Student-run ÄÄNIAALTO IV, festival of audiovisual oddity, takes over Helsinki

For the past 4 years, Ääniaalto, an audiovisual festival led by students, has been growing from an office floor meetup to a full scale, one month lasting festival in one of the most culturally central areas of Helsinki.
Ääniaalto Festival III

For the past 4 years, Ääniaalto, an audiovisual festival led by students, has been growing from an office floor meetup to a full-scale festival in one of the most culturally central areas of Helsinki. The festival, held for the 4th time, has come far from its origins. Festival co-founder, and a recent Sound in New Media MA graduate, J. Camilo Sánchez Carranco remembers the beginning of the festival vividly.

“Back in 2015, we felt that there was no connection between Helskinki's media art scene and Aalto University. Because of that, me and Petteri Mäkiniemi had an idea of doing a sound festival and pitched it to the student association DADA. They were thrilled and so we collaborated and held the first festival in one of the floors of Miestentie 3, the temporary building in use for the Department of Media.” 

This audiovisual festival concentrating on the field of new media is focusing merely on the idea of interconnected performances and installations. Works at the festival are not only student works, but the open call is shared also to other performers outside of Aalto University. The interconnected nature of the performances has had a great impact on the audience.

“My biggest revelation has been how many people are into the festival. People from different backgrounds are really interested in the way the works are presented. We do not focus only on the music side of the works but how they can overlay sound, visuals and interaction” Sánchez Carranco says.

J. Camilo Sanchez Carranco presenting at Ääniaalto

If the audience learn how to do an instrument themselves, they appreciate our work a lot more.

J. Camilo Sánchez Carranco

During this year's edition, the audience can experience robotic instruments, generative systems, nonlinear narratives in sound performances, live coding, bio art among others at Vapaan Taiteen Tila and Gallery Akusmata, both located in vibrant city centre of Helsinki. As in past editions, learning by doing has been a big part of the festival as Sánchez Carranco explains.

“I have come to notice that if people learn how to do instruments, music or installations themselves, they appreciate the work we do a lot more. That is why we have offered workshops as part of the program along talks, installations and performances.”

This year the fully volunteer-run festival takes over Helsinki for the entire month of March. It is the longest form of the festival so far and the reason for this has been a result of a learning process as well.

“I can see so much potential in the future of this festival and other festivals' too, such as DASH'16 New Media Festival, where students have the liberty and potential to showcase their talent and learn at the same time from others,” Sánchez Carranco adds.

The 4th edition of Ääniaalto is in March 2019 in Helsinki. The event is co-hosted by the University of the Arts Helsinki and Aalto Media Lab. The programme of the festival can be found in February on the Facebook event.

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