Interview with the director of LIPM

An interview with Julio Viera, director of the Laboratory of Research and Musical Production of the Recoleta Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. March 1997.

JR: What is LIPM's objective?

JV: The objective of LIPM, on one side, as the name indicates, is research concerning electroacoustic music and music production. Including originally, one could say, this lab's origin in the era of the Di Tella Institute, or in other words, since the seventies. LIPM was in the Di Tella Institute and later was renovated by the municipality of Buenos Aires. At first we were in an old lab and then later that was renovated en the beginning of the 1980s. After, it was renovated contstantly from '80 to '90. Since '95, with the support and funding from an exchange program, we have returned to renovations and now here we are. This exchange project was finalized two years ago and right now has new projects ranging from research and production, which are the objectives of the lab, to "diffusion". We periodically have concerts given in the auditorium [of the Cultural Center] where not only do Argentine composers participate but also works authored by foreign composers--from Northamericans to Europeans to others in parts of Asia. Diffusion is another important perspective to the lab.

JR: How does one become a composer/researcher here?

JV: With respect to being a composer, people have come here--as in my own case--having had study in composition within non-electroacoustic music and later have acquired all the knowledge in the lab with respect to electroacoustic music. There are composers also that have entered in electroacoustic music with a base perhaps less within the study of electroacoustic music, yet also have developed en that aspect. I believe that it's important to note that the composers that have had a base in traditional music, in relation to composer that do not have that traditional foundation, they have composed a distinct type of work. I would even risk saying that the composers that have composed electroacoustic music coming from a background not as traditional are composers more exclusively electroacoustic.

With respect to becoming a researcher here, generally, when someone researches something it is because that composer already had knowledge about what is electroacoustic and come with some personal project regarding the research. One researches, of course, in accordance with what possiblities the lab offers in terms of machines and software-- but, if someone needs special software--for example a case right now where Francisco Kropfl and Miguel Calzón are trying to acquire software dedicated to a certain type of algorithmic composition, alot depends on the intentions of each composer and their knowledge of the theme.

JR: How many people work in LIPM?

JV: It varies. For the most part there are 9 composers in addition to those of us who are permanent, as with Francisco Kropfl and me. The majority of the 9 composer/researchers associated with the lab have participated in the exchange program between LIPM, Stanford University and the University of California at San Diego.

JR: What are some future projects or goals for the lab?

JV: We always have distinct projects to fulfill. Until 1995 we had the exchange program. In 1996, with the support of the National Fund for Fine Arts, the 9 composer/researchers I mentioned before, completed a project totally concerned with realizing works with real-time processing--a project that was important to the lab in terms of acquiring new equipment. I think the matter of real-time musical production affirms with each new project what the people here are working on. There is more to the compositions here than tape music. We have projects that rather begin to develop more and delve deeper into real-time processing of compositions or with live music activities.

JR: Apart from the activity in this center, what is the electroacoustic musical community like here in Buenos Aires, and, if you have an opinion, in South America in general?

JV: For South America in general I couldn't give you very much of an opinion...because I don't know of many centers in South America and neither are there very many centers here. In Brazil, at this time they are developing one. There used to be a good lab in Venezuela. I can speak, for example, about Buenos Aires though more specifically. In terms of what I see of our concerts and the public that attends, generally there is a movement among the young people in so much as they many contemporary musical concerts, and for the most part even ones of electroacoustic music. For example when Pierre Boulez came this year, the concerts were full and the Teatro de San Martin was filled for the concert of electroacoustic music with live processing, in collaboration with IRCAM. We have a very good public and apart from that, there exists in Argentina an Electroacoustic Music Federation that not only extends to Buenos Aires and the interior of the country, but is linked to the International Federation of Electroacoustic Music supported by UNESCO in Paris. We have a very good relationship with the Federation and many activities of the Federation are realized here. For example, "Music and Electroacoustic-Media Week", held in the last week of October every year for the past 12 years, is dedicated to concerts of all the labs and composers of the provinces, including residents of the provinces that are currently abroad. Suffice it to say that five days of the week are completely filled with concerts, chatter and activities concerning electroacoustic music. And not only people from Buenos Aires participate, but rather people from all over the interior of the country...Cordoba, Rosario, Santa Fe, etc.

JR: What are the times of the concerts throughout the rest of the year? And, are the dates fixed?

JV: Everything is publicized, but here normally the concerts will take place on a wednesday, usually 8:30 p.m. Yes, there are some fixed dates, like that week in October, but much of the rest depends on the annual programming of the Cultural Center. One thing that stands out though, that has had very good results, is the SonoClip National Concurso. Supported by the Music and Technology Foundation, which is another institution that supports activity at LIPM. A "SonoClip" is a short acoustical piece, a minute or less in duration, and there is also a "Objeto Sonoro" which is a sound. There are 3 prizes awarded in the Concurso, the third prize-winner voted by the public. This activity has created an opportunity for people who have little or no connection with electroacoustic music, or people who don't know about their bond with it, to participate. I have found the concerts to be replete with much enthusiasm and many many submissions. This year will be the third consecutive year of Sonoclip. The date is fixed to the first days of December.

JR: Muchíssimas gracias Julio, is there anything else you would like to share with me about LIPM?

JV: Yes, one thing more and very important is about the exchange program between ourselves and the Universities of Stanford and California at San Diego, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. In my judgement the program has been extremely important to LIPM for not only acquiring new technical knowledge but for linking us to an international level with many other great centers of research.