Erin Gee Tag

Conversations in Contemporary Art

Conversations in Contemporary Art Presents Erin Gee: Concordia University, Montreal

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 6pm

Le jeudi 11 fevrier à 18h00

Concordia University Fine Arts
VA Building 114
1395 René Lévesque Blvd West, Montreal
L’université de Concordia, 1395 René Lévesque Ouest, Montréal

http://goo.gl/maps/L9uSV

www.finearts.concordia.ca

Admission for all Conversations in Contemporary Art events is FREE and open to the general public. Seating is first come, first serve. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The lectures will be held in English.

Tous les événements du programme Conversation in Contemporary Art sont gratuits et ouverts au public. Les sièges sont assignés selon le principe du premier arrivé, premier servi. Les portes ouvrent à 17h30. Les conférences se dérouleront en anglais.

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ERIN GEE is a Montreal-based artist and composer who explores human voices in electronic bodies, re-locating boundaries of musical form through technological interfaces. Her work in emotion-driven musical robotics, algorithmic music performance, interactive sonic sculpture/scores and digitally-inspired musical compositions have been recently presented at device_art festival, Croatia (2015), University of Toronto Art Center (2015), Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2015), Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal (2015), and Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters, Montreal (2014). Her work has been reviewed in Scientific American, VICE, National Post, and La Presse. Gee is currently teaching in the Communications department of Concordia University on topics of sound, gender and technology.
“There are layers of interrelation that all humans have, where we are objectified, reduced to our utility, treated as objects rather than subjects, reacting to and acting through a subject or group of people more powerful than we are. I want to make work that tries to bridge the gap, to create musical systems and worlds where the subject tries to learn the language of the object, to assume that the thing we assumed to be an object in fact has a voice, and it is important to listen.”

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Artiste et compositrice établie à Montréal, Erin Gee explore les voix humaines des corps électroniques, repoussant les frontières de la musique au moyen d’interfaces technologiques. Ses œuvres – robots musicaux mus par les émotions, performance musicale algorithmique, sculptures ou partitions soniques interactives ainsi que compositions d’inspiration numérique – ont récemment été présentées en Croatie, au Festival Device_art (2015), à Toronto, au Centre d’art de l’Université de Toronto (2015) et au centre Trinity Square Video (2015), et à Montréal, au Musée d’art contemporain (2015) et au siège social international du Cirque du Soleil (2014). Son travail a fait l’objet d’articles dans Scientific American, VICE, National Post et La Presse. Par ailleurs, son enseignement au Département de communication de l’Université Concordia touche au son, au genre et à la technologie.

« Tous les humains entretiennent diverses relations réciproques selon lesquelles ils sont réduits à leur plus simple utilité. Traités comme des objets, plutôt que des sujets, ils agissent par l’intermédiaire d’un individu ou d’un groupe plus puissant qu’ils ne le sont et y réagissent. Je m’efforce dans mon œuvre de combler ce fossé en créant des systèmes et des mondes musicaux où le sujet tente d’apprendre le langage de l’objet. En effet, je crois que ce que nous supposons être un objet possède en fait une voix qu’il est important d’écouter. »
About the event: Conversations in Contemporary Art is a visiting artist lecture series and graduate-level course sponsored by Concordia’s Studio Arts MFA Program. CICA provides a unique opportunity to hear distinguished artists, critics, writers and curators from the Canadian and international community speak about their practices.

Vocales Digitales

Erin Gee
Vocales Digitales
March 26 – May 14

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 26, 2:00-4:00pm

Artist Talk and Catalogue Launch: April 23, 2:00pm
Biosensor/Arduino Workshop: April 24, 10 am (full day) $25 registration required
Original Performance with Daniel Àñez and the Hamilton Children’s Choir (June 25, 2016)

Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to present Vocales Digitales, a solo exhibition by new media artist and composer Erin Gee, featuring installations exploring the potentials of human voices in electronic bodies as well as electronic voices in human bodies. Based on a robust research practice, Gee draws from neuroaesthetics, a field that investigates the potentials of neurological and physiological data, as both the basis of, and inspiration for, her technologically complex installations. Turning the inside out, Gee culls data from physiological sources such as the human larynx as well as intangible sources such as human emotions, and transforms them into highly realized aesthetic and musical compositions. Using languages of notation, code, and data, Gee explores the flesh and experience of human bodies, seeking out poetic languages of machine visualization to return the quantitative once more into a space of aesthetics through the experience of music.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual publication featuring essays by Maiko Tanaka and Eric Lewis. The catalogue launch will be accompanied by an artist talk and will take place April 23, at 2:00 pm. The catalogue can be downloaded HERE (4.5mb).

Erin Gee - Larynx Series

Larynx Series

(2015)

inkjet prints on acid-free paper

34″x 44″ each

These vector images are derived from endoscopic footage of a human larynx. Within the images I discovered what looked like abstract musical symbols in the margins. These silent songs of the computer rendered throat have also been transformed into choral songs for four human voices, premiered at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Saskatchewan, in 2015.

Erin Gee - Swarming Emotional Pianos

Swarming Emotional Pianos

(2012 – ongoing)

Aluminium tubes, servo motors, custom mallets, Arduino-based electronics, iCreate platforms

Approximately 27” x 12” x 12” each

Custom biosensors that collect heartrate and signal amplitude, respiration amplitude and rate, and galvanic skin response (sweat).

Biodata collection software and affective data responsive algorithmic music software built in Max/MSP.

A cybernetic musical performance work that bridges robotics and emotion to create biologically harmonic chamber music. Swarming Emotional Pianos features a set of mobile robots that each house a bell instrument and lighting components. The music that these robots play is determined through physiological responses of a human subject to emotional state, which is reflective of affective computing research. These physiological markers including breathing, heart rate, sweat glands, blood pressure. Research is ongoing for integration of skin sensitive neural activity through microneurography into the system.

My final goal is a live performance whereupon actors are hooked up live to biosensors and their emotional data is wirelessly streamed to the robotic musical instruments. This will require extensive biofeedback testing. I maintain an active dialogue with microneurographer and neurophysiologist Vaughan Macefield, in anticipation of networked, telematic performances that involve tiny needles inserted directly into nerves that reflect emotional arousal. The use of microelectrode needles inserted directly into the nerves of awake human performers to pick up on direct electrical neural activity is a unique technical component of this project.

The goal in creating this work is to illuminate and explore the complex relationships between body and mind in human emotions. Emotional-physical outputs are extended through robotic performers as human actors focus on their internal states, and in fact activate their emotions mechanistically, as a means of creating change in their body, thus instrumentalizing emotion.

Credits

Thank you to the following for your contributions:

  • Martin Peach (my robot teacher) – Sébastien Roy (lighting circuitry) – Peter van Haaften (tools for algorithmic composition in Max/MSP) – Grégory Perrin (Electronics Assistant)
  • Matt Risk, Tristan Stevans, Simone Pitot, and Jason Leith for their hours of dedicated studio help
  • Concordia University, the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney, Innovations en Concert Montréal, Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Thought Technology, and AD Instruments for their support.

Swarming Emotional Pianos (2012-2014) Machine demonstration March 2014 – Eastern Bloc Lab Residency, Montréal

Erin Gee - Vocaloid Gig At Nocturne (X + 1)

Gig Vocaloid

A performative, distributed video-text band from a dystopic future where the human voice is lost and pop music reigns supreme. Virtual voice is key component for the synthesized pop star. Dancing, costumed performers carry tablets that display the human larynx and song lyrics as they dance in sync.

GIG VOCALOID is a virtual pop band that had its first performance at the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal in February 2015 at X + 1: an evening of Internet-inspired art.

The project is inspired by virtual pop stars such as Hatsune Miku, which exist equally as distributed visual media avatar (holograms, merchandise), and as digital software tools for public, fan-based synthesized vocal creation. GIG VOCALOID is also inspired by boy and girl pop bands, whereupon individual voices and musicality are often superseded by a pop “character.” This is especially true in Japanese pop group AKB48, which has 48 female members whom are voted upon by the public for the right to solo singing and “leadership” within the group.

In this pop music context, celebrity character, fashion and visual appeal is more important than the human singing voice itself, which is often replaced by synthesizers and pitch correction. GIG VOCALOID invokes a fantasy posthumanist future where the human voice is lost, subjectivity is dead, and everyone is celebrating.

Externalizing the human voice outside of the preciousness of the human body, the human larynx (typically a hidden, interior aspect of vocal performance) is displayed prominently on tablets. “Lyrics” to their song flash aleatorically through these videos, which enable humans performers to be the support for digital artwork. GIG VOCALOID re-localizates the voice beyond the borders of the flesh body in an infectious avatar-dream.

GIG VOCALOID thrives through multiplicity, otherness, and inauthentic copies, so the band exists through 5 anonymous core members whose identities are not essential.

GIG VOCALOID consists of five masked characters: Cheerful (the leader, they like the colour red and to make a statement) // Timidity (shy and graceful) // Twinkle (cute, optimistic) // Lolo (wild and crazy, the rebel) // and Grace (sophisticated, stoic, strong). Each of these masks is without a fixed gender.

 

Erin Gee - 7 Nights of Unspeakable Truth at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2013

7 Nights of Unspeakable Truth

(2013)

7-channel audio installation, woven blankets, text work

8 hours duration

It’s a search for disembodied voices in technotongues.

“7 Nights of Unspeakable Truth is a recording that consists of dusk-till dawn searches for number stations on shortwave radio frequencies. Arranged in order, from day one to day seven, the installation allows one to physically walk through seven evenings of shortwave, synchronized in their respective times, in physical space. This spatialization of each night allows listeners to observe patterns and synchronicities in Gee’s nightly search for unexplained broadcasts that consist only of numbers, tones and codes.”

This body of work is informed by my fascination with mystery, symbolic organization and communication. I take on the nocturnal patterns of a solitary listener, connecting to other enthusiasts via online chat in order to share an obscure passion. The patterns of my searching during 7 Nights of Unspeakable Truth are woven directly into blankets, another evening activity partaken during Nuit Blanche 2013 in which I encoded and wove my audio searches into a physical form that you could wrap yourself in while you listen – two different versions of encoded time on radio airwaves.

More on this work:

Gautier, Philippe-Aubert. “Multichannel sound and spatial sound creation at Sporobole: A short account of live performance, studio design, outdoor multichannel audio, and visiting artists.” Divergence Press #3: Creative Practice in Electroacoustic Music (2016).

Anim.OS

(2012)

Generative software choir installation in collaboration with Oliver Bown

Inspired by exerpts of Elizabeth Grosz’s book “Architecture from the Outside”, I made recordings of myself singing text that made reference to insideness, outsideness, and flexible structures. These recordings were arranged by composer Oliver Bown into a networked choral software.

Anim.OS is a networked computer choir developed by Oliver Bown (Sydney) and Erin Gee (Montreal) in 2012. Videography and sound recording by Shane Turner (Montreal).

This is documentation of one of the first tests for improvisation and control of the choir at the University of Sydney.