ICE Immersion Series 7

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Two Ears and One Mouth: an interdisciplinary workshop on ways of hearing

Led by artist and curator Heather Nicol on November 13 - 17, 2018

 In this workshop, participants will explore deep listening through sonic experimentation, audio recording, sound editing and playback. The workshop will culminate in a devised multi-channel sound installation created by the group. Actors, artists, vocalists, theatre devisors, podcasters, musicians, as well as technicians, researchers and curious minds are welcome.

In our digitized and mediated world, this workshop will target the sounds of the human voice as the prime source material for creative play. Inexorably linked with communication, voice is an instrument of tremendous subtlety, power, and universality – and readily available to record, manipulate, and emanate or broadcast.

Heather Nicol is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Toronto. She has created site-specific installations in New York City forArts Brookfield USA (The Winter Garden),  in Toronto for Art Brookfield Canada, (Allen Lambert Galleria) and Nuit Blanche, (Union Station – the Great Hall), as well as Sculpture Centre (New York), the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Hallwalls (Buffalo), Chateau de Courances, (Milly, France), Kunstlerhaus Betanien, (Berlin), among others. Her curatorial projects have often explored site-specific conditions as found in decommissioned, underutilized, repurposed and educational locations, and have fostered opportunities for large groups of artists working across a wide range of disciplines. She received her BFA (honours) from the School of Visual Arts in New York, MA in art education from NYU, and interdisciplinary MFA from OCAD University.

A unique program to explore the use of sound in space

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Tuesday November 13th 1:00-4:00

Day 1- Voice

We will generate sounds and concentrate on active listening skills. Through improvisational games and sound making, story-telling and role playing, we will explore our own voices using breath, words, rhythms, singing, humming, and non-verbal expression, vocalizations as desired by each participant. Through listening with attentive focus, exploring both non-interruptive behaviors as well as interactive and responsive modes, the room will fluidly shift from gentle to fulsome.

Some questions to be considered when voice is used in works of art across disciplines:

What happens to how we hear / what we hear / audience reception when the vocal source is invisible? In theatre, film, and TV the source of voice is mostly always seen in the form of actors and their actions. When watching is taken out of the loop, do we hear differently?

What words or sounds will be heard? What language will be spoken? Whose voices? Who is included, who is left out? How does voice identify race, socioeconomic standing, gender and other identity categorizations, and how will these hierarchies influence the meaning and feception of work? Is it possible to use voice as a vehicle without these issues dominating? Is that desirable?

How can vocal sounds be emotionally intense and honest, without being ridiculous or cliché? Can humor fit in? What other types of sounds will draw people in and hold them there, even if it’s uncomfortable?

How can repetitive phrases or clips, uttered in seemingly different contexts, with possibly different meanings, be employed to explore our complex, multifaceted identities?

What does connection sound like? How do we feel or identify it? For instance, if we listen to the same “sound score” twice, one in which the actors are in the same time / space, and the other where the actors are separated, will it sound different, and if so, how, specifically? What is it that we hear on recorded material that reveals interaction, actual connection, and response? What does isolation sound like in subtle terms?

Wednesday November 14th, 1:00-4:00

Day 2 –Voice recording and field recording working in pairs and groups

Stage, film and voice actor / musician / teacher Martin Julien will join us to add his perspectives and knowledge of the recording process, the complex relationship to microphones, and ways to ease the recording process. Participants will use their own mobile phones or shared recording devises to collect sounds, in our room and possibly other spaces in the building.

We will upload material at the end of the session.

Thursday November 15th, 1:00-4:00

Day 3 – editing basics – spatialized sound applications

We will use our collected material to learn sound editing basics using Audacity software. Mono, stereo and multichannel outputs will be presented. We will begin a collective creation process and make an action plan for the pause day.

Pause day: At home, participants will record and edit their own contributions toward the collective sound project.

Saturday November 17th, 11:00-3:00

Day 4 – sound installation and open presentation of the work

This session is divided into two parts.

Part one (11:00-2:00). Participants will upload their sonic contributions, and we will listen to each other’s audio clips. We will collectively jam and improvise in the creation of a multi-channel output audio score, select target speakers and assemble a spatialized sound environment.

Part two (2:00-3:00). We will listen to our devised audio score and open our doors for a public presentation!