Blog Post

Sound Thinking Symposium Nov 20

May be of interest to those of you working with sound, voice, music, and the like...


Sound Thinking 2011 Symposium

Active Voice: Vocality as Medium, Object and Material

Surrey Art Gallery, BC, Canada

November 20, noon–5pm

Spoken dialogue, song, and other non-verbal sounds created by the human mouth have much to tell us about what it means to be human today. Voices are increasingly heard in museums and galleries around the world, but not only are these voices speaking about art, they are central elements of the artworks. Surrey Art Gallery’s 2011 Sound Thinking symposium Active Voice: Vocality as Medium, Object and Material explores this subject of voice in contemporary art and society at large. The symposium brings together an eclectic group of sound artists, visual artists, performers, and writers who work across a range of methods and a number of practices devoted to the exploration of sound and the visual arts. Sound Thinking is part of the Gallery’s Open Sound program, and takes place at the Surrey Art Gallery on Sunday, November 20, 12–5pm. Admission is free – donations are gratefully received. Seating is limited.

Among the presentations will be a radio play with talking, insomniac plants by critically acclaimed London, UK-based artist Janice Kerbel; Ottawa-based artist Dipna Horra will discuss transmigration and vocal art; and Judy Radul will talk on her installation and performances related to voice. Prolific London, UK-based scholar Steven Connor will give the keynote Broken Voices, which addresses vocal noises – whispers, slurps, pops, wheezes, etc. – that tend to be overlooked in accounts of the voice as meaning or expression. Experimental vocal presentations/performances will be premiered by Lief Hall and Karilynn Ming Ho.

Keynote speaker: Steven Connor (Professor, Birbeck College London)

Presentations: Ross Birdwise (artist, musician), Clint Burnham (writer, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University), Dipna Horra (artist), Janice Kerbel (artist), Harkeerat Mangat (artist, vocalist), Tomasz Michalak (writer, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia), Judy Radul (artist, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University)

Performances: Karilynn Ming Ho (artist) and Lief Hall (artist, vocalist)

Conveners: Lisa Coulthard (Associate Professor, Film Studies, University of British Columbia) and Jordan Strom (Curator, Surrey Art Gallery)

Sound Thinking 2011 is presented in conjunction with Open Sound 2011: Nests Built by Birds, a series of sound art installations situated in the Surrey Art Centre’s public spaces that foregrounds the innovative use of voice through mediated forms of speech and song. The artists in this year’s Open Sound exhibition are Andrea Young and André Cormier, Ellen Moffat, and Dipna Horra.

Founded in 2008, the Surrey Art Gallery’s Sound Thinking symposium is an annual one day event which brings together practitioners and professionals in the field of sound art. The symposium features leading sound artists, scholars and researchers in the field of sound studies, along with visual artists who use sound as key components of their practice, and musicians who experiment with the limits of music and sound. Past symposia have addressed subjects as diverse as radiophonic space, sound art installation, new approaches to ethnographic sound, and acoustic ecology.

Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 - 88 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada. 604-501-5566.


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