Today is the day! The newest memebers of the EiM team, Ra Ra Ru, have a fantastic new album, Metallic Ink Co., that's available now!.
The short-run CD is available through us at email@example.com or Bandcamp for $10 plus shipping. It's also available digitially through iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, and all the usual streaming services.
There will be an album release party on Saturday May 3 in Boston, MA with Ra Ra Ru, B Step X KG,B, and Letter Castle.
Check out the track "Mary Had a Little Secret" after the jump.
Buy the limited edition CD or the digital download now!
Nigel Taylor's Dictionary of Symbols is out now!
Electricity is magic is extremely proud to announce the release of Nigel Taylor's solo debut, Dictionary of Symbols.
The 12" vinyl was lovingly handcrafted by the members of Electricity is Magic and features the artwork of Kyle Kostecki. For a limited time, it's on sale for $20 (including shipping) throughout North America ($5 shipping for the rest of the world.). It also comes with a full digital download of the album and is available now at Bandcamp.
There will be an album release party on Saturday September 28 at Resonance Cafe in Montreal with the band Bean. Dictionary of Symbols was recorded in 2012 in Montreal with Eric Powell twiddling the knobs and Matthew Griffin often on a balcony enjoying a PBR. It's damned good. Samples are available on bandcamp and you can buy the album here.
Check out a sample of the track "trecartin" after the jump.
Buy the beautiful 12" album at Nigel's bandcamp site now.
"Transceiver", a new piece with sound design by Eric Powell
"Transceiver" is a new piece from the choreographer Johanna Bundon. Performed by Johanna & Donald Taruc, with sound design by EiM's Eric Powell. Video after the jump.
EiM Gallery is proud (and very excited) to be able to present two of our favourite video artists side-by-side.
Both Henderson and Mullen explore themes of ritual, performance, geography and stillness. In these works, which point the camera outward and inward, respectively, the artists delicately extract shards of humour & sadness from the mundane and the sublime.
Aaron Henderson’s videos and installations examine the ways that humans move. He is interested in the cultural and political ramifications of all action, from intimate gestures to displays of super-human acrobatics. His most recent project documents individuals and groups rehearsing in public.
Well acquainted with movement, he threw himself into walls and off of platforms for STREB Extreme Action, an acrobatic performance company from 2002-6. His videos, installations and projection designs have been presented at Lincoln Center, the Wexner Center and many other theaters, colleges and festivals across the world. These projects were aided by NYSCA and Creative Capital MAP grants.
Aaron co-founded LOSTWAX, an East Coast multimedia dance company creating fusions of performance and projection, and created the International Thought Exchange, a now defunct mail art organization.
Currently, Aaron is an Assistant Professor in the Studio Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh.
Often through a dissection of architectural space, Faye Mullen employs the body to speculate theories concerning loss, lack and limitation. Her work has been informed by a sculptural practice and is often combined with performance, video and installation. Her phenomenological investigations of absence and presence are articulated through durational and poetic imagery.
Mullen (1987-) was born in the Niagara Region, Canada. She studied studio art with an emphasis in sculpture at l’école National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto as well as the University of Toronto, where she received her Masters. Mullen has exhibited internationally in solo and curated group exhibitions in France, South Korea, USA, Australia, Canada and has participated in international artist residencies in Alma, Berlin, Buffalo, Marnay-sur-Seine, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Wongil and on the Toronto islands.
Through visual articulations, Mullen aims to explore what is not and what is no longer.
Please join us on July 5th for the next EiM Gallery opening, "White Noise Syndrome", featuring the work of Karen Abel (Toronto) and Baccara Collaborative (Maureen Cooper and Madeline Bailey - Chicago). Full details are after the jump, and please note the slightly-later-than-normal hours, because it's summer, and we like to stay out late.
White Noise Syndrome
Electricity is Magic Gallery
Thursday 5th July 2012
8pm - Midnight
Exhibition hours by appointment to July 22
White Noise Syndrome. Fungus, mistaken identities, bats, makeup, chrome. We at EiM are extremely excited to have three of our favourite artists transform our space alternatively into a cave and a playground for identity, space, and place. Karen Abel will be presenting her installation Hibernaculum, and Baccara (Maurene Cooper and Madeline Bailey) will be visiting us from Chicago to present a series of works that deal directly with the space and context of our uniquely home-y gallery.
Karen Abel is a Canadian artist and naturalist based in Toronto. She creates site-sensitive installation and public art works that consider, engage and accommodate 21st century urban ecology and biodiversity. Karen has received awards in support of contemporary ecological art projects including Ontario Arts Council grants for art gardens with the Ontario Science Centre and Walpole Island First Nation. karenabel.ca
Baccara is the collaboration between Madeleine Bailey and Helen Maurene Cooper.
Born out of the extended and often-hilarious confusion between their artistic identities,
Baccara is a Chicago-based female duo that produces photographs, works on paper,
performance and video embracing artifice and the absurd through childhood games
and sexual parody. Bailey and Cooper both hold their MFAs from the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago, and have shown their work both independently and as part of
Baccara at national and international venues. Most recently, Baccara participated in
the Pecha Kucha event at Los Caminos Gallery in St. Louis, MO, and this summer the
redheaded dragon will be on tour for a site-specific exhibition at Electricity is Magic
Gallery (EiM) in Toronto, ON. baccara-collaborative.com
Latent Players - Jenal Dolson / Max Alexander - June 30
Max Alexander will be participating in a two-person show on June 30th with the wonderful Toronto painter Jenal Dolson. He will be performing a new durational piece, primarily featuring conversations between him and Dolson. The show has been organized by the really cool folks of Studio Beluga.
Full press release after the jump.
Latent Players –
A Studio Béluga Pop-Up Exhibit
Featuring work by Jenal Dolson and Max Alexander
Saturday June 30th 2012 at 7pm
Laneway west of Ossington Ave. and Harbord St. Toronto, Ontario
Curated by and Alina Maizel, Anastasia Hare & Stephanie D’Amico
(Toronto, June 18th 2012) Latent Players is an art exhibit that takes place in a garage studio refashioned into a gallery space by Studio Béluga. Showcasing a selection of recent paintings by Jenal Dolson and a live audio performance by Max Alexander, the exhibit creates an exchange between art forms and pushes latent influences to the forefront.
Drawing from the immensity of nature, Dolson reduces landscapes into abstract forms, revealing shapes and characters that lie within. In her process she investigates the qualities of her material in various climatic conditions, creating tensions between sleek plasticity and arid cracking.
In a live audio performance on the opening night of the exhibit, Alexander will respond to Dolson’s paintings by combining pieces of his earlier digital audio works with the morphed sounds of music, voice and instrument recordings. The long ambient piece will transition into fixed form as it will be recorded to play in dialogue with Dolson’s paintings for the duration of the exhibit.
We invite you to join us on Saturday, June 30th at 7pm in the laneway west of the intersection of Ossington Ave. and Harbord St. to celebrate Jenal Dolson and Max Alexander’s practices, and the dynamism within their pairing.
Studio Béluga is a collectively run art space currently located in the heart of the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal, Québec. Established with the goal of facilitating artists and curators, and forming a self-pedagogical creative community, this non-profit organization strives to generate new opportunities and foster collaborations across disciplines through programming that includes thematic exhibitions, residencies, and public events. Latent Players is Studio Béluga’s inaugural Pop-Up, marking the beginning of its transition into a nomadic arts organization. The Board of Directors are: Jessa Alston-O’Connor, Stephanie D’Amico, Anastasia Hare, Adam Harvie, Natalia Lebedinskaia, Lucie Lederhendler, Alina Maizel and Sarah Wilkinson.
"Listeners Guide to the Saskatchewan Grid Road Map" is Released!
Friends! It's here. Eric Powell's magnificent and magestic new record, "Listeners Guide to the Saskatchewan Grid Road Map". You can listen to it here, and if you'd like to get your hands on a physical copy, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to "Hwy 11 Chamberlain-Regina" after the jump.
Sean Smith / Department of Biological Flow
24 May 2012, 7pm - 11pm
715 Richmond St. W.
Sam Lowry: My name's Lowry. Sam Lowry. I've been told to report to Mr. Warrenn. Porter - Information Retrieval: Thirtieth floor, sir. You're expected. Sam Lowry: Um... don't you want to search me? Porter - Information Retrieval: No sir. Sam Lowry: Do you want to see my ID? Porter - Information Retrieval: No need, sir. Sam Lowry: But I could be anybody. Porter - Information Retrieval: No you couldn't sir. This is Information Retrieval.
Lee Blalock is an interdisciplinary artist working with ideas of self-similarity, repetition and post-humanism. For object and image based work, this idea is translated as replication. For sound work, it is expressed through the use of the loop and the chorus. Her sound practice also extends to a radio show, Brkn Concrete, which broadcasts every Monday at 10pm (CST) on NUMBERS.FM. Performance work is often generative, relying on repetitive behavior and actions. Drawing from training in both martial arts and dance, Lee's movement practice seeks to break convention and find new vocabulary for the 'future' body. Lee's work describes the 'amplified' human, destroying the existing framework of identity and replacing it with the re-engineered body. In all cases, the work is often binary, mechanical, even defensive. Lee recently received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is a part-time Instructor. Her studio is near the West Town neighborhood in Chicago where she has both an art and graphic design practice. leeblalock.com
LAUREN HALL has exhibited her work nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery; CAFKA; YYZ Artists' Inc, Toronto; Modern Fuel, Kingston; Artspace, Peterborough; and Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin. She is the recipient of emerging artist grants from Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. Reviews of her work have appeared in Canadian Art Online, The Toronto Star, Magenta Magazine, and The Globe and Mail. She lives in Toronto. www.lauren-hall.com
Sean Smith / Department of Biological Flow
The Department of Biological Flow is an ongoing experimental dialogue of research-creation between Sean Smith and Barbara Fornssler. Spanning performance, installation, text, image, poetry and motion capture, our consideration of biological flow attempts to develop processes that have just ceased to be fragile enough for one's imagination to take over and build upon the framework. Everything more or less falls apart, eventually.
At long last, the opening of the EiM Gallery in Toronto, Ontario, is close at hand. On Thursday, April 26th, from 7pm to 11pm, we will be presenting "Or a Motel", our show which features four tremendous and exciting artists, exploring themes of minimalism, repetition & ritual.
Our new home is at 715 Richmond St West. If you are in town, please do stop by. If you are in town, but not that night, let us know, as gallery hours will be by appointment for the three weeks following the opening. If you're not in town, stay up-to-date using our Facebook page, which will have images of the opening. (Feel free to like us, while you're there.)
A huge debt of gratitude, also, to the expanded Electricity is Magic team, without whom this endeavour would have been impossible.
Electricity is Magic is proud to present the inaugural show of the EiM Gallery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Opening: April 26, 2012, 7pm - 11pm
Gallery Hours: By Appointment until May 20
715 Richmond St. W.
“Or a Motel”
“Or a Motel” : repeats, pauses, stalls, repeats, calls for attention, calls to attention, waits, baits, switches, repeats, asks, asks for slowness, asks for patience, asks for attention.
Juliana Pivato holds an MFA in Sculpture from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009), a BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University (2003) and a BMus from McGill University (1998). She has had solo exhibitions at the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie) and Division Gallery (Montreal) and has been part of numerous group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Italy. From 2007–2009 she was the creator and host of Song from the Loop, a weekly experimental radio show on freeradiosaic.org in Chicago. Juliana lives and works in Toronto and is currently an instructor in the Department of
Humanities at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Jeff Tutt is a 2011 recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, he holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, and he was a finalist for western Canada in the 2003 RBC Painting Competition. Tutt's work explores the tropes of individual emotional expression amidst the absurdity of twenty-first century life. Drawing on everything from classical geometry to the Muppets, Jeff's paintings are at once comedic and contemplative. This reductive work, on the surface, is designed to be taken in at a glance but will benefit from sustained scrutiny – paradox is at the heart of Tutt's practice. Jeff Tutt can make a painting with one line.
When I worked in the tech world, I thought of an interface being a clean layer between the user and the technology being used. As an artist, I realized that this idea of an interface being a distinct boundary completely breaks down. In using technology to make art, I was surprised to discover to what extent technology conditioned my behavior and perceptions. By spending years mastering technology and repeatedly interfacing with it, I was unknowingly shaped by it. Currently in my artistic practice, I am writing software which involves repetitive interactions with the computer to both investigate and bring awareness to this power relationship. It is unclear if I am controlling the computer through the interface or if it is controlling me.
The definition of good user interface design is uncannily similar to Foucault's concept of governmentality, which describes the way governments use techniques to produce citizens best suited to fulfill those governments' policies. Good interface design empowers the user to effortlessly accomplish some goal without drawing any attention to itself. While it is empowering the user to harness complex technologies to do useful tasks, it is at the same time guiding (even controlling) the user's behavior and thoughts. Ideally, the user does not think about the interface at all, only about accomplishing their goal successfully. Currently, this new form of governmentality is not the creation of a defined group, but it is emergent from the culture of the tech world. It emerges from many small decisions, often seemingly unimportant, by the many well-intentioned designers and engineers only trying to do their best with whatever feature for which they are responsible.
While I am able to view technology critically, I am not at all suggesting we should reject technology altogether. I remain passionate about engineering and design, and I still believe that technology has the potential to have a huge, positive impact on the world. The question becomes this: now that I have recognized the overwhelming power of technology to dictate our behavior, what will I do with this knowledge? How can I bring awareness to how we are conditioned by the technologies we use and its potential dangers? In the cases where I feel this is already happening in a negative way, is it possible for me to circumvent or subvert that through what I make? How do I apply this awareness to ethically design new technologies that give users a genuine sense of agency? And, finally, how can I encourage others to do the same?
Luke Munn is an interdisciplinary artist based in Berlin with work focusing on the immaterial – sound, movement, memory, light and other media – using the body and code, objects and performances to activate relationships and responses. His projects have featured in the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Electrosmog Festival, Causey Contemporary Brooklyn, Q-O2 Brussels, and Laborsonor Berlin, with commissions from Aotearoa Digital Arts, Creative New Zealand and TERMINAL and performances in Paris, Dublin, Chicago, Berlin, Auckland, and New York.
EiM Gallery - Call for Works
Dear friends, we're happy to announce our first Call for Works for the soon-to-be-opening Electricity is Magic Gallery in Toronto. We're looking for artists and curators to propose works and shows which can live and breathe in our apartment space. Full details after the jump, and also on our Gallery page.
As we plan our 2012 season, we invite submissions from individual artists, collectives, or curators to submit proposals for the EiM Gallery. Our space is non-traditional, and as such, we have some unique parameters for artists to contend with. Our presentation spaces are as follows:
- The Blue Wall. appx. 5m x 2.5m, appropriate for any wall-based works. These works should probably look good on blue.
- The Scrim. appx. .7m x 1m, hole in a wall between two rooms, covered with a scrim. This space will be used primarily for video works. The Scrim is viewable from both sides, a fact which should be considered when proposing works.
- The Dining Room. our dining room comes completely empty, and is appx. 4m x 3m. This space can be used for a large sculptural work, installations, performances, audio work, etc.
- The Backyard. we have a small, unkempt, mostly concrete-covered backyard, which, legend has it, has a pond hidden somewhere underneath the concrete and planks of wood. There is a large brick wall at the back of the yard, and four steps leading down from the house. This space is appropriate for installations, performances, sculptures, etc.
- The Basement. We have a large, poorly-lit, unfinished basement. This space is appropriate for installations, performances, sculptures, audio work, etc.
When applying, please include:
1) A description of the proposed piece(s), including proposed presentation space
3) Appropriate links, including website, images, publications, etc.
4) If the work you are proposing a new piece, any appropriate diagrams, etc.
5) Dimensions, durations and technical requirements of the proposed piece.
6) If the work has been presented previously, please include details as to where and
An intimate and haunting glimpse into an emotive reinterpretation of an ancient mystical practice performed by traditionally trained Mevlevi whirling dervish Raqib Brian Burke of the Open Secret School of Whirling and Canadian soundscape artist Eric Powell accompanied by a visual composition by artist and dervish Mira Hunter. Eric will create music using acoustic instruments recorded live into harmonies as Raqib translates them into movement through a 13th century lens. Every Room has its own voice, hiding there until it is made visible.
Chorégraphe : Mira Hunter
Interprète : Raqib Brian Burke
Artiste sonore : Eric Powell
Happy Holidays from EiM - Plus Two New Releases
We are proud to announce the release of two records: Eric Powell's Under Singing Skies and Max Alexander's Exit Strategy: Selections from Chicago 2007 - 2011. Both are available for PWYW (pay what you want) at Eric and Max's respective sites. After the jump, check out a track from each, and also give a look at our Holiday Newsletter.
Thanks for a wonderful year, everyone. See you in 2012!
It’s been quite a year of excitement and adventure here at Electricity is Magic; much of it was unexpected, but most of it was wonderful. We started the year based out of Chicago and Regina, and ended it based out of Toronto and Montreal. As such, we were forced to bid some (temporary) adieus, but we’ve met some amazing new friends along the way.
Our programming this year was exciting, challenging, and diverse. Some highlights included our “Dissecting the Mediator” show at Jennifer Norback Fine Art in Chicago, featuring Nigel Taylor delivering an astonishing set for solo trumpet, Daniel Arkfeld performing Max Alexander’s “Fast Hearts” (the first performance of the piece in four years), and Eric Powell’s historic world premiere of his piece for bassoon and breathalyzer.
We also performed with the inimitable Campbell Foster as the Nouveau Futurist Art of Noise Orchestra in Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, transforming two trucks and one 30-foot sculpture into playable feedback instruments. A special thanks goes out to the amazing group of artists who joined us for that piece, including Lee Blalock, John Puciele, Tyler Hagan, Lana Gorlitz & Meghan Armstrong.
In May, we released Max Alexander’s “Ornament & Crime”, his fourth full-length record (and second on EiM). And along with this email, we’re proud to announce not one but TWO end-of-year gifts! The first is Eric Powell’s “Under Singing Skies”, an EP song suite commissioned by the Saskatchewan Arts Council in 2010; the second is Max Alexander’s “Exit Strategy: Selections from Chicago 2007-2011”, including soundtrack work, b-sides, and other unreleased material.
As proud as we are of the work we’ve done in 2011, we’re even more excited about 2012. We have an ambitious agenda, including the opening of the Electricity is Magic Gallery in Toronto, and new releases from Nigel Taylor and Max Alexander. There will be many details in the months to come, so check electricityismagic.com often for updates.
Thank you fellow artists, friends, collaborators, for your continued support. We really had a blast this year, and it meant so much seeing you at the shows, or hearing your feedback on the music, or high-fiving us when we pass you in street.
All the best over the holidays, and enjoy the new music!
The EiM Team
(Another) Audio Installation with work from Eric Powell opens in Hamilton
Soul of the Street, an interactive multimedia installation and performance, opened last weekend as part of Hamilton's magnificent Supercrawl event. We were a bit slow to the trigger in announcing it, but it'll be up for the next few weeks. Eric was the audio engineer for a number of the installations. Full details after the jump.
Soul of the Street is a dynamic presentation of new media technologies integrated with installation artwork fused with live improvisational performances to create a distinct form of living archive and landscape, an interactive experience created by media and performance artists.
During Supercrawl 2011, audiences follow the SOS Map on Iphones, cellphones and Blackberries to discover the Squatters assembling Shantytown, track a roaming Squatter Minstral, and journey to multiple presentation nodes to discover film & video and audioscape implants on the street.
Live videotape of the improvisational performance of Shantytown: The Squatters at Supercrawl 2011 will be projected back onto the shacks and environs superimposed onto subsequent performances over the exhibition term building layered visual sequences to the Shantytown installation.
On completion of the exhibition, a videotaped version of the integration–live performances and projections will be posted to the website—another layer of virtual exhibition. The inter-disciplinary nature of Soul of the Street – media, installation and performance arts creates a synergistic experience for the Artists, audiences, and the cultural community at large.
Audio Installation with work from Eric Powell opens in Hamilton
ARTASIA: Children's Voices Site Specific Sound Installation project is a new work by Victoria Fenner, which couldn't exist without the substantial talents of EiM's own Eric Powell. At 5 locations throughout Hamilton, you can visit Sonotubes constructed by Eric, featuring the voices of the children of Hamilton. The exhibition runs through October 2. Full details after the jump.
"This year, the children of Artasia are going beyond what they see in their communities. They're also paying attention to what they hear. Acoustic (Sound) Ecology is all about listening to the environment we live in. Sound artist Victoria Fenner has worked with children in five Artasia sites this summer to show them how to become Sound Ecologists. She has recorded soundmaking and listening sessions with the children and used these recordings to create special sound art compositions. Eric Powell is also a sound artist. He is known for his innovative uses of technology for sound installations and performances. He joins us this summer from Regina, Saskatchewan.
The first movement, 'what do you hear in your neighbourhood?', explores what the children hear in their neighbourhood every day. 'What would like to change in your neighbourhood?' is the second movement and is a conversation exploring what they like about their communities, and what they want to change. The third movement, 'what do you imagine in your neighbourhood?' is a flight of fantasy, reflecting an imaginary world where the children would like to live.
The five locations:
Wesley Urban Ministries
155 Queen Street North
YMCA - Jamesville Community Centre
209 MacNab Street North
460 Wentworth North
Boys and Girls Club
45 Ellis Avenue
47 Ottawa Street South
As a little bonus, here's a piece by Eric:
Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium
Catch both Matt Griffin and Eric Powell present papers at this year's Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, starting Wednesday, 9 August, and continuing through Saturday. They'll both be featured in Paper Session 6: Curation on Saturday afternoon. Matt will also be presenting a piece, "Make New Human", on Friday's listening session. Check out the full schedule of events here. Details on Matt and Eric's papers, as well as a preview of "Make New Human", after the jump.
Paper Session #6: Curation, chaired by Bentley Jarvis
Saturday, August 13th
We Built Ourselves a Ghetto: An Analysis of Curatorial Practices in Electroacoustic Music
by Matthew Griffin
The notion of the Electroacoustic Concert bases itself on a single and simple premise: that we, as a group or as a collective, should listen to audio art that was specifically created to sound ideal played through an array of speakers. There is nothing inherently incorrect about this premise. In fact, this premise is rather magnificent. We should note the suggested democracy in such a premise: any audio, without respect for musical or social context, can be experienced on a formal level in the Electroacoustic Concert. However, the fundamental problem is that this simply doesn’t happen. There are covert parameters placed on that which is appropriate for such a listening context. To which one must say: fair enough. If these additional parameters exist within a genre of listening contexts, they must serve some aesthetic purpose, some way of furthering a pursuit of the audio arts that would be compromised if corrupted. However, this paper will argue that that is not the case at all. In fact, the notion of the Electroacoustic Concert effectively denies the necessary genre dialogue that would allow electroacoustic music to grow, expand, and change.
This dialogue, though, absolutely exists, though largely through other genres listening to and gleaning many fascinating compositional and studio techniques from electroacoustic music. Specifically, the work of David Toop and Paul Hegarty take a broad view of studio-based composition and frame in such a way that electroacoustic composition can and should be respected within and dialoguing with a larger scope of contemporary audio art, and this paper will propose that a more contemporary view of the Electroacoustic Concert should include a broader range of compositions to facilitate this dialogue.
Broadly, there will be a proposal that certain subsets of contemporary acoustic compositions, dance music, hip-hop, and pop music strive for the same goals as those sought after in electroacoustic music, and further that those genres are already in dialogue with the practice, and thus should be engaged accordingly. Specifically, this paper will go in to detail discussing what it means for audio to be conceived for the speaker, parsing those attributes in the above genres which can be seen as in dialogue with electroacoustic music, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that, to properly contextually asses various musics, the musical compositional motivation and acoustic compositional motivation can and should be viewed independently.
The goal, as ever in electroacoustic music, is to be those who are truly listening, to that which extends beyond social context, and can effectively judge that which is an effective (and affective) use of the tools and techniques which can generate some sort of aesthetic change through audio art. The Electroacoustic Concert, from a curatorial standpoint, can be seen as a gesture of sharing; that there is a moment of collectivity presented, in which the collective shares a unique acoustic experience. But this simple artistic gesture can include a much more sophisticated dialogue than it currently does. From where we now stand, we’re inside a self-made ghetto, and it’s only through a more democratic curatorial vision that we can get out.
Matthew Griffin is a musician and composer from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada now living and working in Chicago. He got his BFA from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to his work with Electricity is Magic, he is the Audio Curator with LiveBox Gallery. His recent exhibitions include a commission from the Experimental Sound Studio’s Florasonic audio installation series at the Lincoln Park Conservatory; his audiovisual work “Empire” showed in Seoul, South Korea as part of the [chicago] group exhibition presented by Prak-Sis Contemporary Art Association; and he premiered his new piece for Solo Trombone and car stereos, “Second Line for We”, in December.
by Steven Naylor
This paper explores some of the ways ageism may appear in the practice and study of electroacoustic music. Its perspective is rooted in direct involvement in the subject area, similar to participantobservation work. However, the analysis is not objective ethnography or sociology. Rather, it is fundamentally a series of subjective observations and reflections about an area of artistic practice of personal importance to the author. In its broadest sense, ageism is discrimination based on age. Originally associated with prejudice towards the elderly, the term is increasingly applied to any situation where a group or individual’s competence, desirability, acceptance, or skill is assessed primarily (and presumably unfairly) on the basis of length or stage of life — whether young or old — rather than pragmatic criteria. To fully understand the potential range of ageism in electroacoustic music, we must extend that definition to include not only a priori assessments of artists and scholars based on their chronological age, but also pre-judgements of the techniques and technologies they use, and of the stylistic trends or approaches evident in their work. Its impact in those additional areas is amplified both by the accelerating pace of information dissemination, and by frequent shifts in our technological and stylistic expectations. This extended definition provides us with three distinct, though ultimately interlinked, categories of ageism to consider: chronological; technological; and stylistic. We consider these manifestations of ageism from two complementary pairs of perspectives: internal vs. external assessment, and inclusionary vs. exclusionary group behaviour.
Steven Naylor composes electroacoustic and instrumental concert music, performs (piano, electronics, seljefløyte) in ensembles concerned with collective creation, through-composition, and improvisation, and creates scores and sound designs for theatre, film, television and radio. His electroacoustic works have been performed in festivals and concerts in Canada, UK, France, Brazil, Australia, and USA, and broadcast on radio and over the internet. Naylor is the artistic director of the recently formed subText Ensemble (2009), a group that combines instrumental and electroacoustic resources in throughcomposed and improvised music. He is a former president of the CEC, and co-founder/co-artistic director of the Oscillations Festival of Electroacoustic Music in Nova Scotia. Steven Naylor completed the PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is presently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Music at Acadia University, and resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Further information: www.sonicart.ca
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and… an acousmatic composition? An analysis of contemporary cross-sensory curatorial and presentation practices in electroacoustic art music
by Eric Powell
Public presentations of electroacoustic art (EA) music exist in a wide range of formats – from simple studio-based show-and-tells, to low-key happenings in gritty artist-run venues, to technically elaborate multi-channel concert hall performances. Regardless of venue, there is a growing interest in creating a sense of the presentation existing as an ‘event,’ moving beyond the basic audience/performer, ear/loudspeaker relationships to one that brings the listener into an active role in the performance, integrating elements of cross- or multi-sensory perception. This practice is becoming increasingly popular in visual and contemporary art, with a large number of artists integrating olfactory elements into their installations including Koo Jeong A & Bruno Jovanovik, Haegue Yang, and Federico Diaz (ARTnews, March 2011).
I am interested in documenting the growing number of EA concert events that combine sound with chemosensory elements (taste and smell). Since 2009 the number of EA presentations that have featured a curated concert with specially selected wine, food or liquor pairings to accompany each piece has grown rapidly. By combining elements of performance theory, sensory perception, wine culture and electroacoustic listening practices, this paper examines 5 recent public presentations in Canada and the USA that have combined food, drink and sound to create a cross-sensory concert experience: the Experimental Sound Studio’s Vinosonic I and II, Holophon’s Wine & JTTP-based Friend-raiser, their presentation of 60x60 at the Bushwakker Brew Pub, as well as Julia Miller’s Articular Facet 3. These events will serve as case studies for this paper, with comparisons made to other cross-sensory installations and presentations from artists working across contemporary art disciplines.
In addition to outlining contemporary electroacoustic music listening practices, presentation strategies and curatorial methodologies, I will outline the difficulties and rewards of attempting to curate a multi-sensory presentation environment, as well as outlining the strategies curators and composers have employed to impose or obscure meaning in the perceptual cross-talk between chemo- and vibratory-sensation. Using curatorial statements, artist interviews, audience feedback and first-person recollections, this paper outlines both how composers have created work for a particular sensory combination and to the methods employed by curators when they make their choices to combine certain sounds and flavours. I will also examine wine-tasting practices, terminology and the role of sommeliers in the curatorial process. I aim to determine whether this quasi-synesthetic curatorial model has value in enhancing the perception of both sound and taste. Is this a sustainable method of EA concert curation, or is the offer of wine or liquor simply a ploy to encourage the normally reserved elecroacoustic concert-going audiences to show up to an event? Other considerations will be brought into these case studies, including the importance of venue selection, and how these events differ from a popular music experience in a bar or restaurant. The final component of this paper will look to the future of this cross-sensory practice. Can these events bring in new audiences – further developing the appreciation of EA music in a long-term, sustainable way, or is this a flash-in–thepan, a momentary affinity for a new or unusual concert experience?
Eric Powell is a sound artist and composer working with a wide variety of presentation methods including stereo and multi-channel tape, live performance with integrated electronics, as well as site-specific and interactive installations. In 2008 he received his MFA in electroacoustic composition from Simon Fraser University. Recently, he was commissioned by the Saskatchewan Arts Board to write a piece for multi-channel tape and chamber ensemble exploring the aural character of Saskatchewan. His work has been heard throughout Canada, Mexico and the USA with recent presentations at Toronto’s New Adventures in Sound Art, Hamilton’s James Street North Art Crawl, the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago and the CanAsian Dance Festival in Toronto. He is a founding member of the Saskatchewan-based Holophon Audio Arts organization, and co-founder of electricity is magic — two groups dedicated to the creation and presentation of sound-as-art.
Davy Bisaro is proud to present "Fearful Ghost: The Duel", a reworking of her solo dance piece "Fearful Ghost of Former Bloom". The piece will conclude the June Artspin event, a bicycling tour of galleries and performances on Toronto's West Side.
The evening will begin at 6:30 at the gates of Trinity Bellwoods park, and conclude at The Shaw Street School Building, where "Fearful Ghost" will be performed.
Choreography: Davy Bisaro
Music: Max Alexander
Movers: Davy Bisaro & Miko Jones Sobreira
Players: Max Alexander, David Schotzko, Chris Aslandis, Lauren Hall, Ryan Wilding
"This Thursday June 30th come out and join us for our first tour of the season! We meet at the gates Trinity Bellwoods Park between 6:30 and 7pm, and ride out from there!"
Check out some performance images and videos from "Dissecting the Mediator", last Friday at Jennifer Norback Fine Art. There's Daniel Arkfeld playing Max Alexander's "Fast Hearts", Nigel Taylor playing "Things & Stuff and Stuff & Things", and Eric Powell playing "Short Chaser", the world's first piece for bassoon and breathalyzer. More after the jump.
Part 1 (including a protracted introduction - I'd recommend starting at about 90 minutes in...):
"Dissecting the Mediator", an evening of electroacoustic works by Max Alexander, Nigel Taylor, Eric Powell, and Sound Collision Alliance which explores the relationship between the acoustic and the digital in contemporary music performance.
Max will be presenting a piece of fixed tape and improvised instrumental; Nigel will be performing solo trumpet w/ amplifier; Eric will be digitally processing his solo bassoon playing using a breathalyzer; SCA will be improvising with electronics and a digital third member.
Each artist's unique approach will be presented, followed by a Q&A regarding the work.
Max is a musician and composer from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada now living and working in Chicago. He got his BFA from Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts and his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to his work with Electricity is Magic, he is the Audio Curator with LiveBox Gallery. His recent exhibitions include a commission from the Experimental Sound Studio's Florasonic audio installation series at the Lincoln Park Conservatory; his audiovisual work "Empire" showed in Seoul, South Korea as part of the [chicago] group exhibition presented by Prak-Sis Contemporary Art Association; and he premiered his new piece for Solo Trombone and car stereos, "Second Line for We", in December.
Sound Collision Alliance is a group of three composers brought together by their shared interest in exploring the world outside of the Western classical conservatory style of sound creation (where they were studying when they met). Now in an undefined sound realm, the SCA rarely discusses melodic or harmonic structure in preparing for performances. Instead, they use improvisation as a vehicle to investigate the interplay of sound. Through experimenting with the spatial, harmonic, and chronological elements of sound, SCA members seek to provide themselves—and the audience—with a forum to experience vibrations and resonance in an uninhibited environment.
Nigel Taylor is a trumpet player and composer based in Boston. He was brought up in the orchestral tradition and held the position of assistant principal trumpet with the Regina symphony orchestra from 2003-2009. In 2009 he resigned his position to further explore post jazz forms of improvised music and contemporary composition at the New England Conservatory. The past two years he has performed and recorded with Boston based groups, 'Joint Raker' and 'Elbow Room' as well as with 'Survivor's Breakfast' where he will be featured on an upcoming 'Tzadic' release by NYC's downtown stalwart, Anthony Coleman.
Eric Powell is a sound artist and composer working with a wide variety of presentation methods including stereo and multi-channel tape, live performance with integrated electronics, as well as site-specific and interactive installations. In 2008 he received his MFA in electroacoustic composition from Simon Fraser University. His work has been heard throughout Canada, Mexico and the USA with recent presentations at Toronto’s New Adventures in Sound Art, Hamilton’s James Street North Art Crawl, the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago and the CanAsian Dance Festival in Toronto.
We've got images of Max, Eric, Justyn, Zach, and Natalie performing at ThreeWalls Gallery 18.03.11. More after the jump.
On March 18, Max and Eric both performed at ThreeWalls gallery in Chicago for Subtitles III, presented by LiveBox Gallery. After the jump, you can listen to Max's performance, which included text by Paul Hegedus, from his book "In Stereo".
Listen to "In Stereo Live @ ThreeWalls":
Also, head over to Book Thug to purchase a copy of Paul's wonderful collection.
Eric Powell has started a new website so you can listen to his music! Head over to his brand new Bandcamp site to listen to his new, digital-only release, "Take the Long Way Round".
The evening begins at 6:30 with a sound experience by Max Alexander.
Max Alexander has shown around the world, from Takaka Hill, New Zealand, to Regina, Saskatchewan. Also known as Matt Griffin, he runs the experimental music record label Electricity is Magic. He has curated programs for the Experimental Sound Studio, The West Coast Composers Symposium, the Two Can Play at That Game Festival (Chicago).
Later in the evening, Max teams up with Eric Powell for a live improvisational performance.
Eric Powell is a multidisciplinary artist working with the interrelationship between space, place and sound. This work has found him integrating immersive soundscapes, live musical composition, theater and dance. In addition to multi-channel electroacoustic compositions, he has created sound and music for several theatrical productions and gallery installations. In 2008, Eric installed sound.garden.scape: Gastown, an interactive short-range FM piece mapping Vancouver's Gastown area into the VIVO Media Arts Centre using portable FM radios.
We are very excited to announce the Literary participants for the night: Zach Dodson, Natalie Edwards and Justyn Harkin.
Zach Dodson’s hybrid typo/graphic novel, boring boring boring boring boring boring boring, came out last year under the nom de plume Zach Plague. He hosts The Show N’ Tell Show. His writing has appeared in The2ndHand, ACM, Take the Handle, and Proximity Magazine. Zach Dodson is the creative mind behind featherproof books, bleached whale design studio, and the Show 'n Tell Design Show.
Natalie Edwards once worked at an Australian indoor theme park, but now writes about art. You can find her fiction in the Chicago Reader, theRumpus.net, Mcsweeney’s Internet Tendency, and on TripleQuick Fiction. What to expect on Friday night: one piece is going to be about fruit and bassoons, and one is going to be about dub music and sound poetry, kind of animal remixes. Reading: “Animal Remix”
Justyn Harkin lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. His work has appeared in Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, and The Angler. He also has a cat, Frida, who knows you just might meet her on Friday.
We are proud to announce the release of EiM003, Max Alexander's "Ornament and Crime".
Written and recorded in the Summer of 2009, this long-gestating work features 10 tracks, including "The Frosted Glass/Scotch Tape Trick", which was choregraphed for by Davy Bisaro and Lee Blalock, and "I Was a Headphone Walker", which premiered at the first Vinosonic event in 2009, co-produced by Electricity is Magic and The Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. Guest musicians include Luke Griffin on Tenor Saxophone on "Frosted Glass" and "Synonumeral", Galen Elfert on Drums on "One Hundred Bees", and Owen Pallett on "Make New Human" (but we're pretty sure he doesn't know about it - feel free to tell him if you see him.).
Sonically, "Ornament and Crime" takes its materials from a wide variety of sources, including hijacked internet feeds ("Make New Human"), web-based tone generators ("The Abortionists of Unity are Indeed Angel Makers") and unauthorized hip-hop samples ("Synonumeral"). You can download the album here, free for a very temporary period.