2016 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

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 - Swarming Emotional Pianos

Swarming Emotional Pianos

A looming projection of a human performer surrounded by six musical chime robots: their music is driven by the shifting rhythms of the performer’s emotional body, transformed into data and signal that activates the motors of the ensemble.

(2012 – ongoing)

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

Approximately 27” x 12” x 12” each

Swarming Emotional Pianos is a robotic installation work that features performance documentation of an actress moving through extreme emotions in five minute intervals. During these timed performances of extreme surprise, anger, fear, sadness, sexual arousal, and joy, Gee used her own custom-built biosensors to capture the way that each emotion affects the heartbeat, sweat, and respiration of the actress. The data from this session drives the musical outbursts of the robotics surrounding the video documentation of the emotional session. Visitors to this work are presented with two windows into the emotional state of the actress: both through a large projection of her face, paired with stereo recording of her breath and sounds of the emotional session, and through the normally inaccessible emotional world of physiology, the physicality of sensation as represented by the six robotic chimes.

Micro bursts of emotional sentiment are amplified by the robots, providing an intimate and abstract soundtrack for this “emotional movie”. These mechanistic, physiological effects of emotion drive the robotics, illustrating the physicality and automation of human emotion. By displaying both of these perspectives on human emotion simultaneously, I am interested in how the rhythmic pulsing of the robotic bodies confirm or deny the visibility and performativity of the face. Does emotion therefore lie within the visibility of facial expression, or in the patterns of bodily sensation in her body? Is the actor sincere in her performance if the emotion is felt as opposed to displayed?

Custom open-source biosensors that collect heartrate and signal amplitude, respiration amplitude and rate, and galvanic skin response (sweat) have been in development by Gee since 2012.  Click here to access her GitHub page if you would like to try the technology for yourself, or contribute to the research.

Credits

Thank you to the following for your contributions:

  • In loving memory of Martin Peach (my robot teacher) – Sébastien Roy (lighting circuitry) – Peter van Haaften (tools for algorithmic composition in Max/MSP) – Grégory Perrin (Electronics Assistant)
  • Jason Leith, Vivian Li, Mark Lowe, Simone Pitot, Matt Risk, and Tristan Stevans for their dedicated help in the studio
  • 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