sound art Tag

Musicworks #126 Interview

Click here to read my interview with Alex Varty.  “ERIN GEE SINGS THE BODY ELECTRONIC”

Fresh on the heels of my return from the premiere of Echo Grey in Vancouver (my newest composition for vocal quartet, feedback soloist and tape), I find I’ve received my physical copy of Musicworks, which is a triannually released publication featuring experimental sounds from across Canada.

Amidst a really massive transition phase right now, I find that teaching full time has really changed what I can do as an artist.  Pushing myself to learn entirely new skillsets in organization and pedagogical performance (sidenote: yes, everything is a performance) has left me with little time or energy to invest in building new technologies.

Music composition has been something that I can invest time into, as all I need is a few moments, a microphone, my laptop, a notepad with pencil scribbles, my imagination.

This interview with Musicworks magazine was very interesting for me, as recently my opportunities have been coming from music composition.  The whole issue is actually very interesting, with a full feature on music and sound revolution in VR spaces, as well as some features on other very energetic and productive electroacoustic artists.

Musicworks #126 is available now with a special curated cd of sounds included in the physical magazine.  On this CD you can find a track from my Voice of Echo (2011) series.

Echo Grey

Echo Grey is a composition for four voices, feedback musical instruments, and tape part (which features the sounds of a broken image file).

World premiere at Vancouver New Music with Andrea Young, Marina Hasselberg, Sharon Chohi Kim, Micaela Tobin, Michael Day, Braden Diotte, and Erin Gee in November 2016. It has also been performed at Open Space Gallery (Victoria), and Neworks (Calgary).

Movement between words or utterance, the echo’s voice exceeds the signal itself and speaks to a deeper engagement with materiality.  In Echo Grey, I composed a series of vocal patterns that emerge directly with breath as raw material, the movement of intake and exhalation made audible. The choir’s engagement with the mechanistic, impossible repetition eventually negates the signal: all that is left is the lungs and vocal vibrations of the individual who gasps, cries in defeat, and whoops in ecstasy.  These human voices are simultaneously punctuated by the feedback of microphone and amplified instruments, and a tape track composed through process – a bouncing of data back and forth between visual and aural softwares that eventually results in nothing but glitched statements.  This tape track is analogous to the squealing proximity of the sender to the receiver in the scored feedback parts.  The colour grey in the work’s title is inspired by the back and forth motion of a 2HB pencil stroking endlessly across an empty pad of paper.

Echo Grey 2016

 

 

NO HAY BANDA Montréal

Erin Gee – solo vocal performance November 28th 2016 – Sala Rossa, Montreal with Vinko Globocar

As part of NO HAY BANDA programming series with the support of Suoni Per Il Popolo.

More information:

NO HAY BANDA is a series of live musical events that aims to provide new outlets for artistic innovation and expression. Presented with the support of Suoni Per Il Popolo, programmes are designed to broaden and challenge the musical experience of the audience, showcasing the work of the young avant-garde that takes its roots in pop/rock, DIY culture and post-war experimentation.

NO HAY BANDA est une série de concerts qui incite à remettre en question les conceptions conventionnelles de la musique et de la performance, dans le but de créer de nouvelles voies pour l’expression artistique. Présentés avec l’appui de Suoni Per Il Popolo, nos programmes mettent en vedette des propositions de la jeune avant-garde, qui prend ses racines dans le pop/rock, la culture DIY et la musique expérimentale d’après-guerre.

La programmation de NO HAY BANDA cherche à promouvoir l’esthétique d’une nouvelle avant-garde internationale afin de produire des spectacles de ce genre pour la première fois à Montréal. Cette proposition est tirée des réseaux avec lesquels les membres ont été impliqués lors d’activités récentes en Europe et en Amérique.

NO HAY BANDA est un collectif d’artistes formé par trois interprètes de musique nouvelle basés à Montréal : Geneviève Liboiron, Noam Bierstone et Daniel Áñez. À travers notre expérience en création musicale et artistique, nous cherchons à créer un espace de concerts ouvert à un public diversifié où les expériences sonores priment.

NO HAY BANDA promeut la musique née d’une génération qui ne voit plus de barrières entre les différents genres musicaux, le théâtre, l’art performatif et la culture contemporaine. Chaque concert présentera un acte principal de 45-60 minutes avec un contenu international important, précédé par un acte d’ouverture de 20-30 minutes mettant en vedette des jeunes artistes sonores canadiens.

NO HAY BANDA veut devenir une institution dans la programmation musicale montréalaise et canadienne et l’option la plus avant-gardiste en ville. Le collectif est à la musique ce que la galerie d’art indépendante est aux arts visuels; la différence entre le musée et la galerie est toujours claire : le musée expose les œuvres historiques tandis que la galerie propose la créativité et l’innovation. Ainsi, nous oserons être la galerie en musique de l’innovation internationale et de l’avant-garde radicale à Montréal.

Song of Seven

A composition for children’s choir featuring seven voices and seven sets of biodata with piano accompaniment.

In this song, young performers contemplate an emotional time in their lives, and recount this memory as an improvised vocal solo.The choir is instructed to enter into a meditative state during these emotional solos, deeply listening to the tale and empathizing with the soloist, using imagination to recreate the scene.  Choir members are attached to a musical instrument I call the BioSynth a small synthesizer that sonifies heartbeats and sweat release for each individual member to pre-programmed tones. Sweat release, often acknowledged as a robust measure of emotional engagement, is signaled by overtones that appear and reappear over a drone; meanwhile the heartbeats of each chorister are sounded according to blood flow, providing a light percussion.

The musical score combines traditional music notation with vocal games and rhythms determined not necessarily by the conductor or score but by beatings of the heart and bursts of sweat. Discreet flashing lights on the synthesizer boxes in front of the choristers allowed the singers to discern the rhythms and patterns of their heart and sweat glands, which therefore permits compositions to incorporate the rhythms of the body into the final score as markers that trigger sonic events.

This choral composition was workshopped over a one-week residency at the LIVELab (McMaster University) with selected members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir, and facilitated by Hamilton Artists Inc. with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

For more information

Hamilton Children's Choir
Daniel Àñez (Spanish biography)
Hamilton Artists' Inc
LIVElab
Canada Council for the Arts

Piano accompanist: Daniel Àñez
Hardware design: Martin Peach
Software design: Erin Gee

Partitions1

New Work for Hamilton Children’s Choir

 

On June 25th 2016 I will be premiering new biosensor-driven work created especially for members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir.  This performance work will be presented in conjunction with my solo exhibition Vocales Digitales at Hamilton Artists Inc, thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Hamilton Children’s Choir is a nationally competitive choir of youth  accompanied by pianist Daniel Añez.  Áñez is a renowned pianist in the musical milieu of Canada and Latin America, an active performer of contemporary and experimental music, a touring soloist, and a chamber musician.

This new work will allow me to explore a highly personal composition process with the choir, featuring the sonification of group empathy as seen through physiological markers of emotion such as heartrate, respiration and sweat release.

For more information

Hamilton Children’s Choir

Daniel Añez (Spanish Biography)

Hamilton Artists Inc

Canada Council for the Arts

 

 

Artist talk and Catalogue Launch for Vocales Digitales

I will be giving an artist talk on Saturday April 23rd at Hamilton Artists’ Inc. to support my solo exhibition Vocales Digitales.  The event will also feature a catalogue launch, featuring a bilingual publication that includes essays by philosopher Eric Lewis and curator Maiko Tanaka.

The next day on Sunday April 24th I will be giving an artists’ workshop that introduces the Teensy microcontroller through basic electronics and biosensors.

 

New VR artwork commission from Trinity Square Video

I’m thrilled to announce that Trinity Square Video will be presenting new artworks for Virtual Reality interfaces in 2016-2017, including a new commissioned work by myself!  The work will feature pop music’s potential military applications in a first-person shooter style video game – expect autotuned voices, virtual pop stars, and new embodiments of my emotional biosensor hardware to take shape in this new work.

The project will feature Alex M. Lee as head artistic designer as well as work by Marlon Kroll and Roxanne Baril-Bédard.  I’ll continue to post teasers, hardware updates and more through this summer 2016!

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).

BodyRadio

(2011)

Four-part score for electronic voices in organic bodies debuted as part of New Adventure in Sound Art’s Deep Wireless Festival of Transmission Art, Toronto, Canada

Body Radio is a composition for four performers that reverses the interiority/exteriority of a radio, which is a human voice in an electronic body. Small wireless microphones are placed directly in the mouths of the performers, who are each facing a guitar amplifier. The performers control the sensitivity of both the amplifier’s receiving function and the microphone’s sending function in accordance with the score. The final sounds are a combination of inner mouth noises, breathing, and varying pitches feedback controlled by the opening and closing of mouths.

Erin Gee - Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo Series: 2011. Works for video, audio, and archival inkjet prints.

Exhibition history:

  • Dream Machines. TCC Chicago. Curated by Her Environment, August 16-30 2016.
  • Voice of Echo (solo exhibition) Gallerywest, Toronto. Curated by Evan Tyler, January 5–27, 2012.
  • Parer Place Urban Screens. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane AUS. May 18-20 2012.
  • Uncanny Sound. TACTIC, Cork, Ireland. Curated by Liam Slevin, September 14-24 2012.
  • Contemporary Projects. Curated by David Garneau and Sylvia Ziemann, Regina SK, 2011.

Propelling the mythology of Narcissus and Echo into a science-fiction future, I translate Echo’s golem-like body into a digital environment.

I became Echo in a silent performance for camera: a love song for an absent Narcissus (who is necessary to give Echo presence at all!). I later interpret the digital data from these images not in imaging software, but instead in audio software, revealing a noisy landscape of glitch, expressivity and vocality.  I bounced the data back and forth between the audio and image softwares, “composing” the visual and audio work through delays, copy/paste of image. While the natural world and human perspective created a cruel hierarchy between a human subject/image and a golem-like nymph who was invisible except as voice, technology and machine perspective allow the image and the sound to coexist and presuppose one another. The work is a futurist, emancipatory tale of non-human wrenching itself from dependency on human and instead revealing itself as an entangled, co-constitutive force.

What is the Voice of Echo?  It exists as repetition – of human voice, of Narcissus, a voice that extends anothers’ voice, this other body is somehow more tangible than Echo’s own body. The voice of echo and other non-human voices are unconscious and environmental, ambient, existing beyond symbolic content, the repetitions. The voice of Echo exists as a bouncing of processes, a distortion, a glitch, born of a love and desire uttered but never really heard.

(Description continues below)

I took stills from this love song and translated the raw visual data into an audio editing program, choosing particular interpretation methods to “compose” the echo.  I bounced this data between photoshop and audacity multiple times, eventually coming at glitched sounds of data interpretation, as well as an accompanying distorted image for each “song”.  Echo may only traditionally exist as a re-utterance of Narcissus’ voice, but in this case her cyberfeminist reimagining points at perverse loops somewhere between love, repetition and becoming.

 

Below is the “original video work” that got the call and response process started.

Voice of Echo: Song of Love for Technological Eyes (2011) silent HD video for monitor playback, 18:01 (looped)  Photography by Kotama Bouabane.

Echo is in love with recording technology, particularly the video camera. The mirrors emanating from her throat are her concrete manifestations of her voice – the lovesong intended for the camera’s eye.