open call

The next season of Soundwave will explore our sonic connections to WATER, our most important natural resource. Soundwave seeks daring artists, composers and musicians to investigate WATER and examine its ecologies, stories, and properties through sound. Soundwave seeks experience driven performances that reinterpret the connections between sound and water through its instrumentation, concept, visual collaboration, immersive installation or environment, audience interaction, or production by local, national and international sound and media artists, technologists, designers, musicians, and composers.

the questions
How can water affect sound and sound affect water? What is the future of our oceans, lakes, rivers, and waterways? How does water sustain us physically, emotionally, spiritually? How do our water histories inform our future outlook and use? How does water give life and how can water destroy it? What will happen to our water planet and the creatures that inhabit it in the face of globalization and global warming?

ideas to consider

Ice and steam acoustics and instrumentation; SF Bay Area waterways and bodies of water; captains, fisherman and life at sea; ports, docks, piers, and beaches; water legends and folklore; water utopias/dystopias (ie Atlantis); real and imagined water creatures; states of melting/freezing; wave phenomena and patterns; boats, bridges, ships, and ferries; whirlpools and waterfalls; floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis; high/low tides; tears, saliva, and sweat; clean water and health concerns; economic, energy, and environmental issues; and other artists imaginations.

season 6 mission

WATER hopes to engage artists and audiences with a new awareness of water and its importance it plays in our lives. It hopes to inspire thought and action while showcasing sound’s inherent connection to this important resource and the innovative artistic voices investigating the future of this life force of our living planet.

festival details
Dates and Venues: Soundwave will take place on various dates between July and September 2014 at multiple venues in San Francisco. We work with the invited artist to schedule available dates, as well as venues appropriate for their work. Typically, specific dates and venues are confirmed three months in advance.

Artist Fees: Fees to performing artists are very modest. Amount is dependent on grant awards and fundraising currently in process. Typically, fees are confirmed three months in advance of performance date.

Accommodations: We are unable to offer accommodation fees for international artists and American artists residing outside of the Bay Area. We can offer housing, with limited availability, in private homes of friendly and enthusiastic friends of Soundwave to sleep and store belongings.

Travel: We invite all artists to submit proposals, but we are unable to offer financial assistance to cover travel costs for those outside the Bay Area. We ask our international artists and American artists residing outside of the Bay Area to apply for travel funding through their national arts councils and private foundations in their home country (ie. Canadian Artists – Canada Council for the Arts). We will need to be notified of your travel award or notification of self-travel by February 1, 2014 or the invitation will be rescinded. We do occasionally apply for grants for American artists residing outside the Bay Area, however, would not be enough to offset travel and accommodation costs, so we encourage those to continue to apply for travel grants. We no longer apply for grants for international artists but can assist their own applications with a letter of support.

Jury: Soundwave ((6)) curatorial committee is made up of Bay Area creative professionals from diverse sonic and artistic backgrounds led by MEDIATE Executive & Artistic Director Alan So and resident curators Jorge Bachmann and Jeff Ray. The committee rigorously juries proposals based on congruity of theme, ingenuity of project, diversity of artists’ perspective, and feasibility of production.

proposal guidelines

All proposals MUST include:

  1. Your artistic resume and website (including past performances, exhibitions, commissions, discography, videography).
  2. A concise project description limited to 500 words that includes:
    • whether this is a completed project, a work-in-progress or yet to be realized, as well as,
    • the performance duration of your work (most performances are limited to 20-30 minutes long with merited exceptions). Indicating time will enable us the ability to accommodate.
  3. Dates of availability for performance in San Francisco.
  4. Three past works you wish to showcase in support of your proposal (documentation in the form of recordings, images, video, etc.)
  5. A detailed list of your technical needs and space requirements
  6. A 100-200 word bio for publication in press materials
  7. High-resolution photograph(s) of yourself, your group and your proposed work for press materials.
    • Digital images must be a minimum of 8X10 at 300 dpi. in Jpeg or Tiff format with the extension attached (.jpg or .tif). 2. Do not embed photographs in Word or any other program.
  8. Any support materials such as press articles, CDs, MP3s, videos, documentation, diagrams that will strengthen and enhance your proposal.
  9. Artists outside Bay Area/International Artists: MUST also provide information of how they will fund their travel (specify self-travel or application to travel grants), and whether they can attend in the event travel assistance is unsuccessful. Your ability to be self-sufficient in travel is favorable, however it will not strengthen/weaken the merits of your proposal.




important dates
Submission Period Opens:
July 6, 2013
Submission Period Closes:
September 8, 2013
Artist Notification:
November 2013
Artist Performance Development:
Jan-June 2014
Performance Dates:
July through Sept 2014


Proposals are juried by a select group of leading Bay Area professionals in art, music and science. View 6th season committee.

how to submit 



about soundwave
Soundwave is MEDIATE’s acclaimed biennial festival of innovative sound, art and music. Soundwave is a multi-venue and multi-date sound performance and exhibition series happening over the entire summer every two years in San Francisco USA. Each season investigates a new idea in sound and invites diverse multidisciplinary artists and musicians to explore the season’s theme in new and innovative directions. Soundwave has completed five successful seasons: Season 5’s HUMANITIES in 2012, Season 4’s GREEN SOUND in 2010, Season 3’s MOVE SOUND in 2008, Season 2’s SURROUND SOUND in 2006 and Season 1’s FREE SOUND in 2004. Created by MEDIATE founder and artistic director Alan So, Soundwave explores the boundaries of how we see sound, language and music. It is a project dedicated to challenge and inspire artists and audiences to look deeper into the sound medium and discover new connections to sound making and the sound experience. Soundwave was awarded Best Sound Sculptures – Future Classic by San Francisco Magazine’s BEST of 2007 issue. It has been featured on SPARK*, KQED’s (PBS) television arts show and Educator Guide on Experimental Music, SF Weekly, SF Chronicle, BBC Radio 3 (UK), San Francisco Bay Guardian, 7×7 Magazine, SFist, WNYC Public Radio, ResonanceFM (UK), KUSF, KALX, KPFA, amongst others.