of the Symbolic Composer software for Macintosh since 1990 and is a member the research team of the Future Music Lab at Plymouth University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research.
His music celebrates and re-invents many of the aspects of Renaissance and Baroque music whilst integrating novel features of open-form and computer-aided algorithmic composition.

Phil Legard is a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University’s School of Film, Music and Performing Arts. He works across a broad spectrum of creative technologies: in particular with music and graphics that explore an imaginative response to natural environments.
As a programmer and developer he has worked closely with Nigel Morgan on his series of Active Notation scores as well as assisting the composer in establishing a comprehensive digital archive of his work.

Phil Legard // Sound as Augmented Reality

A disembodied voice has called you across the fields to edge of a typically English country churchyard. Passing through the gate, you hear a chattering above you. The sound of birds? No – these voices seem to come from stone throats: the whispers of the gargoyles observing their new visitor. “Hurry,” implores the voice. “Walk around the church three times. You must set me free!”

This is the opening scenario for a work of locative dramaturgy based at a semi-rural, semi-industrial site in West Yorkshire, currently undergoing initial planning. Using headphones and a smart phone, users will be compelled to experience a landscape in an entirely new way: restructured through the tools of geolocation, binaural sound and imaginative artistic curation.

This talk focuses on the work leading up to this project and developing philosophies relating to embodied sound and narratives. In an age of ‘database society’ and high-speed mobile networks we find there is a darker side to our ability to instantly access data and be persistently connected to our favoured networks: a diffusion of both attention and ‘consciousness’. It often feels that – in spite of our apparent advances in knowledge and technology – our frame of reference for relating with the world is diminishing from a universal scope to that of a 4-inch screen in our pockets.

In such a situation, could embodied narratives provide a differential technological development to re-connect us with our environments? My developing philosophy for mobile media is to take the eyes away from the screen and concentrate upon the evocative nature of sound as augment reality: to make people look and think again about their environments. The development locative media for Almias (, Holbeck Audiowalk and LOAM would be discussed as case studies in a dialogue between art, technology and geography.

Phil Legard is a lecturer with the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Metropolitan University. As well as part of the interdisciplinary Textiles and Music Interact group, his main research focuses on the intersection of sonic art, oral history and locative media. He is currently working with oral historian Simon Bradley on LOAM (Locative Oral/Audio Media): a platform for oral historians to present their work as locative audio. Further to this, Phil is investigating the platform as a potential way to deliver immersive locative dramaturgy.