2. Is the sky local?

Innovation starts on a small scale - in labs and educational institutes, and through visionary individuals. What they have in common is their place at the foundation of initiatives that aim to radically change the course of music history. Not every idea or experiment reaches the wider public. Many disappear off the radar somewhere between concept and end product. Just by looking at the role of electronic music in our society, it is an incontestable fact that there is a huge contribution from educational institutes and the innovative technological sector. A visionary is characterised by his ability to see beyond the horizon. And it is typical of a start-up that it aims to distribute the visionary’s product worldwide. The wish to give a new concept the widest possible reach is what motivates nearly all makers and producers. Electronic music began in a small number of studios. The most popular type, reflected in the dance culture, is big business and spread all over the world. Also in advertising, films and studios (to name but a few examples), it is unimaginable that no use should be made of technology developed in laboratories.

However, reaching a wide public is by no means the only yardstick of the quality of innovation. In the first place, innovation in computer music is approached from a technological perspective. In a changing society, innovation can also be understood to mean the application of products in different contexts and cultures. The essence of innovation, after all, is to break with existing rules and develop new ones. The economic crisis, climate change and other determining developments have a great influence on our ideas about the concept of innovation. Concepts like sustainability and social responsibility play an important role in the cultural and technological debate. Especially for ICMC 2016, HKU will develop a project in a working-class district of Utrecht, where composers and (sound) artists will take up temporary residence, in order to develop projects together with local residents. One interesting aspect of these districts is that they are usually multicultural. The principle behind Is the Sky Local? is the challenge of becoming embedded in the society at grass roots level and engaging with residents to produce original and often multicultural projects.


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