Presented by Decoy Gallery (curated: Freya Zinovieff and edited: Laura Marsden; web/interactive design: Sylvana d’Angelo).
This project commissioned 5 artists to create sound-for-web works exploring COVID and embodied experience of gender and domesticity. I immediately connected this prompt to my work on Invisible Institutions, where I was learning the political dimensions of my elders’ deaths in medical/long-term “care” institutions during COVID.
I created 4-channel web installation drawing on audio interviews with my Oma, electroacoustic composition, and soundscape. All 4 channels play at the same time, but the listener must choose which one to hear; moving the mouse across the page will switch tracks. The tracks do not pause or rewind; to hear what you missed, you must start over.
The full project:
Meh: The Museum of Extratemporal Harkening
There’s much for me write and reflect about this work, which I’d like to do when I have the time. In short, the project was a chance to explore a space and architecture deeply (VPL), through a sense of wonder. Our creation circled how imaginings of utopian possibilities can be activated and enhanced by attending to sound .
My collaborator Brady Marks and I approached this as an experiment. It is somewhere between transmedia, soundwalking, gaming, and make-believe. Participant-players follow real-world prompts and then activate appropriate QR codes in the zine, which lead to audio and visual information online. The real-world locations and vantage points interact (imaginatively) with the bits of fiction that are “released” with each prompt.
Our project writer, Tash McAdam, created a lovely piece of speculative fiction whose pieces can be experienced in any order. Our sonic creations and listening prompts further mapped out that fictional space, and local voice actors helped bring the characters to life.
The experience is designed to be elliptical — something you can chip away at by playing detective. Trial and error is your friend. The process can be frustrating and confusing (don’t worry, we are still playing with that balance for future iterations) — but the struggle does lead to sweeter rewards.
Link here: https://mehportal.com/
Useless Eaters Cabaret: Prairie Exchange Theatre/Sick and Twisted
I was thrilled to compose a soundscape piece for choreography using sounds I developed for Megan Linton’s Invisible Institutions project. THE STALEST BREAD—DINING ON THE LIGHT OF A MIND OR HER TWO HALVES was commissioned for the Useless Eaters Cabaret by Sick and Twisted and premiered at Prairie Exchange Theatre in June 2022. Creative direction by Megan Q Linton, choreography by Ali Robson, and dance by Dianna Rasing.
One note (not to be too persnickety!): a small mix-up means the version of the composition that played live in the theatre is slightly different than the one streamed for the broadcast (the latter is what appears in the YouTube link). It’s not a huge difference, but I mention it because a heartbeat is missing! Please imagine it for now.
(video should open at 23:18, which is the start of the piece)
The Place of Sound take-over
My recent takeover for the Place of Sound is available to stream. It’s part of a series by the Urban Imaginary Project, which is based out of Carlton University’s School of Communication and School of Design and created by Vincent Andrisani and Chiara Del Gaudio
Invisible Institutions Podcast
This project was one of the most challenging, educational, fulfilling, and heart-breaking I have had the privilege to work on. It helped me to politicize what elders with disability in my family were going through and it stretched me as a sound designer.
Working with the amazing Megan Linton, I was the sole sound designer and audio editor. Megan’s research is incredible and powerfully important — I recommend checking out her writing, research, appearances, etc. immediately! Megan’s work is also sprawling across history, documentary items, interviews, personal narrative, and more. Part of my job was working to help this all flow and fit together, to keep pace — in short, to work from the sound storytelling point of view. Megan not only considered my (unsolicited) responses to the script, but collaborated to enhance the story. I was grateful that Megan cared deeply about sound and was open to exploring the audio dimension beyond the spoken narrative.
At the same time, I produced the sound/editing for the entire first season with a ruptured eardrum, as I waited almost a year for my tympanoplasty surgery. This meant I could not hear low end sounds at all in one ear (i.e., cannot easily assess bass levels), could not hear spatial audio or panning, and was suffering from audio distortions and interference inside my own ear — buzzing and snapping, hissing, what sound like vinyl scratches.
The limitations of my hearing during the production meant I had to go slowly and submit work that was less polished than my best in terms of levels. At the same time, my mind was being blown by the voices telling their lived stories of living in the bleak, dehumanizing underbelly of our society that exists in the form of long-term institutions.
The project also bridged my previous interest in how populism and violence are cultivated by our very own institutions and social structures, since surprise, surprise, institutionalization is linked with eugenics and other forms of extreme dehumanization.
I’m excited to say that season two is coming later in 2023. This time, I’m coming in with my eardrum repaired and in possession of the pretty sick (pun intended) effects pack that I developed in season one.
Megaphone Magazine: Voices of the Street Podcasting Pilot Project
The first episode has been released!
(The documentation is pending for these walks hosted by Vancouver New Music and Vancouver Soundwalk Collective). For me this season of being in the city and listening together felt particularly meaningful and inviting. There is something poignant and trusting — and generous — about going into the experience together as a group of strangers. We navigate a bit of self-consciousness and a bit of freedom that comes with doing something performative as a group, and then we get lost in long moments (although self-consciousness pops up again at times, more mildly). We create a very large number of parallel journeys into sensation and observation and movement. During the long stretch of COVID and the long stretch in general, we went ahead and made a portal, for a spell!
I was fortunate to participate in this 4-session workshop hosted by Vancouver New Music and created by Soressa Gardner, Dr. prOphecy sun, and Janine Island. We experimented with sun prints, field recording, sonification apps, and various prompts. It coincided with a crunch time for me, so I appreciated the sheltered time to play and be creative. There’s more info about the workshop at Vancouver New Music’s page, and the pieces we created we aired on “Tapes and Beyond” at Kootenay Co-op Radio (I’ll post mine to my SoundCloud soon, too).
Touch at a Distance: Hadden Park Field House
The Publik Secrets folks out in Kits (aka George Rahi and Robyn Jacob) invited me to create a location-specific composition using their collected field recordings and other recordings as part of their Touch at a Distance broadcast. I was consumed with ire at the time (and now) about how Canadian media and government had largely ignored the IPCC report (on global climate change). So I created a piece called ‘Sea Reading or a Watery Grave’, which narrates portions of the ocean and cryosphere sections of the report. The words are interwoven with a watery soundscape that is both familiar and unrecognizable (maybe a future echo, floating on a barn door in water world, looking back on this period of knowledge and inaction not too far past….). I will adapt it for sharing online when I get a chance and update this entry with the link.
Surveillance Drone Hatchlings First Flight (NAISA anthology)
Little 8 minute journey asking the inter-dimensional questions that are causing a lot of trouble these days . What if birds really are space-age surveillance drones, covertly observing? What if reality is fiction? This composition senses the world in fringe theory terms. Although conspiracy theories can seem farcical or dangerous, the act of accepting a distorted rather than ‘plausible’ explanation of reality is itself an act of profound meaning. This piece uses environmental field recording, home-made instruments, and digital audio processing to blend nature and simulacra, dragging each other — and listeners — into a speculative, destabilized paradigm (my favourite kind!)
24 Hours of Radio Art with Bepi Crespan
I’m thrilled to be included for a second year on a list of fabulous sound artists and experimenters presented by Bepi Crespan. The stream broadcasts live on CiTR and is available online, too. Check it out here
Our World Language: Nuxalk Radio Audio Storytelling Mentorship
This project was delayed and redefined by COVID-19, but it finally happened. The 3 stories that were shaped during this process are utterly wonderful, and I’m so proud and full of gratitude for getting to follow them and provide audio recording and editing techniques for the storytellers’ toolboxes. Experimenting with gear, workshopping drafts as a group, and doing software demos kept us busy, and before I knew it, I was listening to these amazing pieces that truly blew me away. Listen here
The COMMUTE by Arts Assembly and Response by Brynn McNab
This piece was incredibly challenging; we were tasked with exploring an aspect of our commutes just as COVID-19 closures were hitting. Reflecting on the West Coast Express, a commuter train bridging Vancouver with wildly disparate zones around it, meant reflecting on time, memory, loss, labour, and the compounding nature of repetitive experience. The pieces are linked below, as well as response by Brynn McNab exploring the works through a Lefebvrian perspective.
Sound Design for Frank Theatre
I was pleased to foray into recording for film and sound design for the experimental play/new media effort by Frank Theatre. Read more here
Journal of Design and Culture
My audio essay about my East Van neighbourhood during COVID-19 has been published in the Journal of Design and Culture. You can listen to it here
From the abstract:
This audio essay acoustically investigates a neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada, during COVID-19. The soundmarks of the neighborhood changed when pub-crawlers and brunch-goers started isolating at home. A sense of quiet was dispelled when other flows became apparent. This soundscape dispatch focuses on a shift in soundscape from human leisure sounds to increased foot traffic to the nearby bottle depot and copper scrapyard. As COVID-19 measures unfolded, wheel carts rattled more frequently throughout the day. This changed environmental ambience, while conveying information about street economies during COVID-19. The change in acoustic ambience raises grounded questions about whose sheltering has been supported by government programs; which industries and activities have been seen as “high-risk” or “essential” and how essential access has been defined; and how income and activities that aren’t codified in social support regimes are rationalized/obscured, while also impacting people’s safety and ability to shelter.
November 2020: See Sounds Listening Party with Publik Secrets
I had a blast presenting a show-and-tell for Publik Secrets. We listened to an in-progress drone piece and other sounds while channelling the audio experience into our sketchbooks and notebooks. Definitely keep an eye on Publik Secrets for more interactive listening events with local artists.
Listening to COVID-19 with Vancouver New Music/Vancouver Soundwalking Collective: Co-hosted with Brady Marks
Presenting footage from various recordists and co-listening in real time with guests, we explored sonic dimensions of COVID-19 in the Collective’s first online ‘soundwalk’, or what we called a ‘listening event’.
Slow Wave Small Projects, a next-level immersive retreat and artist development program on Mayne Island, BC. The project focuses on creativity through land-based approaches and intentional social relations
With Brady Marks, I co-led a workshop on field recording and sound gathering, creating interactions with shapes, spaces, ideas and movement. The result was a playful afternoon of foraging and experimenting.
We heard perspectives on how accessibility can factor into conceptions of soundwalking and other immersive, terrain-based sensory activities.
Participants designed mini soundwalks and sonic experiences for each other, playing with a variety of recording devices and natural materials around us.
Ongoing: co-hosting and programming for the Soundscape Show, a collective creating on-air space for sound-based exploring. Airing on CFRO 100.5FM, Vancouver Co-op Radio.
Place & Sound compositions on Bandcamp
Vancouver Housing Stories (audio mentorship project exhibition, in collaboration with participants and VIVO Media Arts) Presented at VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver 2019 [profiled on CBC Radio Early Edition]
Playing the Burrard Bridge With Sound (interactive soundwalk with Elizabeth Ellis, Julie Hammond, Matthew Ariaratnam). Presented by Vancouver New Music, Vancouver Soundscape Collective, and Museum of Walking (UK), Vancouver 2019
Play on the Tracks (5m1s electroacoustic soundscape/speculative fiction) MAC/CRES emerging sound artist residency. Presented at 312 Main, May 30, 2019
What happened Yesterday? (3min07 soundtrack). Created at VIVO Media Arts Experimental Video Editing workshop.
I Dreamt This Was My Home (6m28s electroacoustic soundscape/abstract narrative) Web. Appeared: Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art, New Adventures in Sound Art, South River, Spring 2019
I Dreamt This Was My Home (5m 58s video collage) Exhibited in Dreamt Territories, Imagined Bodies (curated by Ariane Charbonneau and Momoko Allard), Feminist Media Studio, Montreal 2017 – 2018
Circulating the Big O: Fieldnotes, Reflections, Recomposition (15min23 soundscape and audio essay) Premiered at Echoes and Reflections: A co-located soundmapping venture between Morecambe and Montreal (Concordia/University of Lancaster)
Invisible Port (6min20 documentary and sonification experiment observing cargo shipping through Port of Montreal in the St. Lawrence River) Montreal 2016, shared at Small Packages Symposium (Milieux Institute)
Let’s Trade Info! (colour printed zine) Exhibited in Alterations and Repairs (curated by Danica Evering and Monika Kin Gagnon) Concordia Media Gallery, Montreal 2016
Oh My Mother (8min20 electroacoustic fiction and voice work) Premiered at: Inner and Outer Space, Studio T (student work curated by Barry Truax), Vancouver 2015
Parks, Trees, & Tankers: A Spring Soundwalk Public interactive soundwalk through the Burrard industrial waterfront area; Hosted by Vancouver New Music & Vancouver Soundwalk Collective
That’s Not Art! Community spectacle Abbotsford 2013. Visual art and zine presentation + hosting activities for attendees; dance floor starter