CEC 25th Anniversary Tour in Toronto
10th SOUNDplay Festival (NAISA) + OCAD
Friday, 25 November – Sunday, 27 November 2011
The final weekend of the 10th Annual SOUNDplay Festival was a collaboration between the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) and the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), and was the eighth of ten events across the country celebrating the 25th anniversary of the CEC.
The weekend of events opened up with Kevin Austin’s seminar “Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25,” prepared especially for the Anniversary Tour. In the second part of the seminar, Darren Copeland spoke about NAISA, and Bentley Jarvis and Wende Bartley presented their work involving sound in combination with image and the voice, respectively.
The opening concert of the SOUNDplay festival featured an electroacoustic work by Diego Garro, the performance of an audio-visual work by Toronto’s Kaiser Nietzsche and a laptop improvisation by SOUNDplay guest Benjamin Thigpen. The Saturday concert featured the winning works from JTTP 2011, a project supporting young and emerging composers, and a new work by Darren Copeland. CEC members and the general public alike were invited to come out to an informal Meet & Greet with CEC, NAISA and JTTP people before the Saturday concert.
On Saturday afternoon, the Toronto Artist Salon guest was Kevin Austin, who held a public masterclass with winning composers from JTTP 2011 who were present for the events. A special colloquium on Sunday coordinated by Kevin Austin brought together many individuals who have contributed to the growth of electroacoustic practices in Southern Ontario over the years.
With the exception of the seminar, which was hosted by OCADU in their Shooting Studio, all events took place at the Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street): concerts were held in the Christie Studio, while the Meet & Greet, Artist Salon and the Colloquium were held in the NAISA Space.
FRIDAY, 25 November
13:00–14:30 Seminar: Kevin Austin — Recent Practices in EA: The CEC@25
14:30–15:30 Seminar guests: Darren Copeland, Bentley Jarvis, Wende Bartley
20:00–22:00 SOUNDplay Concert: “Fast-Forward”
SUNDAY, 27 November
13:00–17:00 Colloquium: “Histories, Anecdotes and Archives of Electroacoustics in Canada,” hosted by Kevin Austin
Biographies for individual participants, guests, associations and institutions can be found below.
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. 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.
In parallel to the SOUNDplay festival, Darren Copeland spoke about the founding of and recent developments at NAISA, our Toronto partner on the tour. Bentley Jarvis gave an overview of his work integrating image and sound in installations and Wende Bartley talked about the use of her own voice in her electro-vocal compositions.
Darren Copeland — NAISA and Spatialization using the Audio Spotlight
Darren Copeland talks about the founding of New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) in response to the need to provide a venue and production structure that would stimulate and support the activities of Toronto area composers in the 1980s. NAISA is today the key production outfit in Toronto for electroacoustic and related activities. Their multi-channel spatialization system has been expanded in recent years through experiments and performances with the hyper-directional Audio Spotlight. The portability of the Spotlight brings new possibilities to the presentation of electroacoustic works, either as a standalone — or mobile! — spatialization instrument, or integrated into a larger multi-speaker diffusion environment.
Bentley Jarvis — Connecting Image and Sound
With extensive experience and studies in visual arts, electronic music composition, computer science, electronics, sound sculpture, computer animation and system design, it is natural that Bentley Jarvis’ works explore a complex variety of relations between the visual and audio domains. His work, which includes dance pieces, sound installations, installation environments and more, often integrates electroacoustic music that is in a state of continuous transformation, reinforcing the “timeless” character of his work. In some of his recent installation works, it is also possible for viewers to create their own mix, depending on how they explore the installation space.
Wende Bartley — Electro-Vocal Composition: Voice and disembodied media
Wende Bartley’s early compositions reflected a range of interests, including technologies and politics, but also the cultural significance of the human voice, with women’s voices — in particular their historical scarcity — being a central theme. She explores questions about the ways in which sound can shift awareness, consciousness and perception, with the voice remaining a primary preoccupation. Her more recent electro-vocal work is influenced by the bodily experience of ancient sites in Malta and Crete, notably the Maltese hypogea, underground chambers some 7000 years old. Such sites have served as the background for her experiences with the vibrational power of sounds and human body.
This SOUNDplay concert opened up a weekend of activities in the Wychwood Barns complex, also the home to NAISA. A large audio-visual “industrial musique concrète” work in nine tableaux was presented by Kaiser Nietzsche (a.k.a. John Kamevaar), a Toronto-based artist, as well as an electroacoustic work by Diego Garro and a live laptop improvisation by visiting artist Ben Thigpen. NAISA’s Artistic Director Darren Copeland diffused Thigpen’s work using the Audio Spotlight, a mobile and hyper-directional speaker, as a complement to NAISA’s new spatialization system, developed by Copeland and Thigpen.
Kevin Austin was the invited guest for this edition of the Toronto Artist Salon, coordinated by New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA). JTTP 2011 composers Jullian Hoff, Maxime Corbeil-Perron and Guillaume Barrette were on hand to present their work in this friendly, public session. Reflections on compositional intention and perception were brought to the table by Austin alongside questions of acoustics and psychoacoustics, issues of mastering and transparency, and discussions of frequency content analysis and its effect on our perception and appreciation of electroacoustic sound.
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 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. Jullian Hoff came along with us on the Toronto leg of the tour, as did Guillaume Barrette and Maxime Corbeil-Perron.
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.
In addition to the six JTTP works on the programme, Darren Copeland presented his new sound art work, Bats and Elephants, on NAISA’s newly enhanced spatialization system.
Kevin Austin has initiated a documentation project with the aim of gathering and preserving the histories of the first and second generation of pioneers in Canadian electroacoustics. As part of the first stage of this broad project, an all-day open colloquium was held in conjunction with the Toronto stop of the CEC’s 25th Anniversary tour, in order to bring together and showcase historical and contemporary figures in the southern Ontario electroacoustic milieu.
The project aims to collect information previously only available through personal encounters or fragmentary documentation into a larger, comprehensive and publicly accessible resource that can be shared and appreciated by the larger EA community. It will also help “write the chapter” of EA in southern Ontario and celebrate the achievements and contributions these artists have made to the national and international EA milieu. The preservation of these direct (oral) histories is timely and important, as they are increasingly at risk of being lost with the artists as they age and pass on.