For a music festival, the most obvious interpretation of our 2013 theme INTERFERENCE relates to the physics of sound, including the overlay of varied sound waves and rhythms, distortion, disrupted audio, sonic disturbance, the creation of flaws, and the act of obstructing or impeding. More than ever before, these elements are used in a wide range of contemporary music, from the developing noise scene to ever-evolving club music.
But just as importantly, the theme will be explored for its social and cultural significance, questioning the meaning of “underground” in today’s networked, commodified and data-driven world. INTERFERENCE will set this year’s Unsound festival on the amorphous border between entertainment and challenging experience, often playing against the easy consumption of music and demanding engagement from audiences. You won’t find huge headliners at Unsound 2013. It won’t be transmitted via the Internet in easy video chunks. But for one week the festival will create a unique temporary autonomous zone for audience and artists alike that will feel like nowhere else.
This involves disrupting music festival norms, including those we have previously embraced. One example is the ban on photos and filming, pertaining to both the public with smart phones and media. This experiment - which will be community “enforced” - aims to encourage audiences to focus on being in the moment, to resist contemporary habits as they pertain to instant documentation, to shift emphasis from the spectacle back to the auditory frame.
Detaching image from music also motivates Unsound’s decision to dramatically reduce the number of concerts with video backdrops this year - outside the nights in Hotel Forum, only two shows will use video. Like the photo ban, this decision is not about rejecting technology, but questioning conventions, asking: can decreasing the number of senses stimulated by a live show result in deeper, less directed engagement?
Other INTERFERENCE elements take the form of small games and will become apparent during the festival itself, in what we hope is our most varied edition, rejecting the limitations of thinking about music as “electronic” or “experimental’, rejecting the “generic”, focusing on the idea of “the special”.