Wednesday, 25 February 2009

'Dr Matt' at WOMADelaide

Matt Connell, whose current research includes the intergenerational DJ project , writes as he prepares to go to Australia to shadow the Kala Collective and Charity Shop DJ as they put on a venue at the WOMADelaide 'Sounds of the Planet 2009' festival in South Australia:

In the hopeful expectation that I'll be able to get on the decks at some point, I'm busy sorting out my tunes for a set at the Bombay Picture Palace at the WOMADelaide festival in Australia next week. This has involved recording a lot of vinyl to CD, through a laptop, because the recent heat wave in South Australia makes having a box of vinyl outdoors a high risk business. This recording process is something I’ve been meaning to get my head around for ages, because a lot of my rare ‘Asian Beats’ records are irreplaceable. This is an example of the way a potential gig like this forces one’s professional development, catalysing the effort to learn a new technological trick. I do use a CDJ deck, but up to now I’ve been pretty strictly an analogue kinda guy, so it’s been good to dip my toes more deeply into the digital waters. However, now instead of worrying about melting records, I’m worrying about whether airport X-rays mess with CDRs. Most chat forums say no, but a couple of people do report having their recordings scrambled, so it’s fingers crossed - and a Flash memory card backup in the bag!

I’m going to be learning a lot about the administration of a major art’s event – some of the paperwork I’ve been looking at is mind-boggling: from customs certification that traditional wooden instruments have been fumigated, to intricate Performing Rights legal declarations, insurance documentation and the dreaded Health and Safety bumf, the behind the scenes activity that goes into putting on an enjoyable festival in our totally administered world is enormous. For every punter letting their hair down, there seems to be two organisers pulling theirs’ out.

The Bombay Picture Palace venue where I’ll be based features an exhibition of original Bombay film hoardings, alongside a team of Indian artists painting a new one for the festival. This is a dying art, because nowadays digital poster production is eclipsing the tradition of painted advertisements. My family tree includes an Anglo-Indian root, so I’ve always been interested in the Audio-Visual cultures of the Asian diaspora. I’m really looking forward to interviewing the artists, and the team bringing the whole event together. I’ll try to make a post or two while I’m out there – but for now, it’s off to buy some factor 50 sunscreen….

(Photo credit: Clive Rowland)

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