Call for entries
Deadline: 10 October 2011

SOUNDWAVE ((5)) HUMANITIES: Call for Proposals

The next season of Soundwave will explore our sonic connections to the human condition. For HUMANITIES, Soundwave seeks artists, composers and musicians to investigate our human experience, and examine the future of our human constructs, cultures and rituals through sound.


From Season 4’s outward examination of the environment to Season 5’s inward reflection of our own being and existence, the 2012 festival attempts to voice what makes us human in the backdrop of the MesoAmerican Long Count Calendar “Rebirth” and the ensuing mythologies and theories.


Soundwave seeks experience-driven performances that reinterpret the connections between sound and our human experience through its instrumentation, concept, visual collaboration, installation, audience interaction, or production by local and international sound and media artists, technologists, designers, musicians, and composers.

the questions

How can the human body, mind and spirit affect sound? What are the future sonic traditions of our cultures (ethnic, social, community)? How will technology affect our humanity and our sonic experience and traditions? What does it means to be human? (How we live, where we come from, how we think, and how we construct existence (physical, emotional, spiritual)). How will we construct our humanness (ideas about higher power/purpose, myths, legends, cultures and traditions, human consciousness, metaphysical constructs, human identity, human exchange, and our relation to the world)? How do we measure existence now and in the future? What does evolution look like/sound like for the self, body, mind/intellect, and the world?

concepts to consider

electric body impulses; mind-manipulated sound technologies and recordings; body sonics; body instrumentation; brain waves to soundwaves; re-imaginations of ritual acoustics, spiritual, cultural, social acoustics, sonic legends, myths, folklore and fables; new concepts of the Griots, Bards, & Minstrals; hybridized traditions/cultures; imagined utopias; evolutions, regeneration, rebirth, and revolutions; how the world came to be in present form/ future form; supernatural heroes, gods, shamans; magic, illusions and faith; re-imagination and re-interpretations of existence; regenerations and cycles of life; re-interpretation of the home/soul/heart; new ways of experiencing human instinct and desire; human-enabled sonic technologies; dance collaborations, film collaborations, theatrics, and other artist imaginations.

season 5 mission

HUMANITIES hopes to engage artists and audiences with new voices exploring / celebrating / challenging human existence, and re-inventing a world of human possibility. It hopes to inspire thought and action while showcasing sound’s inherent connection to our physical and spiritual bodies and innovative artistic voices for the ‘rebirth’ of our humanity.

important dates

Open Call Deadline: October 10 2011
Artist Notification: November 2011
Artist Performance Development: Jan-June 2012
Performance Dates: July through Sept 2012

festival details

Dates and Venues: Soundwave will take place on various dates between July and September 2012 at various venues in San Francisco. We work with the invited artist to schedule available dates, as well as venues appropriate for their work. Typically, specific dates and venues are confirmed three months in advance.


Artist Fees: Fees to performing artists are modest. Amount is dependent on grant awards and fundraising currently in process. Typically, fees are confirmed three months in advance of performance date.


Accommodations: We are unable to offer accommodation fees for international artists and American artists outside of the Bay Area. We can offer housing, with limited availability, in private homes of friendly and enthusiastic friends of Soundwave to sleep and store belongings.


Travel: We invite all artists to submit proposals, but we are unable to offer financial assistance to cover travel costs for those outside the Bay Area. We ask our international artists and American artists outside of the Bay Area to apply for travel funding through their national arts councils and private foundations in their home country (ie. Canadian Artists – Canada Council for the Arts). We will need to be notified of your travel award or notification of self-travel by March 01, 2012 or the invitation will be rescinded. We do occasionally apply for grants specifically for our International artists and American artists outside the Bay Area. Artists that apply early will have better access to these grants. These grants, however, would not be enough to offset travel and accommodation costs, so we encourage those to continue to apply for travel grants.


Jury: A curatorial committee made up of MEDIATE directors and creative professionals from diverse sonic and artistic backgrounds will rigorously jury proposals based on congruity of theme, ingenuity of project, diversity of artists’ perspective, and feasibility of production.

proposal guidelines

All proposals MUST include:

* Your artistic resume and website (including past performances, exhibitions, commissions, discography, videography)
* A concise project description limited to 500 words. Indicate whether this is a completed project, a work-in-progress or yet to be realized, as well as, the performance duration of your work (most performances are limited to 20-30 minutes long with merited exceptions). Please indicated if it is time specific so we may have the ability to accommodate. Supply dates of availability for performance in San Francisco, if any.
* 3 past works you wish to showcase in support of your proposal (documentation in the form of recordings, images, video, etc.)
* A detailed list of your technical needs and space requirements
* A 100-200 word typed bio of quality for publication in press materials
* High resolution photograph(s) of yourself, your group and/or your work for press materials. Digital images must be a minimum of 8X10 at 300 dpi. In Jpeg or Tiff format with the extension attached (.jpg or .tif). Do not embed photographs in Word or any other program.
* Any support materials such as press articles, CDs, MP3s, videos, documentation, diagrams that will strengthen and enhance your proposal.
* Artists outside Bay Area/International Artists: MUST also provide information of how they will fund their travel (specify self-travel or application to travel grants), and whether they can attend in the event travel assistance is unsuccessful. Your ability to be self-sufficient in travel is favorable, however it will not strengthen/weaken the merits of your proposal.

how to submit

Email: (DO NOT send image, audio or text attachments the email over 5MB. We prefer you providing links to these supporting materials and hi-res pictures. Alternately, these materials can be mailed to the address below.

Mail: MEDIATE, P.O. Box 170305, San Francisco, CA, 94117-0305, USA

about soundwave

Soundwave is MEDIATE’s acclaimed biennial festival of innovative sound, art and music. Soundwave is a multi-venue and multi-date sound performance series happening over the span of two months every two years in San Francisco USA. Each season investigates a new idea in sound and invites diverse multidisciplinary artists and musicians to explore the season’s theme in new and innovative directions. Soundwave has completed four successful seasons: Season 4’s GREEN SOUND in 2010, Season 3’s MOVE>SOUND in 2008, Season 2’s SURROUND>SOUND in 2006 and Season 1’s FREE>SOUND in 2004. Created by MEDIATE founder and artistic director Alan So, Soundwave explores the boundaries of how we see sound, language and music. It is a project dedicated to challenge and inspire artists and audiences to look deeper into the sound medium and discover new connections to sound making and the sound experience. Soundwave was awarded Best Sound Sculptures – Future Classic by San Francisco Magazine’s BEST of 2007 issue. It has been featured on SPARK*, KQED’s (PBS) television arts show and Educator Guide on Experimental Music, SF Weekly, SF Chronicle, BBC Radio 3 (UK), San Francisco Bay Guardian, 7×7 Magazine, SFist, WNYC Public Radio, ResonanceFM (UK), KUSF, KALX, KPFA, amongst others.


“Soundwave has sought to make irrelevant the typical distinctions between artist, musician, audience, stage, and venue… idiosyncratic performances that are challenging, charming, magical, assaultive, and (as is always the case with really sweet sound art) deeply personal for everyone present.” – Frances Reade, SF Weekly
“It’s an artistic and exploratory experience for your senses that will open your eyes and your mind.” – Nitevibe

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