The main theme of the conference focuses on the ability of sound and music to cross boundaries, to eliminate borderlines and overcome physical and digital limitations. The theme also evokes the rich cultural landscape and soundscape of Cyprus, a country predominantly made up of Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities divided by a military border. Despite the political problems, Cyprus enjoys a dynamic and complex cultural and sonic unification not only through the resonances and overtones of these two strong ethnic communities but also through those of several other nationalities inhabiting the island.
As a divided country at a strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, as a traditionally historic crossroad between East and West and as a small island between three continents, Cyprus has always been home to very rich and diverse cultural elements and influences. Whereasthese elements can be different in their core, they share a common identity, the components of which are strongly reflected in the existing traditional music as well as the dynamic contemporary music scene. Cyprus is a divided land where the sound of the church bells on one side, the muezzin's call to prayer on the other and the noise from military aircrafts are all filtered through sea and forest sounds from both sides and intertwine across its borders.
This is a brief description of the underlying identity of the country that wishes to host the 2018 Sound and Music Conference under the theme of 'Sonic Crossings', a most timely and relevant topic. As a country situated close to Syria, from where thousands of refugees flee, and that is itself no stranger to internal refugee camps, Cyprus becomes a unique space of distinctive dynamics in which to discuss these notions and to use them as metaphors for even more thought provoking explorations. The proposed theme will invite participants to discuss what it means to cross a border and to explore physical, spiritual and conceptual correlations in terms of the acoustic experience.
The theme of the conference focuses on researching different approaches of computer music and interactive music systems and monitoring the impact of technology on composition, performance, musicology and education through a discussion around the wide concept of 'crossings'. A special focus will be given to sonic crossings in our mind, in our close environment, in our society, in our natural soundscape and in our imaginary landscapes of the ocean and the space searching the dream of the Varesian "deserts". A special tribute to commemorate the thirtieth year since the passing of Giacinto Scelsi, a composer who embodies the fluid border between sound and music, is also planned. Other areas of focus will be soundscape aesthetics, sound borders - which always broaden through technology - biotechnology issues, ethics of sound and music, virtual spatialisation and cultural heritage.