WSK is a decade-old platform that aims to deconstruct the different notion of how art, music, technology, and culture can intersect and be consumed through different mediums and creative processes. This year’s edition will take place from October 15 to October 28, with cross-border collaborations, interdisciplinary mutations, and multisensory raves across multiple indoor and outdoor locations in Metro Manila.
WSK X will feature over 40 artists in 13 days:
Evening Concerts, Art Residencies, Exhibitions, Workshops, Symposium, Panels, Club Nights, Print and Zine Fair, Indie Music Label Fair, Music Makers Hacklabs, Film Screenings, Public Talks, Gangan Series.
Bryan Day, photo by Dan Scotti
Launched in 2008 as Fete de la musique WSK, rebranded as WSK Festival Of The Recently Possible in 2013, the festival explores the diverse range of cross-disciplinary artistic activities in the context of digital culture and performance, with focus in collaborative projects between the Philippines, South East Asia, and beyond. The name is derived from the motto: “Art is not a mirror, it is a hammer.”
It aims to blur, deconstruct, and reimagine the preconceived notions of how art, culture, and technology diverge, merge, and work together. WSK evolved to be the longest running arts and technology festival in the Philippines and has been nourishing communities of loose experimental art collectives.
It is organized by SABAW Media Art Kitchen, a not-for-profit artist-run initiative whose primary interests lie in curatorial and research-based production towards the imminent intersections of art and technology. The festival primarily runs on a Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together ethic and is mostly self-funded, with partial funding support from cultural organizations.
WSK is celebrating its 10th Year Edition of the festival and it contemplates itself in the context of sound, media and contemporary art histories in Philippines. This edition presents the overview of the intersections of art and technology in Manila and the reasons, issues and challenges the platform has faced in its decade of existence through a variety of programs.
WSK X is featuring a joint programme through their biggest partnership yet with Nusasonic, a multi-year international project that plunges into a broad spectrum of experimental sound and music cultures in Southeast Asia. Together with YES NO KLUB (Yogyakarta), WSK Festival of The Recently Possible (Manila), Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore), CTM Festival (Berlin), and Goethe-Institut Indonesien, they will be enabling dialogue and praxis not only within the region but also across Europe.
WSK X: what to expect
The MusicMakers Hacklab (October 16 – 23) is an open, collaborative laboratory, hosted by Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music together with a changing cast of collaborators and organised by CTM Festival together with various partners from the fields of culture, music and technology, such as Ableton and Native Instruments. Each Musicmakers Hacklab creates a unique platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange and inspiration, allowing practitioners from a range of disciplines to create and play, and to find new ways of exploring the current and future potentials that lie in interfacing music with technology and other fields of practise.
For each Hacklab edition, a thematic open call encourages artists/performers, scientists, developers and experimenters to submit project ideas to become Hacklab Fellows. The selected Hacklab participants will collaborate, learning and working with master artists and technologists, and build and develop new concepts, systems, and instruments that refer to the current theme. Their creations are subsequently presented in a final public showcase, typically on the Hacklab’s closing day.
Sine Wave Orchestra, “Stay” (2017, JP): an interactive sound installation that investigates sonic perception in an ever-evolving exhibition through audience participation.
Each visitor is given a small device which can play a sine wave, chooses its frequency, and positions it at a location on one of the 49 spiral-shaped columns of copper wire that are arranged in a grid in the exhibition space. These sine waves remain audible for the rest of the exhibition period, which means that the sound field – starting with absolute silence at the beginning of the exhibition – gets increasingly complex with every single visitor’s contribution towards the end of the exhibition. It is thus a collective performance, creating a work that continues to change while revealing different sonic qualities depending on the listening point, and number and position of device being installed.
WSK X RetroSpectivity: an interactive library, retrospective multimedia show documenting 10+ years of media art in the Philippines.
Public workshops from DIY electronics to 16mm handprinting
SOUNDTABLE – Sound Art For Dummies, WSK (PH), October 17. The workshop begins by rapidly tracing the evolution of artistic and music theory as inspired by sounds found in the physical world, exploring its various manifestations over the last 100 years through musique concrète in the 60-70s to “found sounds” in modern music production to the incorporation of “noise” in sound design. Building from this, the workshop will then provide a taste to participants of how the DIY culture in the fields of engineering and sound design are influencing the creation of minimalist yet highly engaging music devices through a simple circuit assembly and soldering exercise where participants will aim to complete then take home a special edition WSK 8-bit mixtape pocket synthesizer. The workshop then culminates with a group exercise where, incorporating the theory and application dimensions of the previous sections of the workshop, participants will work together on specially-made soundtables—a modular table equipped with contact mics, holes, and built in effects—to assemble a tableau of sound making contraptions using prepared items and/or any items at the participants’ disposal. The workshop ends with a group performance that will be orchestrated via motion graphic score performed by an audience-participatory noise orchestra.
FILM WORKSHOP by Makino Takashi and Rei Hayama (Japan) – October 21-23: this special program features two of the innovative pioneers of live cinema and multimedia performances. The first program is presented as a collaborative result of the film workshop conducted by Japanese artists Makino Takashi and Rei Hayama. Through making collage, soundscape visualization, 3D image using 16 mm film and music, the aim is to maximize the sense of sight and hearing of the participants. The production process of manually touching the image itself, visualizing the soundscape, and simultaneously generating the image and sound, is a production experience that involves the physical sensation that could not be obtained only by handling digital data/digitized signals with a computer.
The results of the workshop will be used as materials through a live audio-visual performance in collaboration with WSK founder Tengal. The second part of the program features a completely new work by Manila’s iconoclastic and pioneering multimedia art groups since the 1980s: The Children Of Cathode Ray. (LIVE CINEMA – OPENING CONCERT, Thursday, October 24, 20:00-22:00, Hyundai Hall, Arete)
More public workshops to be announced!
BELIEVE YOUR SINE WAVE: The SINE WAVE – ORCHESTRA ARTIST TALK, October 16.
The SINE WAVE ORCHESTRA (SWO) is a project that works exclusively with sine waves that was launched in 2002 by Ken Furudate, Kazuhiro Jo, Daisuke Ishida and Mizuki Noguchi. ”The single sine waves, which the participants each play freely without a score or conductor, rise and intricately interfere with each other like thin strings, and ultimately create an ocean of sine waves.”
Feedback Forum 2019 October 22-24
WSK Feedback Forum functions as the platform’s foundational work, a necessary critical feedback mechanism, a means towards articulating practices and communities to encourage historiography and critique, in the hopes encouraging innovation and new directions.
The 2019 edition of the forum takes a critical look at both historic and contemporary sound cultures now in collaboration with Nusasonic Platform, with a particular focus in discrepancies of power and representation in worlds outside the West.
Through six different panel presentations and discussions, they will examine the aesthetics and politics of Philippine revolutionary music from turn of the last century Katipunan, to agit-folk and proletariat punk, to recent activist hiphop; they will unpack gendered artistic and musical expressions, institutional sexisms and racisms, as well as the tactics and networks we can tap to address or circumvent them; they will look back at composer-ethnomusicologist Jose Maceda and argue how noise and Pan-Filipinism was repurposed for the Marcosian state apparatus; they will compare the differences and similarities between experimental music and sound art scenes in Asia and Africa, and the representational and ethical implications of their promotion in Europe in the throes of political correctness and identity politics; the emergence and impact of grassroots electronic dance music from the slums and borderlands of Southeast Asia will be traced . The forum and topics addressed are poised to spark more conversation and research, to un-map the region in order to challenge new geographies and connections, building towards increased awareness and responsibilities in the aesthetic and political dimensions of sonic practice.
Featuring experimental video and film works from abstractions, 16mm experiments, cinegraphs, and video work from Asian filmmakers and visual artists.
Curated by Los Otros Film Collective in collaboration with WSK X Festival Of The Recently Possible – Schedule TBA.
The Gangan Series Workshop Lab, Thursday, October 24, 17:00-19:00, Arete Lobby.
It is an improviser and composer workshop which explores the potential of graphic scores and playing in medium/large ensembles.
Graphic scores open many possibilities: they enable composers to bypass classical pitch notation and at the same time still allow them to structure different parameters (like time, instrumentation, volume, pitch, sonic material, etc. etc.) in an alternative way. At the same time graphic scores leave a lot of room for interpretation.
Photo by Dan Scotti
In this workshop lab participants will first look at the history and also discuss current developments in the use of graphic score notation. Over the course of the week, participants will develop and work on WSK own strategies and notation systems that will culminate into a collaboratively composed new graphic score which will be performed with a selection of festival musicians.
The aim of this lab is that each of the participants can influx his ideas into the final score and results. This workshops aims at bringing together a diverse group with many different skill and experience levels and is open to visual and graphic artists, composers, programmers, live coders, musicologists, instrumentalists, electronic musicians, etc.
MUSICMAKERS HACKLAB, Friday, October 25, 20:00-22:00, Dulo (2nd floor) – Host: Peter Kirn, Tad Ermitano.
MusicMakers Hacklab participants have been inventing collaborative performances that propose ways in which music can be a speculative medium for sustainability at a time when we face now-inevitable shifts in the world’s politics and climate. Performance designs, circuits, code, and ideas will be put to the test in front of a live audience as a multidisciplinary group of creative performers share the work they’ve constructed over the course of the WSK festival week. Expect new work in live musical performance, movement, visuals, and surprises.
CONCURRENT SHOW: FREE IMPROV NIGHT Friday, October 25 22:00-00:00, the Ruins.
The idea of free form, free associative, free improvisation seems unwieldly and bound to entangle itself in the unrecognizable, yet there is order that emerges from what appears to be chaotic, an imagined unity urged into motion by the collaboration of fragmented objects that interact and intertwine, of sounds that work for and against each other, formlessness that begins to resemble form. Collaboration yields a communal totality, spontaneously configured by consonance and dissonance as events unfold in time.
AFK: PRINT AND ZINE FAIR, Saturday, October 26, 10:00-21:00, Outpost, Karrivin
A print and zine fair organized by Kwago, Comma and WSK to gather printmakers, authors, artists, hackers, and musicians in one place to celebrate print, art and the DIY movement.
Slang for the acronym “Away From Keyboard,” AFK is often used to tell a person online that you will leave the computer to do something in the physical realm. AFK is an invitation to be present and to enjoy the intimacy of DIWO (Doing-it-with-Others).
AUDIO TOUR, Sunday, October 27, MRT-LRT 1
Audio Tour is a stroll that would like to encourage the audience to open their ears to the soundscapes from the environment accompanied by the music played by the artist guide, and to invoke them to try to look at places as unique spaces that breathe and speak. Audio tour is a project and will be facilitated by Escuri.
PARADE, Sunday, October 27, Arroceros Forest Park.
Parade is a live sound performance event that takes place in random places and locations.
FLOATERS STAGE, Saturday, October 26, 16:30-18:00, Streets of Poblacion.
Simultaneous street performances and special collaboration at open and public spaces around Poblacion, Makati. Featuring Joee & I and her marching band parade the streets leading to Poblacion Church where a unique artist pairing championing lokal music from Indonesia and Visayas will present their new street dance music.
LABYRINTH, Thursday, October 24, 22:00-02:00, XX XX
Labyrinth is a display of the landscape being reworked, a celebration of the experimental spirit that hovers over the labyrinthine soundscape of contemporary electronic music.
WSK x ELEPHANT, Friday, October 25, 22:00-03:00, XX XX
Elephant is a celebration of Manila’s rave culture, a scene that disregards gender norms and sexual orientations, a party where the colorful and the outrageous collide in a space that proudly welcomes it.
WSK x NOISEBATH PH, Friday, October 25, 22:00-02:00, Limbo
WSK x Noisebath is a night of collaborative explorations of visceral, abysmal noise that which violates the eardrum and articulates its own overwhelming presence upon the body.
BISTRACK CONCERT, Saturday, October 26, 21:00-02:00, Futur:st
A showcase of the most cutting edge and exciting electronic musicians and DJs from the Visayas: Iloilo, Roxas City, Cebu performing alongside some of Manila’s top electronic musicians.
INDIE LABEL MEET-UP & BISTRACK ALBUM LAUNCH Saturday, October 26, 18:00-00:00, Dulo (1st floor)
The first of its kind, BISTRACK album launch, a curated collection of avant-garde and electronic sounds from sound artists and musicians across the Visayas, produced by Green Papaya Art Projects (MNL) and Pawn Records (CEB).
CONCURRENT SHOW: HIVE, Saturday, October 26, 22:00-03:00, Dulo (2nd floor)
Hive will be the locus of intersection for a variety of different hives, a site for exchange between independent bands and initiatives, a venue featuring performances by a number independent artists who work within the confines of the familiar yet are in continual pursuit of the new.
CLOSING CONCERT, Sunday, October 27, 19:00-21:30, Rajah Sulaiman Theater, Intramuros
FESTIVAL CLOSING PARTY, Sunday, October 27
After-party with dj performances
WSK X is supported by The Japan Foundation Asia Center Grant Program for Promotion of Cultural Collaboration and NUSASONIC platform.
Photo cover by Dan Scotti
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