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

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

Delights of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium Aug 16 Concert

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.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 205 – RadioActivity

Artscape at Wychwood Barns Where NAISA’s home is

Listen to the show:

 

205HotFRM (60Mb)

For the last eleven years New Adventures in Sound Art has conducted what has been known as a Radio Without Boundaries art symposium.   This year the name was advertised as the Trans X Transmission Art Symposium.  This symposium was part of the Deep Wireless festival of radio and transmission art that was held throughout May this year.   I have for the last several years wanted to attend and this year I was able to.  I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I found that it increased my interest and appetite for sound experimentation.

From the program here is the abstract from Darren Copeland’s opening remarks:

“Rooted in the earliest experiments with radio, Transmission Art has continued to flourish with experiments with wireless communications technology over the past 100 years. The 21st Century is not excluded from this experimentation as artists have ventured into exploring a variety of mobile based platforms and more lesser known forms of transmission such as VLF (very low frequency transmitters). The terrain of transmission art is dynamic and fluid, always open to redefinition.   With NAISA being a sound art organization, we ask the question: What new sound art experiences are possible in the transmission and mobile media platforms?“

Darren Copeland is the founding Artistic Director of New Adventures in Sound Art and a Canadian sound artist.

For today’s show I recorded one of the last sessions of the weekend, this one led by Victoria Fenner.  It was  broadcast live during the symposium, but this is my version of it from my Zoom H2 and binaural mics tightly secured in my ears;  complete with rustling, coughs,  laughter, and one or two minor factual errors – and by that I mean to let you know up front that It wasn’t Hector that screamed twice during his performance,  it was  James just in case that’s not clear.   So here is  what ended up being the spur of the moment panel discussion led by Victoria, with the ad-hoc studio shared with Ninja, Galen, Jim, Tom and Hethre.  Also mentioned:  Twitter, Soundcloud, iTunes, FM, Community Radio, Citizen Journalism – Other Links:

http://www.naisa.ca/deepwireless/

http://free103point9.org/about

http://nplusonemag.com/

http://islandsofresistance.ca/

Listen to the show:

205HotFRM (60Mb)

Victoria Fenner at Work

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 200 – A Trip to the Museum of Gender Archaeology

Listen to the show:

Every year, Toronto participates in an all night festival of art known as Nuit Blanche, so named because it colloquilally means “all-nighter” in French,  but literally means “white night”. It’s a sunset to sunrise event on the first Saturday of October. There is so much to see all over the city, and it is by design impossible to see everything. The most popular events seem to be the ones that use lots of light shows and sound. For example, many exhibits feature projections against walls and buildings. One exhibit that was a hit was the tennis point played over and over all night long called The Tie-break. It was a re-enactment of the legendary fourth set tie-break from the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Finals between Björn Borg and John McEnroe. That would have been something to watch. But we limited ourselves to one area of only a few of many possible events that night.

First we dropped by the Museum of Gender Archaeology that eventually led us into the GendRPhone booths. I’ll admit, apart from the gender changer, commonly used for electronic connections, and the display of so-called ancient bathroom signs for male and female, most of the meaning of the items in the small collection were lost on me. And Ninja is all about exploring the nuances of gender. I get that it was meant to represent a future bygone world of gender dualilty and it was a great start, but it simply wasn’t enough for me. I love shock factor in art (I just revelled in the outrage caused by the kissing of the pope and the imam), and I wasn’t shocked, merely amused. If that is what the artist was after, then it that sense, it did succeed. The installation invites us however to re-imagine our gender. On the gendRphone, you can select the sex and gender of a potential lover and hear their words of love. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “When you are on the phone, you have no body”.  Just a disembodied voice. I love that concept. It’s full of possibility. Not sure that the installation piqued my imagination though. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

My favourite installation was the sound and poetry presented by a local group called New Adventures in Sound Art.  Go figure. I loved the beat and words that went with it. You’ll hear some of that. The last two installations we went to were light and sound shows. The first was called Night Light Travels and the second was another installation by the NAISA (New Adventures in Sound Art), called Sonic Spaces (The Kinetics of Sound). Both used feedback mechanisms and other triggers to change sound and in some cases light in real time. A Markov chain is a mathematical system that undergoes transitions from one state to another, between a finite or countable number of possible states. The next state depends only on the current state and not on the sequence of events that preceded it. This kind of “memorylessness” is called the Markov property. Markov chains have many applications as statistical models of real-world processes and Shawn Pinchbeck uses them to evolve the sound in Sonic Spaces. He also used Vocoder (Voice encoder) technology and theory to change what we hear in the installation.

Have a listen and see if any of this art is your cup of tea.   

Listen to the show:

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 177 – Nuit Blanche 2009

NUIT BLANCHE Toronto 2009

During Nuit Blanche this year the highlights for me were three sound events.  The first you’ll hear is Sound(e)scape curated by Darren Copeland at New Adventures in Sound Art in Toronto’s Wychwood Barns Artscape venue.  The next is a segment from the storytelling event at the Barns. Finally I share an event called In Search of a Wife in Search of a Husband. First is the memoirs of the wife of the Crown Prince of Korea, and her “experiences before and after her father-in-law, King Yongjo, forced her husband, his 25 year old son, to climb into a rice chest.   The chest was then sealed and her husband died in the chest eight days later.”  Later, the letters between Hester Lynch Thrale and Dr. Samuel Johnson are read.  The exchange is from 16 days between June and July 1784.  Thrale communicates her in intent at 43 years old to remarry and Johnson reacts strongly to the threat of the end of their twenty year association.

playground12

Links:   http://www.angelusnovus.net/events.html, Hector Centeno, Andrew Stewart , Nuit Blanche Toronto 2009

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