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Group Exhibition at DNA Artspace, November 29th to December 15th, 2013, London, Ontario.


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Clamour

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

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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.

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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”.

http://mcintoshgallery.ca/news/intensities_and_lines_of_flight.html

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.

 

Public Events:

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

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I’ve taken the Vision Persist program, and made it sound-driven. The Vision Persist program originally put basic shapes on the screen in a grid of squares, and blended them over time to create some really interesting colour combinations. The user could also draw in the grid to create areas of colour which would interact with what was already there.  I toyed with the idea of making it respond to motion, using a camera to detect the motion and thus create marks in the composition.  This seemed unsatisfactory as a “user interface”, though, as this work is all about colour, and the user would not be able to select a specific colour through their motions. Even some sophisticated analysis of gestures wouldn’t be very intuitive for the user.

Because this program uses the vision-persist colour-blending, even when there is no sound and no new elements are being generated, it still continues to blend the squares in an interesting way.  I kind of like the idea that abstract compositions are constantly being generated, and that the relationship to the sound might seem subtle at first. Once you know, of course, you can experiment with making different sounds varying in pitch, volume and duration, to affect the composition.

Sound is more satisfactory –  different pitches create different colours – and volumes of different frequencies affect the rate at which specific elements are drawn. Overall amplitude affects the size of the elements that are drawn.  This is quite fun to play with. You do feel that your speech and sounds are being rendered in shapes and colours (in a simple way).

Written in Processing using the excellent Minim sound library.

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