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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 222 – Photos of HAL. Not Permitted.

Saturday, January 3, 2015 11:30 am 2 comments
Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

I am not an expert on these matters.   I merely know what I like and what I don’t like.   And though there were movies of his that I absolutely did not like, I cannot ignore the profound impact his movies have had on me.   I don’t know anyone who will deny, if they have seen the movie, that when they hear Also Sprach Zarathrustra or The Blue Danube they can think only of 2001 – A Space Odyssey.   There are those of us who saw A Clockwork Orange who will never be able to see it again because of its assault on our morality, senses, and emotions.   I have a friend who can’t listen to Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy, or the William Tell Overture anymore after seeing the movie without seeing the most vicious and disturbing scenes in her mind’s eye. We don’t understand what some of these movies were about but we simply cannot forget them. He arguably redefined the relationship of music to American film, camera work with American film, and even redefined how to tell a tale.   He turned the ghost story on its head with The Shining and confused us about war and violence with Full Metal Jacket. I am speaking of course about Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. He made only sixteen movies in forty-eight years, three of which were documentary shorts made very early in his career. Fans waited eagerly for years between movies. Disappointed or not by what I saw, I know that there was great depth and thought into every inch of film he shot. There is so much to say about him as a filmmaker, that I could probably research the subject for years and still not understand his films or his process.   But I cannot stop being compelled and drawn to his work.   In November 2014, the Toronto International Film Festival, mounted a retrospective of his work at the TIFF Lightbox location in Toronto. I eagerly attended and was surprised by the mashup curation of the main exhibit.   I got a new perspective on the man and his movies and learned about some I had yet to see.   My show today is separated into two parts. The first takes place in the main exhibit. I sometimes compete with the cacophony of music that surrounds me, and try to provide a sense of how the exhibit takes you through his body of work.   The second takes place in a quieter section of the exhibit where various people share their opinion on select works by this master.

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox - Kubrick Retrospective)

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox – Kubrick Retrospective)

Listen here (53m24s) :

Download HotFRM222

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The subtlely distrubing statements on war and violence in Full Metal Jacket (taken at TIFF Kubrick Retrospective Nov 2014)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 221 – We’re Tall and We Play Music

Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:35 pm 3 comments

 

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps up.

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps in.

This week I caught up with a Brazilian drumming troupe practicing in the park for their summer season.   They call themselves MaracaTall. This is a play on the word maractu, a type of drumming, song and performance genre popular in Brazil. The twist on this Toronto troupe is that they perform on stilts. Their next gig is in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre near the Redpath stage 1:30pm on Canada Day Tuesday July 1 2014.

Listen here for my conversation with several members of the troupe:

Or Download HotFRM 221 (60Mb 31m:37s)

Here are some links to find out more:

http://www.maracatall.com/  – more pictures here

https://halacircusarts.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/maracatall/ – Hala’s site

http://www.frolick.ca/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJseNr10_ck- practice preview video

 

 

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

 

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 215 – Art from Sunrise to Sunset All Over the City

Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:47 pm 1 comment

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Created with LED filled Ping Pong Balls in Bickford Park Toronto Nuit Blanche 2012

If you don’t know what Nuit Blanche is, it’s a sunset to sunrise festival of art held in cities across the globe.  In Toronto,  it is normally held the last weekend of September.  Originally conceived in Paris in 2002, the name has come to mean “Sleepless Night”.  There are far too many art events and installations for any one person to see in a twelve hour period and Special K and I are no exception  to that limitation.   In my show today I focus on sharing soundscene audio from a mere five out of dozens of events.   Glow in the Dark is the first.   L.E.D.s inserted into hundreds of ping-pong balls light up the ground in Bickford Park.  The result is unexpected.   Highwater 2012 is a floating display of objects in the Roy Thompson Hall pond.   Objects, somewhat ghostly in their whiteness,  float by below us, evoking an odd sense of loneliness and discomfort.  Who do or did these objects belong to?  Where are their owners now?  What were their lives like?   Lifecycles, 2012 is a video installation with original soundtrack that shows the time-lapse growth cycle of what we think is kale, that grew in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the artist.     We also stop by transparent sealed booths to listen to three masters solving the Rubick’s cube.   Each solver has a microphone attached to their sleeve and the sound captured is amplified through speakers.   Finally I share the surreal experience we had at the installation Caverne St-Clair 20012.   Fragments of culture, writing, and musical scores found in 2012 are re-interpreted by the artist in the year 20012 with some strange and hypnotic results.

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Inside: Archaeological Findings From 2012

Enjoy these snippets of Nuit Blanche 2012. By the way, if I haven’t said this before, my shows in recent years are best listened to with headphones for a feeling of actually being there, noise cancelling headphones if you have them.

Listen up:

Or download HotFRM 214 (62mbs 32m59s)

Links to things talked about in this show:

http://2012.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1154  Glow in the Dark

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1073  Highwater 2012

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1077  Lifecycles, 2012

http://2012.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1002  Re-

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1016  Caverne St-Clair 20012

http://johnshipman.ca/

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 210 – The Pink and The Purple

Sunday, September 30, 2012 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Pink and Purple with Hector Centeno

From her website we read that:

Alexandra Gelis is a Colombian-Venezuelan visual artist based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MFA degree from York University, Toronto, Canada.  Her work incorporates photography, video, electronics and digital processes…Gelis’ work addresses the use of image relation to topics of displacement, landscape, and politics. One of the prevalent concerns in her work is to unveil the relationship between landscape, history, people, geopolitics and the diverse techniques for achieving subjugation of bodies and population… As an educator/facilitator in video and photography she has led workshops with youth in disadvantaged communities in Canada, Colombia, and Panama. Her work has been shown internationally in several venues and galleries in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Argentina and the United States. She has developed curatorial projects, video screenings, and programs for festivals in Latin America and Canada.

On August 15, this summer, Alexandra unveiled her installation called Raspao/Snow Cones. This installation in her own words is

…a moving sound sculpture vehicle that makes Snow Cones to sell them. It is also equipped with electronic components that capture, reproduce, mix and record sounds and video in real time. Customers and bystanders create sound compositions by mixing sounds in real time from the surrounding environment and the sound made by the internal components of the cart.  The Snow Cone vehicle is a food cart, a hybrid vehicle, a mixture of a Raspao cart used in Colombia to sell snow cones and the food carts that Portuguese and Greek Canadians use for selling roasted nuts and other sweet goods in Toronto. Snow Cones is also a sound piece that aims to open a space for social interaction, a place of meeting and conversation.

Of her relationship with the experience of snow cone machines she writes:

When it was very hot in Cartagena, Colombia, as a child I will buy an ice cone and I will eat it lying down on the beautiful decorated and cold tile floor in my house. The installation is a product of a private performance in the back of my house in Toronto, dealing with childhood memories. I paint on the snow using fuchsia ink (reminiscences of Ice Cone or “Raspaos”) tiles with arabesques as in the floor in my house in Cartagena. At the end I laid down naked on the snow trying to recuperate these impossible memories. Hot – Cold, Fuchsia – Childhood – Moments.

Raspao/Snow Cone Machine by Alexandra Gelis

In my third episode of four shows featuring artists at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, 2012 join me now during the opening of this installation and interview with the artist:

or Download HotFRM 210 (45mb 24m11s)

Equipment used:  Apex 415 for intro.  Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and interview.

You can find the links to Alexandra Gelis’ sites @

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_raspao.php

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_tosuperpose.php

http://raspao.net/

The Audio Processor Up Close

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 209 – Ghost Haunting, Brown Notes, and Vibrations Cubed

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 8:03 pm Leave a comment

PluseCubes by Ryo Ikeshiro

In this second of a four part series of soundscapes and interviews I did at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium this August, I share two sound exhibits.   PluseCubes by Ryo Ikeshiro.   From the program:   “is an interactive sound where visitors are invited to become part of an implicit feedback loop whose other components include a set of small cubes on a flat surface, computer vision and digital signal processing.  The cubes are tracked by a web camera positioned overhead and processed by a programming environment known as Max/MSP/Jitter.  The audience interaction is created through the placement and movements of these cubes acting as  a control device which in turn results in the production of audio and physical vibrations.    Ryo is a London, England  based electronics and acoustic musician working in the fields of audiovisual composition, improvisation, interactive installations, soundtrack and therapy.   He is currently studying for a PhD in studio composition.”   The next  exhibit I explore is Ghostwood a/v by Michael Trommer who did the audios, and Brent Bostwick who did the visual part of the exhibit.   From the same program:  “It is an audio-visual installation which investigates the psycho-geography of Ontario’s northern wilderness.  It is primarily focused on the use of infrasound provided by specially constructed tactile transducers and is supported by a video component of the Georgian Bay landscape.  The project title is is a reference to those suburban neighbourhoods in which the sole memory of what has been displaced or eradicated as a result of their construction survives in the now prosaic  street names (‘Valleyview’, ‘Forest Hill’, etc).”

In our discussion of infrasound, Michael mentions a phenomenon called the brown note and wonders if it is a myth.  As it turns out, it looks like it is a myth, and is only hypothetical according to my sources.  But you’ll hear more about that during the interview.

For more information on Ryo visit http://www.ryoikeshiro.com/.    For more information on Michael Trommer visit http://michaeltrommer.blogspot.ca/ and Brent Bostwick at http://vimeo.com/user5083021.

Enjoy the show.

Or right click to Download:  HotFRM 209 (63mb 33m39s)

Ghostwood a/v with speakers and transducers by Michael Trommer and Brent Bostwick

Delights of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium Aug 16 Concert

Friday, September 7, 2012 5:09 pm Leave a comment

It’s hard to decide which piece I loved most on the evening of August 16.  It was the second concert night of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium hosted by New Adventures in Sound Art.  The theatre at the Wychwood Barns on Christie Street, where the concert was held, holds a maximum of about a hundred audience members.   So with some seventy-five of us seated, it was a respectable showing even when you include the artists and their friends and family.  I looked around the concert venue and heavy black media space curtains surrounded the walls.   Such curtains contain the sound within the room and keep noises out as well.  The concert-goers faced the stage and some of us were along the curtained wall. Placed around the seating were no less than eight speakers.  This placement of speakers guaranteed a surround-sound experience.  Perhaps it would have been more immersive for me if I had sat somewhere in the middle facing the stage, but instead I sat on the periphery against one of the walls of curtain and directly to the right of one of these speakers.  Keeping my eyes open during the performances sometimes put me at a distinct disadvantage.  It was often better to listen to the nuances of the sounds without the benefit of any visual cues.

This concert had six pieces.  The most breathtaking of these for me was the last piece : MiND Live:  Live Coding Audiovisual Performance. The group performing consisted of five collaborators, a screen on which live-coding was projected in real time, laptops, and performers in various parts of the room including on the stage.    Beautiful vocalizations by Meaghan Niewland were manipulated as were additional sounds and visuals by the other performance artists.  There was a lovely hypnotic but controlled flavour to this performance.   Another interesting piece was Michael Pound’s Opening.   Through the use of sensors,  pre-recorded sounds and music, (an accordion was prominently featured),  Michael beautifully mutated the sounds of the accordion with the palms of his hands.  With his hands above the sensors, waving and dipping up and down and across, it looked like he was making music out of thin air.   It was a lovely irony since that’s what sound is – vibrations moving through the air.   Dracnoids, Joshua Keeling’s interpretation of a meteor shower he experienced, features a soprano saxophone and a bassoon.  I’ve never heard a sax that sounded like a guitar nor a bassoon that boomed like a foghorn, but those were some of the impressions I had of the sonic transformations that Keeling and the musicians left me with.   It would be fair to say that I was also mesmerized by the other three pieces: A Trace of Finches, with it’s field recordings of Nova Scotian woods, First Life, a mixed media performance of string quartet, live audio processing, narration and animation of organic compounds, and finally Windows Left Open, with its sound experimentation using electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello and contrabass.

“life don’t clickety clack down a straight line track It come together and it come apart” – Ferron (Ain’t Life a Brook)

Friday, July 20, 2012 8:50 pm 1 comment

Just because I give it three stars out of five does not mean I didn’t love it. It was the concepts I loved, not the writing. Because it’s an academic book, it was slow going and plodding. Like all works written by some academics, the sentences can be dense and full of meaning that require multiple reads of the same sentence or paragraph. I hate having to look up words like liminal, preliminal, hegemony, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. It makes my head hurt. But look them up I did, if only to try to get inside the mind of Judith Halberstam, the author.

Here is what I think she is saying and it’s wonderfully trailblazing and original. In no particular order: First, she suggests that the queer way of life establishes an entirely unique, reasonable and freeing alternative to the tyranny of the heteronormative (look that one up) timeline of the mandatory passages that the heterosexual lifestyle requires: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, career, children, grandchildren, old age, and finally death with all the attendant obligations, constraints, and rituals. An alter-normative life imposes no such constraints. Adolescence can last as long as you want. The ushering in of the age of child rearing doesn’t have to happen until you are good and ready or never. That’s the queer time part.

Next, (well not quite next but I am going to talk about it next), she shows how the queer subculture, the ways we define ourselves in terms of music, dress, film, all forms of art and style, including the way we express ourselves in general, define the particular way that we construct the space and place, psychically and physically, around us. They are as real as the heteronormative popular culture that no one of us can escape. But the success of our art is not defined by conventional fame, celebrity, and money. She uses the world of transgenderism, genderqueerism, drag king shows, dyke slam poetry, and dyke rock to prove that point. These types of expression and lives could serve to represent an undefined and full of possibility midpoint between a threshold and the establishment of new rituals in our culture. A state where definition and space is undefined and being redefined.

Lastly she pays homage to the queers of the mid 20th century and lesbian folk artists of the 70s who paved the way for the freedoms of expressions and rights (at least in some states and Canada) that queers enjoy today. Using the musicians Cris Williamson and Ferron as examples, she engendered in me a new appreciation for their music that I already love so much.

The clod that I am,  I’m sure I have missed the finer subtleties of her arguments. But what I did get out of the book completely captivated and fascinated me.

Here are some choice quotes from the book that I particularly enjoyed:

“…we create longevity as the most desirable future, applaud the pursuit of long life (under any circumstances), and pathologize modes of living that show little or no concern for longevity.”

“…formulaic responses to time and temporal logics produce emotional and even physical responses to different kinds of time…people feel guilty about leisure, frustrated by waiting, satisfied by punctuality, and so on.”

“…time has become a perpetual present, and space has flattened out in the face of creeping globalization.”

“…the transgender body has emerged as futurity itself, a kind of heroic fulfillment of postmodern promises of gender flexibility.”

“…Brandon [Teena]’s death…[is]…evidence of a continuing campaign of violence against queers despite the increasing respectability of some portions of the gay and lesbian community.”

“…the brutality that visited Brandon [Teena]…[was]…also a violence linked to a bourgeois investment in the economy of authenticity.”

“Entertainment…is the name we give to the fantasies of difference that erupt on the screen only to give way to the reproduction of sameness.”

“…gender functions as a ‘copy with no original’.”

“…queer subcultures offer us an opportunity to redefine the binary of adolescence and adulthood…”

“Queer youth sets up younger gays and lesbians not as the inheritors and benefactors of several decades of queer activism but rather as victims of homophobia who need ‘outreach’ programs and support groups…[There is] an emphasis that arises out of an overreliance on the youth/adulthood binary…[that]…encourages young queers to think about the present and future while ignoring the past.”

“The radical styles crafted in queer punk bands, slam poetry events, and drag king boy bands…model other modes of being and becoming that scramble our understandings of place, time, development, action and transformation.”

“Ferron…understands herself to be engaged in a collective project that is rewarded not by capital or visibility…but by an affective connection with those people who will eventually be the vessels of memory for all she now forgets.”