Guest post – Eamonn Doyle on DEAF 2008
DEAF 2008 is now live, y’all. Festival chief Eamonn Doyle filed this blog late last night to give a taste of what it takes to put on a monster event like this – and why he and his team do …
DEAF 2008 is now live, y’all. Festival chief Eamonn Doyle filed this blog late last night to give a taste of what it takes to put on a monster event like this – and why he and his team do it every year.
It seems to work the same way every year. You start off with grand plans and big ideas but by the time festival week hits, it’s all about the little details. Right now, delivery of the PA is late for tonight’s performance by Nurse With Wound in Andrew’s Lane Theatre, while I’m desperately trying to get my hands on a Japanese-European power converter for Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) who’s playing support. However, hopefully by the time you read this, all the little glitches will have been ironed out and no-one will be any the wiser as to the might-have-beens…
I guess anyone who’s ever given any time to running live music or theatre events (especially on a limited budget) will know and appreciate the perils of this particular type of multi-tasking… trying to keep artists, venue owners, fellow promoters and audiences happy in equal measure. Every year a part of me dreads it and yet, seven years on in the life of DEAF, and many more running events – considering how long D1 has been on the go (with Dead Elvis Recordings before that) – it seems I still can’t get enough of it. The buzz of getting it right, of helping to create a unique event that only reaches completion when the performers and audience forget how and why they came, and instead lose themselves in the moment, is a difficult one to equal. There’s definitely an addictive quality to it.
DEAF was born out of a desire to create a wider appreciation of the artistry that I witnessed in Dublin’s clubs and studios throughout the 1990s. When electronic music really kicked in with the arrival of DJ culture in the late 1980s, it galvanised many in my generation into a creative frenzy that I felt remained largely unappreciated outside of our own little scene. In a less digitally-enhanced age, before everything could be downloaded, so many memories seemed in danger of being lost and forgotten – and so many deserving innovators seemed in danger of remaining forever sidelined.
Our festival can’t right all past wrongs, but it can help to preserve what still remains vital from those creative times and in doing so, hopefully help inspire a new generation to seize on technology and exploit its potential in making exciting art.
DEAF also offers an entry point for those who know little of the electronic arts, for those who perhaps dismissed DJ and club culture as little more than an exercise in hedonism – or who saw the application of experimental technology to music and the visual arts as little more than a fad. In my opinion, great art can often come out of the desire to party, the functional can energise the form – and take it to new places that it would never have gone had it remained locked up in an archive or a museum.
So for me, it’s essential to go out and engage people, and to invite them to experience the digital arts in a way that is neither caught up in its own sense of exclusivity, nor bastardised and entirely beholden to commercial considerations. Which, to do on this scale, is a challenge from year to year, believe me!
I won’t swamp you with recommendations for the weekend ahead, but we’ve got a great line-up with names like Juan Atkins, Legion of Two, Moritz Von Oswald, Nurse With Wound, Rollers/Sparkers, Laurent Garnier, Chequerboard, Mike Banks, White Noise, Steinski, Luke Vibert, Itaru Oki and M83 providing you with all manner of experimental sonic entertainment, while DEAF-related exhibitions feature in galleries and spaces all across town. As ever our Bar Weekender is also up and running, giving you the chance to slake your thirst to the sounds of something a little different in half a dozen city centre bars. Brave the weather and check some of these events out if you can – it’d be great to see you.