Every sound is a small action and broke world

Monday, 12 December 2016
6 PM
8-11 (233 Spadina Avenue)

As part of Every sound is a small action and broke world, an exhibition by Christopher Willes currently on view at 8-11, this salon keeps with an inquiry into the various genealogies of sound that the exhibition elaborates and will feature texts by experimental music icons Maryanne Amacher and Pauline Oliveros.

Christopher Willes in attendance.

Every sound is a small action and broke world explores a sensorial delineation between the intra-noise of political conflict and music’s capacity to make something else audible. Borrowing its title from a line in the poem “Other dimensions in music, ghostcatching,” by Fred Moten, actions in the exhibition initiate from the forcefulness of sound—its vibrational persistence, and its material in-betweenness in relation to objects, the body, space and language. Informed by the compositional language of American experimental music, the exhibition includes several long-duration sound works that complicate attention, material memory and the concert as a mode of display.

Readings have been selected in consultation with artist Christopher Willes.

In a 2001 presentation as part of a panel on John Cage’s influence—which will be read aloud at the salon—Maryanne Amacher meditates on the future of music. More specifically, she writes about the possibility that the conditions of reception will become more a part of the music maker’s concern: “Music will be filled with extraordinary surprises … Music can tell us about the sensation of thinking.” For Amacher, and those who follow after her significant impact on experimental music practices, Cage’s effect was to open up not only a question of what is music, but how are we listening. In her visionary futurist tone, she speaks about the origins of music, its effect on the brain and cognitive approaches to composition that open new possibilities to experiencing music over long durations and through surprising sensations. She explains, “Expansive memory will allow composers to create sonic worlds that may last many hours yet include long periods of silence … Music will now take on a totally new dimension, similar to our experiences of time.”

Alongside this reading, the salon will also feature a collective enactment of one of Pauline Oliveros’s Sonic Meditations. Oliveros had abandoned composition/performance practice as it is usually established for what she termed Sonic Explorations, which included everyone who wanted to participate. She attempted to erase the subject/object or performer/audience relationship by returning to ancient forms that preclude spectators. She was interested in communication among all forms of life, through Sonic Energy. She was especially interested in the healing power of Sonic Energy and its transmission within groups. All societies admit the power of music or sound. Sonic Meditations are an attempt to return the control of sound to the individual alone and within groups especially for humanitarian purposes—specifically healing.

Excerpts will be handed out at the salon and no pre-reading is required.

Every sound is a small action and broke world is on view until 03 January 2017 at 8-11.

Special thanks to the 8-11 for hosting this salon.

CHRISTOPHER WILLES is a Canadian artist and composer. He makes performances, music and exhibitions, and he writes about contemporary art. Select projects have been presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Music Gallery, Intersite Visual Art Festival, The Rhubarb Festival and Open Ears Festival. He often works within experimental dance and theatre as a sound maker and dramaturge, including works with Public Recordings, Urbanvessel, Small Wooden Shoe, Dancemakers, Ellen Furey, Ame Henderson, Evan Webber and Adam Kinner. He studied music at the University of Toronto and received an MFA from Bard College. In 2016 he was awarded a Chalmers Art Fellowship and was a MacDowell Colony Fellow.