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Sound Effects

If you were a cricket in Edmonton, chances are that your sonic environment could find its way into the literary world. Finding different ways of listening while connecting sound, technology and literature, are some of the interests, desires and preoccupations of poet and sound-artist, Oana Avasilichioaei, and Nik Forrest, PhD students in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program and SpokenWeb research creation award recipient. The two artists presented their work on November 14th as part of the SpokenWeb, Performing Technology program at Concordia University.

Sound can trigger an emotion, reconstruct an experience in our life while it brings us closer to our environment. "Sonic Thresholds: 4th Space" was the sound composition that Nik Forrest presented. It had low frequency sounds captured in the room we occupied, ones that are rarely heard, as Dr. Katherine McLeod, curator of the series, explained during the introduction.

We were invited to move freely throughout the room during the performance. I opted to close my eyes. What follows are some of free associations that resulted from me entering the fourth space: Stillness. Emptiness. Soft sounds. Sounds from nature. Crickets. Air. Heartbeat. Sound of an old record. Raindrops. A highway. Home. I found it interesting how, through Nik’s sound performance that lasted no more than 15 minutes, I was able to travel thousands of kilometers away from Montreal and fly back with a comforting feeling in my heart.

Oana Avasilichioaei presented her multimedia piece OPERATOR, “which explores the subject position(s) of military drone operators through text, video, improvisation, and live electroacoustic sound,” as read on the communication material about the event.

The loud sound of jet engines we were hearing inside the room versus the apparent tranquility with which pedestrians move around in the street outside, produced an effect of disruption that signalled fragility and vulnerability.

In times when images control our attention, sound becomes an alternative to engage with our environment. SpokenWeb has weekly events, check their website for more details. And be ready to expand your frontiers through sound.

To learn more about Nik’s work, click here.

To learn more about Oana’s work, click here.

By Lily Olivas


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