CEC 25th Anniversary Tour in Hamilton
McMaster University Communications Studies and Multimedia Department
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
The department of Communications Studies and Multimedia of McMaster University hosted the penultimate event on the CEC’s three-week, cross-Canada 25th Anniversary Tour.
Following a noontime concert to open up the day’s activities, in which JTTP 2011 winning works were played, was Kevin Austin’s seminar “Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25,” prepared especially for the Anniversary Tour. Local artists Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie, Victoria Fenner and David Ogborn gave presentations in the second part of the seminar on the development of their own work over the years. Later in the afternoon, a concert with the Cybernetic Orchestra featured a number of works by members of the ensemble, preceded by an informal Meet & Greet with people from the CEC and JTTP. In the evening, and late into the night, the Cybernetic Orchestra and friends performed in the downtown Hamilton venue The Brain.
Daytime events of the Hamilton stop on the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour were held at McMaster University (1280 Main Street West), with concerts in Convocation Hall and the seminar, followed by the Meet & Greet, in the Lyons New Media Centre. For the late-night concert, things moved downtown to The Brain (James St. N.).
12:00–13:15 Concert 1: JTTP 2011 — Prize-Winning Works
14:30–15:45 Seminar: Kevin Austin — Recent Practices in EA: The CEC@25
15:45–16:45 Seminar guests: Victoria Fenner, Christina Sealey / Richard Oddie, David Ogborn
16:45–17:15 CEC Meet & Greet
17:30–18:30 Concert 2: Cybernetic Orchestra
21:00–00:00 Concert 3: Late Night “Lounge” Concert
Biographies for individual participants, guests, associations and institutions can be found below.
The CEC’s annual Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP) project is comprised of: a competition for young and emerging sound artists from (or living in) Canada, with cash and prizes awarded to the top five placing composers, as selected by an international jury; a focus issue of eContact! featuring all submissions to the project; a CD compilation (Cache) of the top works; and international radio and concert play of the top works.
Each stop on the tour featured a concert of the winning works from the 12th edition of Jeu de temps / Times Play. Those curious to know what the next generation of electroacoustic composers in Canada “sounds like” came out and joined us for performances of works by David Arango-Valencia, Guillaume Barrette, Guillaume Campion, Maxime Corbeil-Perron, Jullian Hoff and Marc-André Perron.
For each of the JTTP concerts at least one JTTP 2011 winning composer was present as an invited guest, and these guests diffused their own works as well as the works of their colleagues. Guillaume Campion was in Hamilton with us for the day’s events.
Programme (in alphabetical order):
- David Arango-Valencia — Canción de Otraparte / « Chanson d’ailleurs » (2011 / 12:04)
- Guillaume Barrette — Parasite (2011 / 10:00)
- Guillaume Campion — Neige cendre (2011 / 11:22)
- Maxime Corbeil-Perron — Fragments (2011 / 10:00)
- Jullian Hoff — Scratch (2011 / 12:06)
- Marc-André Perron — Effervescence / Somnolence (2010 / 10:24)
Visit the JTTP 2011 page in this issue of eContact! for video montages of performances of each of the works, as well as biographies of the composers.
Kevin Austin — Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25
Everything old is new again. Kevin Austin’s presentation (at ten venues in nine cities) considered historical precedents and provided a useable map of the background and context of recent trends within the larger discipline of electroacoustics. Among the trending topics in EA these days are “live EA” and “visual music”; as discussed in the first part of the seminar, current and exploding technologies have allowed these areas of EA to develop very rapidly and proliferate widely.
With more than 40 years of history in EA, Austin looked back at the historical path and presented detailed views of some of the newer manifestations of EA. Some of the historical perspective was provided by his own experiences with live EA, which started in 1971 (MetaMusic, later CECG/GEC), and his use of visual elements as of about 1975.
In the second part of the seminar, invited local artists — active in the 1970s through today — contributed their own perspectives on regional activities to help articulate the unique flavour of EA practice in the various distinct areas that together form the diverse electroacoustic community in Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s.
At the Hamilton stop on the tour at McMaster University, Victoria Fenner spoke about her work in radiophonic art and documentary poetry, Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie charted out their two decades years of collaboration in experimental sound and performance, and David Ogborn spoke of the trajectory of creative practices that led inevitably to his recent work with laptop orchestra.
Victoria Fenner — Documentary Poetry
The range of interests that inform and form Victoria Fenner’s creative work go from audio art and radiophonics to acoustic ecology and soundscape in the musical realm, however literary ideas are as just important an inspiration for her as musical ideas. While her work does not fall clearly within one or another genre, it could perhaps be appreciated as documentary poetry that is, as CBC Radio’s Dorothy Livesay once said, “a conscious attempt to create the dialectic between the objective fact and the subjective feelings of the poet.” She found an excellent creative outlet in the CBC, where she worked for many years in many guises: as host, curator and researcher.
Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie — Antiform and Orphx: 20 Years of Collaboration
Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie have collaborated for more than two decades in various guises. Their exploration of experimental sound has manifested itself predominantly through two projects: Antiform, an ambient project, and Orphx, with a more aggressive sound. An overview of their work also reflects the technological changes that have occurred in the milieu of electroacoustic and live electronics practices, as they chart their transition from using analogue equipment, contact mics and toys to using samplers and MIDI, and finally computers and controllers in live performance. Their work draws on avant-garde practices for influences, but also on rock and punk bands, and even acoustic ecology.
David Ogborn — Towards Live Electronics and Laptop Orchestra Practices
Building on a traditional composition background, David Ogborn’s creative activities have broadened to include pieces for instrument and tape or live electronics, and a live soundtrack performed to Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. In 2010, he founded the Cybernetic Orchestra, a laptop orchestra made up of musicians and non-musicians that uses a live coding environment to create works by composers in the ensemble as well as collective works. The orchestra, based at McMaster University, continues to provide an outlet for his own creative work, which includes pieces with live electronics, an opera and his ongoing work with the laptop orchestra, all characterized by an interest in collaborative work.
The tour also provided members of the CEC Board, CEC administrators and JTTP 2011 guests with some time to meet and chat with the local communities of composers, performers and friends of electroacoustic practices. It was a great opportunity to not only reconnect with old acquaintances, but also to meet and hang out with new acquaintances! CEC Admin and Board members and JTTP guests had the chance to experience first hand the incredible diversity of electroacoustic practice across the country, from Victoria to St. John’s.
The Cybernetic Orchestra is a multi-faceted participatory electronic performance ensemble comprised of members from across the McMaster University community and directed by David Ogborn (Communication Studies & Multimedia). This laptop orchestra has performed frequently at venues in Hamilton, Toronto and Montréal, working closely with McMaster’s Electroacoustics, Space and Performance (ESP) research group. This performance showcased the compositions, technologies and techniques created by the various members of the Cybernetic Orchestra: algorithmic composition, live coding, dance performance and more reflect the incredibly diverse breadth of interests and æsthetic approaches the ensemble is capable of.
Later in the evening at the downtown Hamilton venue The Brain, a live performance by the Cybernetic Orchestra and friends was presented in an informal atmosphere. The public joined us to sit, chat, have a few drinks and generally take it easy after a long day of events. The event featured sound performances, live musicians and live coding in constantly changing configurations.