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Sounds Like Audio Art Festival
July 24 to 26 2014, Saskatoon, SK
AKA Artist-Run, Holophon Audio Arts and PAVED Arts
in partnership with Soundasaurus Festival of Multimedia Sound Arts

AKA Artist-Run, Holophon Audio Arts and PAVED arts, with presenting partner Soundasaurus are thrilled to announce the fourth annual Sounds Like Audio Art Festival. Spanning July 24 to July 26, Sounds Like is Saskatchewan’s premiere festival for audio-based art, featuring installation, live and experimental performance.

This year’s Festival will showcase the works of Alexandre Berthier (Quebec City), Myriam Bleau (Montreal), Darren Copeland (Toronto), Ashton Francis (Saskatoon), Ivan Reese (Calgary), Scott Smallwood (Edmonton) and Mehta Youngs (Saskatoon); alongside keynote presenters Lisa Birke (Waterloo), Peter Flemming (Montreal), and Shawn Pinchbeck (Edmonton).

 

View the Sounds Like Audio Art 2014 performances here
Documentation courtesy PAVED arts, Reilly Forbes and Devin McAdam

 

Read the review of Sounds Like in Planet S and Verb Magazine
An absolutely unique art festival enters its fourth year by Bart Gazzola
Saskatoon Audio Art Festival Explores Exciting New Medium by Alex McPherson


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Lisa Birke

Semiotics of the {Postfeminist} Kitchen (after Martha Rosler) explores how our view of women – high heels still firmly planted in the kitchen – has evolved over the nearly 40 years since Martha Rosler’s seminal and morose Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975).  Taking its cue from Desperate Housewives, The Real Housewives reality TV syndicate, and the popularity of celebrity chefs such as Rachel Ray, the performance is a parody of “hometown domesticity”.  An overt sexuality is played out amidst a plethora of electric and digital devices that produce a cumulative, deafening cry of their own.

Lisa Birke is a multi-disciplinary artist who situates between the tradition of painting, digital video and performance art.  Her interest lies in the follies of the human condition; specifically how the self navigates both natural and virtual realities.  Lisa Birke is a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Waterloo (2013) where she was awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies distinction.


 

Peter Flemming

Stepper Motor Choir consists of 12 stepper motors rotating on panes of glass.  The vibrations of the motor resonate in the glass, which acts as a mechanical amplifier, producing a ringing tone.  The pitch varies with motor speed and can be precisely controlled.  Skylight-mounted solar panels feed power to the motors and an MMMSE.  The motors sing according to available light.  At rest, the silent motors eat light and store energy.  Upon full charge, they commence singing.  As the stored voltage dies, pitch and volume slowly drop.  After several minutes they must stop and rest again.

Peter Flemming is a Canadian artist based in Montreal.  His work makes use of improvisational kinetics and intuitive electronics, most recently exploring the idea of resonance through electromagnetically activated materials, mechanical performers, and makeshift amplification devices.  Past work has included lazy machines, solar powered artwork, and hypnotically repetitive automata.  He has exhibited extensively internationally and been the recipient of numerous grants and residencies, and in 2013 was long-listed for the Sobey Art award for Quebec.


Shawn Pinchbeck

Container is a live quadraphonic audio performance that explores a wide range of sonic experiences from ambient soundscapes to noise to electroacoustics, taking the listener on a journey with many destinations. Pinchbeck creates this work by improvising with sounds from his library of self-recorded materials accumulated over several years. Those recordings consist of environmental sounds, noises and pre-processed sounds in combination with found and circuit bent noise making objects. The piece is improvised and takes a large amount of inspiration from the audience, the space and the moment. No show is the same as Pinchbeck spins an intricate web of sonic layers live mixed, processed and manipulated using his custom designed software for that purpose, creating a deep listening experience.

Shawn Pinchbeck is an Edmonton, Alberta based electroacoustic music composer, new media artist, performer, installation artist, teacher, curator, and sound engineer.  Shawn’s performances, works, and installations have been presented widely at numerous festivals across Canada and Europe.  He collaborates extensively, creating works with artists of all backgrounds, most recently focusing on music for contemporary dance and Live Cinema performances.  He currently teaches sound and interactive art at the Alberta College of Art and Design (Calgary), the Baltic Film School (Estonia), and the Art Research Lab at the University of Liepaja (Latvia).


 

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Alexandre Berthier

MOMENTUM is a slowly mesmerising horizontal dive into the gaps between slices of a seemingly ordinary yet remote life.  The projected image, an enticing long take filmed from a train in India, gradually leads the viewer to face the strange mundanity of what he is witnessing.  The traveling shot operates as a stylus, playing back the temporality of scenes, incredibly human yet so harsh for our eyes saturated with comfort.

Alexandre Berthier is a multidisciplinary French artist living in Quebec City.  He evolves among 3 different fields: visual art, new media art and scenic art.  Over the past ten years most of his artwork has been made in collaboration with Karl-Otto von Oertzen under the collective name Marswalkers.  They have collaborated with centers like CIANT in Prague, The Public in Birmingham and Wimbledon School of Art in London.  Their work has also been shown at the 6th International Exhibition of Video and Electronic Art in Montreal, the Rockport Center for Contemporary Art in the USA, the art center l’Œil de Poisson in Quebec, and the art center TUPAC in Peru.


 

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Myriam Bleau

Soft Revolvers is a music performance for 4 spinning tops built with clear acrylic by the artist.  Each spinning top is associated with an ‘instrument’ in an electronic music composition and the motion data collected by sensors – placed inside the tops – informs musical algorithms.  With their large circular spinning bodies and their role as music playing devices, the tops strongly evoke turntables.  Inspired by hip hop beats, the music explores rhythmic manipulations such as ‘groove interpolation’, creating shifting patterns between rhythmic consonance and dissonance.

Myriam Bleau is a composer, digital artist and performer.  Exploring the limits between musical performance and digital arts, she creates audiovisual systems that go beyond the screen, such as sound installations and performance-specific musical interfaces.  Her presence on the popular music scene influences her hybrid electronic practice that integrates hip hop, techno, experimental and pop elements. 


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Darren Copeland & Ashton Francis

Audio-artist Darren Copeland will be undertaking a senior artist production residency with PAVED Arts in the weeks directly preceding the Sounds Like festival. As part of this residency Copeland expressed an interest in working with an audio artist from the Saskatoon arts community, in order to develop a collaborative, experimental project, one that would culminate in a live performance. PAVED Arts has nominated Ashton Francis to undertake Copeland’s workshop series in conjunction with the residency and festival. Hence, the Sounds Like Audio Art Festival will feature a collaborative performance that incorporates Darren Copeland’s “Spatialization” experiments in tandem with Ashton Francis’ work with generative synthesis.

Darren Copeland is a Canadian sound artist active in Toronto since 1985.  He is also the founding and current Artistic Director of New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA).  Key interests of his work include multichannel spatialization for live performance, fixed media composition, soundscape studies, radio art, and sound installations.

Ashton Francis (Vector Futon) is an electronic musician and sound designer who has been providing a precious few ‘in-the-know’ with beep-boop loops for several years now.  In addition to self-releasing various tracks, EP’s, and remixes,  VF has also scored for theatre, participated in noise jams, designed controller-based performance rigs, and has recently introduced audio-reactive video into his work.  His current primary focus, however, is in the development of a compositional standard for generative music-making using Ableton Live.  This unique and exciting approach to the development of musical AI is called “The LiveSong Standard.”

 


Ivan Reese – co-presented with Soundasaurus Festival of Multimedia Sound Arts

A Shrinking Feeling is an autonomous algorithmic composition of music written and performed by a computer in real time. Inspired by the Gamelan music of Indonesia, which features dramatic surges in tempo and beautifully intricate arrangements of bell-tones and beating frequencies, A Shrinking Feeling explores mathematical infinity, a concept often seen in image and read as text but scarcely heard. The algorithmic system uses the passing of time to gradually shift, cycle, and transform each of the principal elements of music: melody, rhythm, tone, and texture.

Ivan Reese is a Calgary-based programmer, musician, and educational game designer.  Reese has deep roots in the performing arts, lending an element of theatricality to all of his work. At an early age he befriended a mathematical savant who inspired him to use computer code as a tool for creative expression, and to see math as more than just formulae and theory.  Combining these disparate backgrounds, Ivan crafts unique computer algorithms to discover new ways of using art and audio to present the beauty in math, to tell new types of stories and create otherwise impossible works of vision, sound, and interaction.

 


 

hideout: a solarsonic installation from Scott Smallwood on Vimeo.

FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014: Scott Smallwood

hideout is a quiet, immersive soundscape based on environmentally-empowered sound circuits, evoking the structural acoustics of hidden, safe zones in nature and architecture.  The piece is also subtly interactive, as the sounds are directly responsive to the presence of light in the space and changes of light distribution through the presence of shadows, reflections, and absorption caused by movement through the space, as well as sunlight and mixed with the artificial lighting of the gallery.

Scott Smallwood is a sound artist, composer, and sound performer who creates works inspired by discovered textures and forms, through a practice of listening, field recording, and sonic improvisation.  His work has been published by Deep Listening, Static Caravan, Autumn Records, and Wowcool Records.  He has been active as an educator for over 20 years, and currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he teaches composition, improvisation, and electroacoustic music at the University of Alberta.


Mehta Youngs

Acousmatic music, or compositions existing purely as sound without any perceivable origin, is perhaps the most common medium for sound art and even music in general.  Unfortunately, most presentations of recorded sound lack the context for appreciation, and so the content of the work is reduced to the most obvious elements in order to grasp at a potential listener’s attention: for example, a mainstream radio station playing background music in a shopping centre could technically be considered an acousmatic presentation.  Even in “audio art” there is a common impetus to conceptualize sound as a technique, emotion, setting, etc.  While there is nothing invalid about background music at the mall or conflating compositions with personal experiences, it is important to appreciate work which focuses purely on the sonic content without any need for external support.

Youngs will perform an acousmatic piece using synthesis and concrete technique; in a completely darkened space the audience will be free from visual distractions enabling a focus on content.

Mehta Youngs has been working with music and sound since 2003, initially as a member of various ensembles but recently more often as a solo artist. 


 

About
As an annual international audio, video and performance art festival Sounds Like presents, promotes, and cultivates experimental practices in audio-based work and the expanded use of audio within all manner of artistic endeavour. Through a diversity of programming, Sounds Like introduces audiences to art, fosters local audio art practices, and provides a forum of exchange for national and international artists engaged in contemporary audio art practices. Founded in 2011 by AKA artist-run centre, it quickly expanded into a three-fold partnership between AKA artist-run, PAVED Arts, and holophon. Each organization contributes to the festival with their own particular expertise: AKA artist-run, as Saskatoon’s only non-media specific ARC, contributes its visual knowledge to consider sound and its uses in art, PAVED Arts facilitates the exploration of sound through its production and exhibition centre, holophon, with their experience in audio art curation and educational programming facilitates connections between artists and audiences.

Together, the organizations program the festival through a combination of invited guests and an international call for submissions. For three days in late July, the galleries focus on events solely focused on the exploration of sound and its uses in art. Events include both onsite and offsite concert performances, audio installations, workshops, seminars, artist talks, and public interventions.

Thank you to our 2014 jury: Dr. Rebecca Caines is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and scholar currently playing a lead role in developing the new Creative Technologies area at the University of Regina; David Jensenius is a composer, member of the research and design collaborative SPURSE and founder of the improvisational group Polish Club and Tod Emel, a Saskatoon-based audio/visual artist recording and performing under the aliases IAWAI and XOD and founder of the Sounds Like Audio Art Festival.

A full Sounds Like program, project line-up, festival pass information and artist bios can be found here.

Sounds Like Audio Art Festival thanks the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskLotteries and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support.

image:  Peter Flemming, Stepper Motor Choir (installation shot).


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© Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved. AKA artist-run would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, and Saskatchewan Lotteries.

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