October 2010 marks the official start of the Sound Archive of Experimental Music and Sound Art, SONM, created with all the cassettes, vinyls, CDs, and DVDs that sound artist Francisco López has gathered and exchanged along his professional career. The City Council of Murcia has embraced this outstanding collection through the Puertas de Castilla Center, a space dedicated to all manifestations of contemporary culture. With this collection, the goal of the Center is the diffusion, research and exhibition of all forms and types of sound art in their most experimental and alternative expressions.
Miguel Ángel Cámara Botía / Mayor of Murcia (Spain)
The Sound Archive of Experimental Music and Sound Art, SONM, has been created as a public access resource -both physical and virtual online- with my entire collection of experimental music and sound art, gathered over the past thirty years of direct exchange with thousands of sound artists worldwide.
This sound archive is not the result of a collector's accumulation (I am not a collector) but is instead the consequence of an intense activity as an artist, and also of one of the most fundamental features of the international community of sound artists: the exchange and collaboration, both physical and telematic. The archive is thus a personal collection, subjective, partial, and particularly focused on the global communities of so-called "independent" or "underground" artists, which I am part of since the late 70s.
In spite of this, however, since my sonic and pesonal interests have always been very wide, the natural result in the collection is a large variety and representation of the inmense universe of sound practices in experimental music and sound art. With nearly 5,000 items on cassette, vinyl, CD, and DVD, at the time of its offical opening, this sound archive is predominantly composed of very small editions -in many cases self-editions by the artists themselves- encompassing all kinds of aesthetics, movements, periods, labels, and sonic manifestations: electronic, concrete, industrial, noise, minimal, improvisation, soundscapes, glitch, turntablism, avant-garde, etc.
Furthermore, the collection is in constant expansion with all the sound materials I personally receive and with the contributions of a myriad sound artists worldwide that want their work to be adequately preserved and promoted with the resources of this sound archive.
Hosted now permanently at the Puertas de Castilla Center in Murcia (Spain) the sound archive is now being cataloged and digitalized for both the physical and online public access (at the Center in Murcia and in the sound archive's website/database).
In addition to the multiple uses of the sound materials of the collection as a public resource, my understanding of the sound archive is that of a dynamic foundation for the generation of all kinds of parallel activities: diffusion, exhibition, research and new creation. Since its inception, the sound archive has an ongoing programme of concerts / performances, installations, workshops / seminars, publications / editions and information exchange relationships worldwide.
Given the gigantic proportions, the extreme dynamism, the inabarcable diversity, and the accelerated mutation and cross-breeding of the world community of sound artists, any attempt of this nature is bound to be just a little "hub" in that inmense "noosphere" of global creation and communication. In spite of this, it is indeed my intention and personal challenge to lead this sound archive to a position of essential worldwide resource for the preservation, access, listening, diffusion, exchange, research, and promotion of experimental music and sound art. Such a task will only be possible with the active collaboration of those who make up this global community of sound creators. And this is -indeed- an implicit offer of participation in this project, which is made by all of us and intended for all of us.
My sincere thanks first to the City Council of Murcia, which, within its possibiltites, hosts and supports this project in all its different manifestations. My thanks also to Jesús de la Peña , Director of the Puertas de Castilla Center, for their enthusiasm, energy, ideas and vision to support and carry out the sound archive, sharing with me the excitement, ambitions and challenges of such a task.
Francisco López / Director and Curator of the Sound Archive / October 2010
Francisco López is internationally recognized as one of the main figures on the stage of sound art and experimental music. His experience in the field of sound creation and work with environmental recordings covers a period of 30 years, during which he has developed an impressive sound universe that is completely personal and iconoclastic and based on profound listening to the world. He has realized hundreds of sound installations, projects with field recordings, and concerts/ performances in 60 countries, including the main international concert halls, museums, galleries and festivals, such as: National Music Auditorium (Madrid), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (New York), Museum of Modern Art (Paris), International Film Festival (Rotterdam), Festival des Arts (Brussels), EMPAC (Troy, USA), Darwin Fringe (Darwin, Australia), Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, Center of Contemporary Art (Kita-Kyushu, Japan), National Museum Reina Sofía (Madrid), Spanish Pavillion of the International Expo Zaragoza (Spain), etc. His extensive catalogue of sound pieces (with live and studio collaborations with more than 130 international artists) has been published by more than 200 recording companies all over the world. He has been awarded four times with honorary mentions at the competition of Ars Electronica Festival (Austria) and is the recipient of the Qwartz Award 2010 (France) for best sound anthology.