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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

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.