Electric Fields 2011 – Swim Sound

[photo: Adam Tinworth]

Our peers at Artengine are gearing up for the 2011 installment of their Electric Fields festival and this year the event is focusing on exploring the relationship between sound and space. Beginning next Wednesday, Electric Fields will repurpose a public pool, a basilica church, civil service buildings, the Grand Hall at the Museum of Civilization and downtown Ottawa as sites of performance and deep listening. Vague Terrain was invited to advise on one of these exciting projects and this dialogue helped set the stage for Swim Sound, a collaboration that will see media artist Rob Cruickshank team up with musican Jesse Stewart for a one-of-a-kind musical performance at the  Champagne Bath (a historic public pool). Cruickshank & Stewart's performance will blend electronic and jazz tropes via a drum kit staged on a platform in the pool, a watergong, hydrophones and a custom built synthesiser to leverage the unique acoustic qualities of this space. Artengine/Vague Terrain critical blogging resident Jaenine Parker wrote a preview of the performance earlier this week and the below excerpt gives a good overview of the artists' plans:

'Stewart’s large transparent drum kit will be staged on a platform in the pool, to appear as if it is floating on water. Throughout the performance Stewart will switch from playing his drum kit to dipping other percussive instruments, like gongs, into the pool. “The addition of water, lowers the pitch” explains Stewart. People swimming underwater will hear these warped acoustic sounds, which will be picked up by underwater microphones, called hydrophones, floating below the surface of the pool.  The hydrophones have been specially created by Cruickshank to transport the sound in the pool back through speakers into the space. Performing outside of the pool, Cruickshank, will be relaying and electronically processing the sounds he collects from the microphones, live. His performance will also blend in his own synthesized creations to the sampled sound he will process.'

This will most certainly be an engaging performance. Swim Sound takes place on Friday November 25th at 10PM – tickets are $10 and full details are available here. Be sure to check out the rest of the Electric Fields programming as it appears both adventurous and promising (the Polytectures soundwalk seems particularly compelling).