Nothing to Hear, So to Speak

Installation—100 McCaul St, Toronto ON

 1/2    Installation (yellow stairwell detail), 100 McCaul St

 2/2    Installation (pink stairwell detail), 100 McCaul St
Exhibition Text: PDF
Exhibition Poster: JPG

Discovering uncommon sounds in common spaces provides a mechanism for breaking patterns of predictable listening. Unexpected sonic events draw listeners attention and further sustain interest when nurtured with sensitive intentionality. I contend that through subtle yet powerful shifts of everyday behavior it is possible to facilitate diverse and meaningful shared aural experiences. My research investigates what perspectives and relationships might be forged through such an expansion of listening inside of entrance foyers, corridors and staircases in urban multi-storey buildings. I explore this dynamic using microphones, loudspeakers and radio transmission across a series of site-responsive sound installations. These sonic and spatial interventions encourage varied modalities of listening and participation. In this context, my intention is not so much to create new sounds; rather, it is to amplify what is occurring in the environment.


Installation—Roundtable Residency, Toronto ON

 1/3    Installation (upstairs), 35 Prince Arthur Ave

 2/3    Installation (downstairs), 35 Prince Arthur Ave

 3/3    Installation (downstairs detail), 35 Prince Arthur Ave
Exhibition Catalog: PDF

A microphone drops down the central staircase of a three-storey building; it picks up sounds from the ground-floor entrance foyer. This signal is transported to a corridor on the top-floor of the building. Here, sounds from the foyer are made audible using using sixteen FM radios distributed across a series of semi-mirrored windows.

For Pauline

Installation—205 Richmond St West, Toronto ON

 1/2    Installation (interior), 205 Richmond St West

 2/2    Installation (exterior), 205 Richmond St West
Sonic Meditations: PDF

This work is based around Ear Ly—a composition by Pauline Oliveros that can be enacted through a series of performative instructions:

  1. Enhance or paraphrase the auditory environment so perfectly that a listener cannot distinguish between the real sounds of the environment and the performed sounds.
  2. Become performers by not performing.

To explore the concept of the text, instead of being performed in a strict sense, the instructions themselves were spoken, recorded and then configured to transmit (on loop) using a low-power FM radio transmitter. This was connected to a FM radio antenna made from thin copper cabling that was split between an interior entrance foyer and adjacent exterior sidewalk. Using this arrangement, touching the antenna made the signal strong enough for the recording of Oliveros’ instructions to be heard via a portable FM radio receiver in the foyer space.

Variable Frequencies

Installation(s)—Various Locations, Toronto ON

 1/4    Variation #3, Graduate Gallery (OCAD University)

 2/4    Variation #3, Graduate Gallery (OCAD University)

 3/4    Variation #2, Media Space (OCAD University)

 4/4    Variation #1, Graduate Gallery (OCAD University)
Journal Article: PDF

Thin copper cabling is used to make radio antenna inside of white-walled gallery spaces. These structures are used to distribute audio recordings via FM radiowaves in the surrounding space. The signal is received by hidden portable FM radio receivers. Interference from the environment creates an unstable and shifting connection to the signal.