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Quote of the Week: Saving STEIM

Simple astonishment is as best as I can sum up the sensation that accompanied the recent news that a funding crisis has struck the estimable institution STEIM, based in Amsterdam. The following statement opened an appeal for support at the organization’s website, steim.org:

Things are not well at STEIM. We are in the danger of losing our structural funding from the government, based on a review from the advisor board which called us ‘closed and only appealing to a niche audience’. The outlook isn’t exactly bleak, but at the moment our future is unclear.
This is the letter that I sent in STEIM’s support:
I write this note in something of a sense of astonishment. To hear that STEIM’s funding is in question came unexpectedly. In the world beyond the institution’s walls — and by “world” I mean the globe in its entirety — STEIM is, to those involved in the pursuit of extending music’s boundaries, synonymous with excellence.

Those five letters can make all the difference on the CV of one of the organization’s fellows — anyone with STEIM experience is seen as having been at the root of the culture, and returned all the wiser to spread the word.

STEIM’s efforts in education, curation, concert promotion and, most importantly, research puts it in the highest order of arts institutions.

It’s been reported that some in the position of judging STEIM’s validity relegate it to a “niche.”

I trust that is a mis-characterization of the concerns of the governing body. The matters that STEIM is focused on — from the digital mediation of information to the role of technology in culture to networked communication — are high on the minds of everyone in business, government, the military, and the arts. The innovations, technological and theoretical, that surface at STEIM have far-reaching implications and applications.

Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak on the organization’s behalf. I truly hope that STEIM’s funding will be continued.

Best regards,

Marc Weidenbaum
The due date for the next stage of STEIM’s appeal is imminent. STEIM needs to collect any letters of support by May 26, which is this coming Monday. A web form has been set up at steim.org to enable supporters to make their voices heard. For further context, the following websites are among those that have raised the alarm about STEIM’s status: createdigitalmusic.com, em411.com, makezine.com, matrixsynth.blogspot.com, musicthing.blogspot.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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