Toronto Tag

Toronto Biennial

November 16, 2019: 3pm-7pm

Toronto: (Check the web link here for updates)

I am please to be presenting my Larynx series (2015) compositions for live vocal quartet in the context of a  fantastic looking posthuman vocal concert curated by Myung-Sun Kim and Maiko Tanaka. The concert is included in the programming for the Toronto Biennial 2019.

Erin Gee - Larynx Series

Erin Gee – Larynx1. Epson UltraChrome K3 ink on acid-free paper.
Edition of 5.
86 x 112 cm.

TELLINGS—A Post-Human Vocal Concert seeks to challenge traditional conceptions of voice. Artists working experimentally with sound—live electronics, deep listening, sound art—perform compositions that explore new modes of vocal production. The experimental vocal compositions in solo and ensemble formats question the way we imagine the body of a voice and the “receiver” as well as the divisions made between nature and technology. Each composition performed in TELLINGS presents increasingly inter-species, inter-organ, feminist, and collaborative notions through the languages of plants, animals, and even human organs not normally associated with having authorship or intention.

Artists: Jeneen Frei Njootli, Erin Gee, Ts̱ēmā Igharas, Stephanie Loveless, and Miya Masaoka

Co-curated by Maiko Tanaka and Myung-Sun Kim.

Co-presented in partnership with Trinity Square Video and MVS Proseminar, University of Toronto—John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design

BIOS

Erin Gee (born in Regina, SK, Canada; lives in Montreal, QC, Canada) is an artist inspired by feminist, posthumanist approaches to ontology, consciousness, and the human body. Known for her work in choral composition, biodata-driven interfaces, robotics, and ASMR, she uses art to explore the autonomous nature of sensory cognition, emotion, and empathy in humans and non-human assemblages. Her work has shown internationally at venues such as: Ars Electronica, Linz; NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. In 2020 she has a solo exhibition at MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina.

Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, born in Whitehorse, YK, Canada; lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada) is a Vuntut Gwitchinartist working with mixed media, sound-based performances, textiles, and installation to explore Indigeneity in politics, community engagement, and history embedded in cultural materials. She was the 2017 recipient of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver’s Artist Prize. In 2018 alone she had solo exhibitions in venues such as: Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; FIERMAN, New York City; and Artspace, Peterborough. Her work has appeared in numerous international exhibitions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Canada and Nottingham Contemporary among others.

Maiko Tanaka (born in Toronto, ON, Canada; lives in Buffalo, NY, USA) is the Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center in Buffalo NY. She holds a BFA from OCADU and MVS from the University of Toronto. She has curated projects in Canada and abroad, including for TSV, Nuit Blanche at OCADU, Onsite, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, InterAccess, Gendai, all in Toronto, as well as Casco, in Utrecht/NL. She co-edited The Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook (Casco) and Model Minority (Gendai) and has written for Scapegoat, C Magazine, and Fuse as well as various artist publications.

Miya Masaoka (born in Washington, USA; lives in New York City, NY, USA) is an American artist and composer. Her work explores bodily perception of vibration, movement, and time while foregrounding complex timbre relationships. Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale; MoMA PS1, New York City; Kunstmuseum Bonn; and the Caramoor, NY. She is a 2019 Studio Artist for the Park Avenue Armory, and has previously received a Doris Duke Artist Award, Fulbright, and Alpert Award in the Arts. She teaches at Columbia University, New York City where she is the Director of the Sound Art Program.

Stephanie Loveless (born in Montreal, Canada; lives in New York, USA) is a sound and media artist whose research centres on listening and vocal embodiment. Her recent projects include a mobile web-app for geo-located listening and sound works that channel the voices of plants, animals, and musical divas. She holds MFAs from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Bard College, both in upstate New York, and a certification in Deep Listening from composer Pauline Oliveros. She teaches courses on Deep Listening and ecologically-oriented sound art at RPI.

Ts̱ēmā Igharas (Tahltan First Nation, born in Smithers, BC, Canada; lives in San Francisco, USA) is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tahltan First Nation. Igharas is influenced by Potlatch methodology, teachings from her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan, her studies in visual culture, and time in the mountains. Igharas has shown and performed in various places in Canada and internationally, presenting her work that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land.

Digifest Toronto

Thu, 04/26/2018 –
Sat, 04/28/2018

CORUS QUAY

25 Dockside Dr
ON M5A 1B6 Toronto


Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
Curated by Tina Sauerländer (Berlin) and Erandy Vergara (Montreal)

Project H.E.A.R.T. by Erin Gee and Alex M. Lee
Enter Me Tonight by Li Alin
 
At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut curators Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergara have selected VR works for this year’s Toronto Digifest, including two recent pieces by Berlin-based Canadian artist Li Alin and Montreal-based artist Erin Gee in collaboration with South Korean-born, US-based artist Alex M. Lee. The artists use humor and irony to engage in controversial topics: emotions in first-person shooter video games and war in the case of Gee, and a futuristic exploration on human reproduction in technology-oriented times in the case of Alin.

The audience itself explores Gee’s H.E.A.R.T., a virtual work where you have to control your emotions to control the leading character in a war-related VR game, as well as Alin’s Enter Me Tonight, a VR environment engaged with issues on human reproduction, economy, biology, pornography and technology.

In a contextualizing event, the curators will speak about the history of VR and current trends and critical perspectives on this technology.

Digifest 2018 website

Event information courtesy of Goethe Institute

WorldBuilding: TSV Toronto

November 3rd – December 9th 2017

Trinity Square Video, 401 Richmond, Toronto Canada.

My work made in collaboration with 3D artist Alex M. Lee for VR and emotional-biosensors, Project H.E.A.R.T. (2017) was debuted on November 5th at Trinity Square Video, Toronto.

This project was commissioned by TSV by curators John Hampton and Maiko Tanaka, thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The exhibition also features amazing works by Canadian artists Jeremy Bailey and Kristen Schaffer, Eshrat Erfanian, and Yam Lau.

Visit the Worldbuilding website by clicking here.

 

VR Commission Update

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the art developed last summer in a residency at the Technoculture Art and Games lab at Concordia University with lead 3D artist Alex Lee, AI designer Sofian Audry, art assistant Marlon Kroll, and research assistant Roxanne Baril-Bédard. Among holographic popstars who may or may not have their own consciousness to begin with, the project includes rhetorical analysis of post 9/11 counterterrorist video games, reality television, startup culture, and self-help manuals for improving emotional state.

I am implementing the Biosensor control system this Winter and plan on working on finalizing the game’s art, music and sounds this summer for a launch towards the end of 2017 in an exhibition at Trinity Square Video in Toronto.


In the future, weapons of war possess advanced AI systems, systems that guarantee successful automated combat on behalf of soldiers wielding the technology.  The military still trains its soldiers in case of equipment failure, but at this point, fighters function more as passive operators. The terrorist threat has nothing similar to this technology in their ranks, and the effectiveness of our systems is swift and deadly.  Historically, our soldiers manning the machines have never witnessed violence or devastation at this scale: the largest threat to soldiers today defending our nation’s values is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

To address this unfortunate state of affairs, the military developed a startup fund open to the public to resolve this issue through technological innovation.  Significant scholarships and research funding was provided for researchers interested in devoting time to creating a means towards mitigating the psychological crisis.  A risky but intriguing proof of concept was eventually presented: the creation of a revolutionary entertainment for the troops as they fought the terrorist threat.

Yowane Haku became the face of this entertainment: a mobile holographic pop star engineered specifically for psychological distraction on the battlefield.  

The world’s most talented engineers, design consultants, and pop writing teams were assembled to enshrine Haku with every aesthetic and technical element to impress not only the troops, but the world with her next-generation technology.  However, the initial test-run of this mobile holographic pop medium in combat trials was….a failure.  

On the battlefield, Haku’s perfect body glowed faintly amongst the dust and screams, bullets and explosions passing ineffectually, dance moves precise, vocalizations on point. But ultimately her pop music performance lacked resonance with the battle.  Instead of the soldiers being emboldened by this new entertainment, which was intended to distract or inspire them from their gruesome tasks, their adverse psychological symptoms…flourished.  Some of the men went mad, laughing maniacally in tune with the holographic presence smiling sweetly at them.  It was only due to the superiority of our AI weaponry and automated drone operation that the morally corrupt foreign threat, with their violent and technologically crude methods, were stopped that day. The minds of our soldiers were lost.

Months later, a young pool of startup professionals would provide another solution.  This vocal minority of engineers…though others called them crazy….had a hunch. For the hologram pop star to “work,” her systems needed access pure emotion, to link a human element with the trauma of the human soldiers.  But it was not clear who, or what, could best provide this emotional link…and what amount of embodied “disruption” this might entail…

This enthusiastically crowdfunded group of millennials completed their groundbreaking research without the strings of ethics funding or institutional control.  Human emotions and consciousness now flow direct to Haku via experimental trials in VR technology.  Haku rises again on the battlefront.

Simultaneously, a new reality television show has been borne of these first human trials. The star of this reality show could be…….you.

Could you be the next American Sweetheart?  Do you have what it takes to provide 110% Best Emotional Performance?  Join us through advanced VR technologies, Live and Direct on the battlefield, to find out if you could be fit to man the ultimate weapon of war: Our Next Holographic Idol.

This project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Trinity Square Video’s AMD VR lab

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.