I have a new artist website at http://giles-whitaker.squarespace.com/ From now on, this will be the main place to go to for news about my work as an artist. The website also has a blog, and it will make sense to blog there rather than continuing to use this blog. I may continue to use this blog for certain purposes; I haven’t quite decided yet.
I have started a new photo blog at gileswhitaker.tumblr.com
The subject of the blog is the city that I live in, London, Ontario. These photographs represent my own experience of living in this city. I am attempting to show things as I find them – mundane, dilapidated, ordinary, prosaic, beautiful, enigmatic, depressing, or several of these at once. I do not wish to show everything in a defamiliarized way that implies that I have a special, enlightened understanding of the subject that I am trying to impart to the viewer. I do not wish to apply a particular aesthetic to all the photographs so that they end up portraying my own way of seeing the world, rather than the city itself. Inevitably, either of these things could end up happening, as photographs are inherently subjective, and sometimes the photographer does see and present a particular understanding of a subject that enlightens the viewer.
Who are these photographs for? Myself, as making them helps in my process of thinking about the place I live in, and my own relationship to it. Other inhabitants of London, so that they can see it through my own eyes, not a more enlightened view, just a different one. Anyone else in the world who might be curious about this small, struggling town between two big lakes (and two big cities), somewhere in the middle of the vast North American continent. The more curioisity I have about it, the more it reveals itself, and this photo blog is part of that process.
Group Exhibition at DNA Artspace, November 29th to December 15th, 2013, London, Ontario.
Giles Whitaker and Chris Myhr, 2013
Found appliances, surface-transducers, speakers, computers, and electronics.
The former workplace kitchen of the Fodemesi Shoes factory is reanimated with sound and motion. An array of computer-controlled appliances operates autonomously within an immersive field of sound generated by devices embedded in the walls, ceiling and cupboards of the space. The work aims to evoke and intensify the forlorn qualities of this abandoned site, and engages with ideas of labour, consumption, appetites, and noise.
Giles Whitaker works with machines, microcontrollers, and found objects. Sound is a key element of his installations, which aim to reveal and analyze the political and cultural properties of the spaces they occupy. Giles completed his undergraduate degree in Wellington, New Zealand, and his MFA at Western University, London, Ontario. His past exhibitions in New Zealand and Canada include abstract video, sound, and interactive multimedia installations.
Chris Myhr is an interdisciplinary media artist whose studio practice moves between media installation, sound-based work, video and photography. He is currently working with visual programming languages and surface-transduction technologies in the generation of live and immersive listening environments which address the interconnected relationships between sound, body, and space. He is particularly interested in the ways in which the natural and built spaces we inhabit, together with our acquired and conditioned approaches to listening, shape aural experience and perception.
You can hear the sounds of the installation here: https://soundcloud.com/gileswhitaker/clamour
Here are some photographs of the gallery works from the Listening Space exhibition at McIntosh Gallery, 16th August to 14th September, 2013. First three photographs by Brad Isaacs, last two by Giles Whitaker.
Showing at McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario, until 14th September, 2013.
The works in this exhibition are all concerned with the characteristic surrounding sounds of various public and institutional spaces, their soundscapes. Soundscapes can be experienced as comforting or irritating, liberating or restrictive, depending on the particular person and their relationship to the space. Audial information is often regarded as secondary or supplementary to visual information, but careful attention to the soundscape of a space can be very revealing about its properties. Sound has the ability to define spaces, but it also often infiltrates them from the outside, and refuses to be contained by them. In this sense it has an anarchic nature, which is particularly suited for revealing, analysing and disrupting the rules that normally govern these spaces. Public spaces, institutions and cultural practices are inherently political, as they reflect the values of dominant groups, and facilitate certain types of activities and preclude others. Through sonic means, these works aim to reveal the properties of these structures, to shed light on how they have been constructed. Who is in charge? What is permitted, and what is forbidden, and how is this communicated through the aural properties of the space? The soundscapes of a variety of spaces in London, Ontario are revealed, analyzed and/or disrupted by the works in this exhibition.
One of the works from the show, Structural Breakdown, is installed on the street in London, Ontario, and this work was the subject of a Metro News article:
This installation consists of a number of small, microprocessor controlled machines which make sound by tapping on the architectural surfaces to which they are attached. These sounds overlay the existing soundscape of this institutional space, and draw attention to its properties. At the same time, the work effects an actual change in the aural properties of the space and imbues it with new affective qualities. This work intends to problematize the unstated or unquestioned assumptions around this public space. How are the perceptible structures in this space arranged, and why is this taken as “natural” by its inhabitants?
Exhibited at Make/Shift exhibition, Artlab, University of Western Ontario, Sep 20 – Oct 4, 2012.
I have an interactive, projected work in an exhibition at McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario, presented in conjunction with the conference “Intensities and Lines of Flight: Deleuze, Guattari and the Arts”.
About the work:
netLines is a complex interactive system which exhibits a range of different behaviours. The composition consists of 10,000 lines which traverse the whole space, and the voids in the space are created by the absence of lines. The lines are simultaneously repelled from all these voids until they reach positions of equilibrium. Voids can be expanded by clicking or dragging on them with the mouse pointer. This affects the whole field and the lines are forced to jitter around until they find new equilibrium positions. Different behaviours can be elicited with different levels and intensities of interaction. The sound of the work changes to reflect these different behaviours.
Friday, May 4, 5:00 P.M.
Keynote address: Josée Drouin Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, Conron Hall, University College, Western University
Friday, May 4, 7:00 P.M.
Lines of Flight reception, McIntosh Gallery. Join Josée Drouin Brisebois, exhibiting artists and conference delegates to open the exhibition and conference. Hors d’oeuvre and aperitifs served.
Sunday, May 6, 11:00 A.M.
Intensities and Lines of Flight exhibition tour, McIntosh Gallery