I’m going to start with a travel post about my experience at Internoise. I will follow up later with posts about the interesting talks I heard.
Day 27, Melbourne, Australia (Sunday – 16th of November, 2014)
The conference had arrived. This is why I had jumped over to Australia from the North Island of New Zealand, InterNoise. The plan was to lay low until the opening ceremony. I think I did some more wandering in the morning and made my way over to Registration. I let Woutijn know where the registration desk was and he came to join me. I may have mixed up my East and my West in my directions, which is uncharacteristic of me, but he eventually found me. We sat and went through the conference bag. This bag had more advertising material than any other conference I’ve been to. We both ended up recycling a lot of flyers.
Woutijn still had work to do so he skipped out on the opening ceremony and the plenary speaker. I went and got a seat near the front right of the audience. Looking back at the crowd I tried to catch anyone I knew (to no avail), but a peer, Suzi Wiseman, who had worked under my Ph.D. adviser found me and joined my row. Her work is fascinating and deals with soundscapes in zoos (BBC News on her work). I really need to write a post on that some time.
The opening ceremony was just as corny as one would expect. It had very little introduction and a lot of calling people on to the stage and recognizing those who had made the conference possible. After the introductions there was a pause since the next act wasn’t ready.
Eventually the spokesperson for the local aboriginal tribe came on stage and started welcoming us. This was followed by a music and dance performance complete with face paint, didgeridoo, and clap sticks. Then we were welcomed out to the reception where refreshments, including Australian wine, cheese, and beer, were being served.
I soon found one of my friends and academic role models, Lily Wang, and her students from the Nebraska Acoustics Group. I tried to find the few other people I knew would be attending the conference, but had no luck. Since the bar was open I had a couple drinks and tried to fill up on the free snacks, grad school survival skills die hard.
After several round of discussion Lily announced to our huddle that she had gotten a ticket to the Chair’s dinner that evening for her father and her father had booked a tour and wouldn’t be available. She offered the ticket to her students and none of them stepped forward, so I volunteered to accompany her.
The dinner was across the street and we missed the subtle entrance to the restaurant and had to double back. We were offered drinks upon entering and I had to decline, since I had had my fill at the prior open bar and I wanted to stay sober. I was introduced to many important people in the field of Acoustics and barely crammed in the exquisite dinner. After the dinner I walked Lily back to the convention center and walked back to Woutijn’s apartment.
Day 28, Melbourne, Australia (Monday)
I hit the conference early and was in talks all day. I started out in an Aeroacoustics session and then bounced around. I tried to get into the Young Professionals workshop, but the person at the door said it was by invite only. I later heard that this was a logistics error since the invite only portion was for the drinks afterward (which I sneaked into and had a drink anyway) and the organizers were possibly disappointed by the workshop turnout.
It turned out that Lily’s father still hadn’t gotten back from his touring and there was an extra ticket to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra that evening, so I again joined her and her students. I informed them that Hammer Hall was a 15 minute walk away. I often underestimate walking time. Google calculates the walking time as 24 minutes. Either way we had plenty of time, others just took the opportunity to give me a hard time about how much longer the walk was. *shrug* Lily treated us to Indian food at a very posh food court along the way. The Mango Lassi was fantastic.
We arrived at Hammer Hall, discussed what made its acoustics unique, and took out seats. Lily and I sat in the balcony and her two students, Ellen and Joonhee, sat in the right side of the orchestra. We heard Sravinsky’s Difertimento and Dvorak’s Serenade for strings in E Major, Op.22. I loved both.
During intermission I realized the cunning of the Nebraska Acoustics Group’s concert listening. They intentionally got the seats in different sections so they could switch seats and hear the hall from multiple locations. Brilliant! I fumbled to find my ticket to switch with Joonhee, but found it and we swapped seats. The second half was more modern and consisted of Enescu’s Octet for strings in C major, Op 7.
After the concert I walked with everyone a little over half way back to the conference center and then broke off to head to Woutijn’s place.
Day 29, Melbourne, Australia (Tuesday)
I spend pretty much the whole day at the conference. It started with Lily’s keynote on the impact of building acoustics on speech comprehension and student achievement, where she very effectively set up and plugged Ellen’s talk later in the day (paper). Of course I said this was a travel post and not a technical post, so I’ll leave further discussion to elsewhere. I also talked to all the SPL meter companies at the exhibition. I still feel that class II SPL meters should be less expensive than they are. I was yet again tempted to buy one to conduct research on my travels. Fortunately most of the vendors weren’t set up to sell at the conference, only advertise.
Day 30, Melbourne, Australia (Wednesday)
There were more interesting talks on Wednesday. I went to the closing plenary which was on soundscape planning. One of the messages that people were really trying to hit home is that just evaluating the loudness of a place has little to do with the actual acoustic pleasantness of a place. The closing ceremony was very similar to the opening one. There were many people thanked, some long speeches, and plugs for the upcoming acoustics conferences.
After the conference was over I headed back to Woutijn’s place and cooked Indian food for him and his flat mates.
There weren’t many good photo opportunities at the conference, plus I was concentrating on other things. Never the less, here is your moment of zen: