Friday, August 11, 2006

New Adventures in Sound Art

Wards island geese

On the other end of the Toronto Islands another event was taking place. One that was much more subduded. It was the New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) doing art installations (with sound). How this worked. People would meet at the Ward's Island Ferry dock at 6:30. At that time Nadine of NAISA would then lead people on a predetermined route to a church where a sound concert would be performed.

The route was a sound walk. That is to say instead of looking around you were encouraged to listen along the way. To help facilitate this you were partnered up with someone else and were told to close your eyes. It was the job of your partner to lead you around without making you walk into the water or into a tree. Later on during the walk you would change up making you the guide and the other the listener.

Paula Kaye biking the Islands

To make things a little more interesting than just listening to the every day park sounds, NAISA would introduce sound installations which would kick in when you'd least expect it. An example of this was Deb's bell installation with market sounds coming from a ghetto blaster.

As you'd do the sound walk things would sound normal. That is normal for a park surrounded by water. As you got closer to the installation you'd start hearing sounds that seem to stick out.

Deb explains his installation

As this was my first sound walk experience I found that the idea being very odd at first. It seemed like a very sound geeky thing to do. When you actually concentrate on the sounds coming into your head you really realize the amount of sound that your brain filters out. Stuff you take for granted.

It's almost like you become more aware. Birds chirping, the ferry horn tooting, grass being squished under your feet, your breathing, water hitting the rocks, bike tires riding on the trail or boardwalk, bike bells ringing, people laughing having conversations, air passing through branches, a frisbee hitting a tree, clothing rubbing as people walked, dogs wandering by, the baby buggy rolling by, the D200 shutter firing, the squeaky left boot that everyone seems to notice.

Partnered up for a sound walk

Most of us really do take a lot of the sounds we hear for granted and until you actually make a conscious effort to listen for these sounds they might almost not even be there to begin with. The nice thing about hanging out with these sound enthusiasts is that you really get an appreciation of sounds of all kinds, it's repeatative nature, it's volume, and even the lack of it.

On a side note, Why is it that a duck's quack has no echo?

Chris and Charlotte try out an installation on the board walk between Wards and Centre Island

Audio concert in the Church

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pictures of the church interior during the performance with flute & cello are very beautiful indeed!