- The Electroacoustic Music Studies Network
This issue of Leonardo features an article by Ben Syverson of critical artware, the first winner of the Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence. I offer here a brief history of the Electroacoustic Music Studies (EMS) Network to place the award in context. The EMS Network was organized to fill an important gap in the field of electroacoustic music, namely to foster better understanding of the various manifestations of electroacoustic music. EMS aims to promote and encourage musical studies on electroacoustic music and to provide a regular framework for discussion and diffusion of the results. Areas related to the study of electroacoustic music range from the musicological to more interdisciplinary approaches, from studies concerning the impact of technology on musical creativity to the investigation of the ubiquitous nature of electroacoustic sounds today. The choice to call the organization a network is of fundamental importance to our mission, as one of our goals is to make relevant initiatives more widely available.
Leigh Landy, of De Montfort University's Music, Technology and Research Centre (Leicester, U.K.), and I began the EMS Network to create a recognized platform for sharing scholarship in the field of electroacoustic music. The creation of a bilingual conference specifically focused on relevant areas seemed to us a logical first step in creating such a platform. We proposed a meeting that became part of Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique's (IRCAM) Résonances conference in 2003, entitled "Electroacoustic Musics: A Century of Innovation Involving Sound and Technology—resources, discourse, analytical tools." This became the first EMS Network event, albeit prior to the actual launch of the EMS Network. Subsequent to this event, we were joined by Daniel Teruggi of the Groupe de Recherches Musicale de l'Institut National de l'Audio-visuel (INA/GRM). Since then the network has grown to such a point that annual conferences are now scheduled through 2011.
Leonardo/OLATS has established a collaboration with the EMS Network to give an annual Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence for the best contributions to the EMS conference by emerging researchers, as decided by a joint jury. The 2006 conference was the first occurrence of this award, given to critical artware for the presentation of their project likn. Although the main theme of the 2006 conference was language and terminology, this was not the only topic discussed. Indeed, critical artware's contribution was based on a rather different topic, as reflected in the paper's original title, "likn: A Flexible Platform for Information and Metadata Exchange." Conceived as an artwork and a sharp critical approach to Internet communication, the contribution stood out by virtue of its theoretical context and convincing implementation. As critical artware puts it:
likn is an artware application about the nature of knowledge, ideas, and language in the globalizing era. More specifically, likn is a functional on-line collaborative environment that wages a persistent critique of the desire to standardize and universalize meaning, and offers an alternative by applying postmodern and postcolonial theories to the challenge of organizing discourse and media.
The Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence jury, consisting of Kenneth Fields, Ricardo Dal Farra, and me, hopes that the paper presented here by Ben Syverson on behalf of critical artware marks the beginning of a distinguished list of Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence winners. [End Page 418]
Musicologie, Informatique et Nouvelles Technologies
University of Paris IV-Sorbonne