Eastern Bloc

Exhibits 2012 - 2013

19 - 22 December 2012

Performances: 19 - 21 December, 8pm
Closing event: 22 December, 8pm
Installations: 19 - 22 December, 12pm - 8pm
Workshops: 19 - 22 December, various schedules

Complete program of Objet Inusité

Lucas Abela, Thomas Bégin, Peter Blasser, Peter Flemming, Gambletron, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Jeremy Gordaneer, Darsha Hewitt, Yann Leguay, Maxime de la Rochefoucauld, Keiko Uenishi

Eastern Bloc, in collaboration with Suoni per il popolo festival, presents Objet Inusité, an international summit bringing together 15 artists and curators from Montreal and abroad, to collectively explore and discuss the audio/visual aspects of digital art through non-screen based practices. Through exploratory workshops, artist presentations and panel discussions, and site-specific installations and performances, particular emphasis is placed on audio art practices that use the "object" as interface, concentrating on objects of an uncommon/non-standard/residual nature.

This 4-day event, co-curated by Eliane Ellbogen and Lisa Gamble, will explore how objects, imbued with a persona, may be activated by their user to take on a life of their own, in a performative or installation context. The presented works seek to examine how the activation of these objects allow for a spontaneous, accidental materialization of the hidden persona of these otherwise inanimate objects. They look at how an object, whether of a discarded or useful nature, can take on a cultural relevance, and how that cultural relevance can be reinterpreted and re-appropriated for an artistic context.

Tickets: $10 per performance event or closing event
Installations: free entry
Workshops: various rates


19 December, 8pm

Jean-Pierre Gauthier presents the newest results in his development of instruments for audio performance. The artist has devised a system of working with found objects that offer particular aural resonance. The sounds created in this context are sampled and transformed throughout the performance, using audio applications for iPod and iPad. The metamorphosis and superposition of these varying audio samples allow him to construct a complex web of sounds. Gauthier also makes use of an invented instrument that pulsates air directly into a microphone. The mechanics allow him to direct the output of the microphones in order to modulate the sounds produced by the air pulses. The artist manipulates by hand the inflatable membranes connected to a pneumatic system, which gives him the ability to significantly alter the sounds.

Montreal artist Jean-Pierre Gauthier, who has been active on the contemporary art scene since 1995, has a hybrid practice that incorporates visual arts and audio exploration. He was the winner of the prestigious Sobey Art Award in 2004 and recipient of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Stauton Award in 2006. He has exhibited his audio and kinetic installations across Canada, in Europe, Asia and America. Notable among his group exhibitions are Montreal's Biennale 2000, Electrohype 2006, Lunds Konsthall, and Transmediale.06 – Smile Machines, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2006), Tonspur_expended, Vienna, Austria (2010), Manif, Québec (2012), FIMAV (2012), File Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012). A retrospective of his work Jean-Pierre Gauthier: Machines at Play was organised by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and was presented in five Canadian museums and at the Akron Art Museum (Ohio, USA). Gauthier is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. His last solo show in New York was considered by the Village Voice to be one of the best shows in 2011.


19 December, 8pm
Feedback Babies

The Fisher-Price Nursery Monitor is a low watt household radio set that was commercially sold throughout North America in the early 1980s. It was intended to “let parents be in two places at once” by transmitting the sounds emanating from the baby nursery to a wireless receiver accompanying a parent in another part of the home. However, these devices were not without their technological nuisances. The signal carried between the baby monitors was often littered with crosstalk from competing radio waves, causing undesirable audible interference. Furthermore, as with any audio input/output system, when both units are in close proximity they produce disruptive audio feedback – unpleasant noise that could rudely awaken a napping child. “Feedback Babies” is an electromechanical sound performance that exploits these inherent glitches. The receivers are attached to motors and slowly bow back and forth in front of the emitters, creating a subtle soundscape of nuanced feedback patterns and squelching radio interference reminiscent of the whimpers of crying babies.

Darsha Hewitt is a Canadian artist based in Montreal. Her artwork is the result of studio-based experiments she conducts with amateur electronics and trailing edge communication technology. She makes electro-mechanical sound installations, performances, and technical drawings that playfully subvert the “how to” format prevalent in do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics culture. Hewitt’s work has been presented in Canada, Mexico and in Europe.


19 December, 8pm
Car Décalé (Légèrement) / Because Shifted (Slightly)

Car Décalé (Légèrement) / Because Shifted (Slightly) is a sound-performance/installation that redefines a space by utilizing audio feedback. CDL was purposely constructed in the simplest format without specifics. Aesthetic aspects such as the materials used for walls, ceiling, floors, columns, furniture, people, etc. serve as influential components. CDL also exposes the layers of “rooms” within a “room.” Any hollow-shaped elements such as air-ducts, glasses, bottles, tubes, cans, etc. inside of the whole physical room, would become smaller “rooms” within the larger space. These temporary structures become the feedback chamber for Uenishi’s performance.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, sound art-i-vist, socio-environment composer, and a core member of SHARE (share.dj), Keiko Uenishi (o.blaat) is known for her works formed through experiments in restructuring and analyzing one's relationship with sounds in sociological, cultural, and/or psychological environments. Some of her works include: SOUNDLEAK: TheROOM (Simulation of neighbours) at Medien Kultur Haus, Wels, Austria, BroadwayDreams (web-based collaborative 'blink media documentation'), compositional interpretation for Christian Marclays’ object score, Sixty-Four Bells and a Bow, at Whitney Museum of Art, and a participatory composition, Paiva Games: Sound Dams, for Paivascapes Festival, Portugal in 2010. Uenishi’s works have been presented in locations including: Whitney Museum of American Art, P.S. 1, DIA:Beacon, Lincoln Center, Sculpture Center, Eyebeam, ICA Philadelphia, MUTEK, ClubTransmediale, ZKM, Netmage, Vienna Konzerthaus, Alte-Schmiede, Skolska28, Paivascape, Museu Serralves, Casa da Musica, Atlantic Wave Festival, ICA London, Futuresonic Festival, Tate Britain, Fortescue Avenue Gallery, Sydney Opera House. Uenishi has collaborated with artists including: Miguel Frasconi, Ricardo Arias, Klaus Filip, Christian Marclay, Toshio Kajiwara, Ikue Mori, Kaffe Matthews, Marina Rosenfeld, Takehisa Kosugi, DJ Olive, Aki Onda, Sawako, Katherine Liberovskaya, Kurt Ralske, HC Gilje, Lukasz Lysakowski, Nobukazu Takemura, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Merce Cunningham Dance Company.


20 December, 8pm
Justice Yeldham

Lucas Abela performs under the name Justice Yeldham with his infamous glass instrument, the shards being nothing more than a giant diamond tipped stylus you vibrate with your mouth. He has been perfecting the instrument since its invention in 2003. In his performance, Yeldham ecstatically purses his lips against sheets of amplified glass whilst deftly employing various vocal techniques ranging from throat singing to raspberries, turning discarded shards into crude musical instruments. The results are a wild array of cacophonous noise that is strangely controlled and oddly musical. The instrument’s simple, original and effective premise is a welcome riposte to over complicated musical performances of modern times.

Lucas Abela is a maverick musician with an unhealthy obsession for sheets of broken glass. With his performance and installation work, he has astonished and bemused countless people in over forty countries, where he has presented his work. A one of a kind act re-defining the expression 'don't try this at home', his performances quite simply need to be witnessed to be fully appreciated, let alone understood.


20 December, 8pm
A disc & a mic
YANN LEGUAY (Bruxelles, BE)

The fracturing of a microphone, at full volume, with the use of a metal cutting disc.
This is the ultimate destruction of the mic, functioning as a sort of pick-up on an abrasive disc, a kind of extreme turntable. A very physical noise performance, surpassing the limits of the device's mechanisms, to exploit the usual and expected materiality of our existence.

Yann Leguay’s work focuses on sound materiality, wherein diversion and tautology are the main ingredients of his practice. Since 2007, his installations and performances have been shown in numerous locations and festivals in Europe and elsewhere. He is involved in contemporary dance projects and composes soundtracks for artist films. In 2005 he co-founded the RadioFreeRobots collective, a radiophonic concept using synthetic voices and computer noises as unique audio source. He created the independent label Phonotopy, which proposes a conceptual approach of recording media, and he now curates the DRIFT Collection of the label Artkillart.


20 December, 8pm
Larsen Surf Mixing Board

Bégin’s “Larsen Surf-Mixing Board” is an audio installation and performance; a synthesizer that oscillates in the space, making use of feedback phenomena in order to generate sound loops. Crafted from electric guitars, amplifiers, speakers and string, the system develops and maintains sound schematics using its own structure without input from any external data. It is a self-regulating musical system.

Thomas Bégin is a multidisciplinary, polymorphous artist. At times installation artist, at times sculptor and bricoleur, his most recent works take the form of audio installations, both sculptural and performative. Bégin bases his work on the physical properties of sound and is inspired by geometric shapes and materials. His audio devices are self-interpreting systems, generating music, which rests, above all, on the work of material assembly, plasticity, and the artist’s inventive techniques.


21 December, 8pm

The Shnth device investigates invisible fields, which surround architectural objects in the space. It is inspired by the question, "what is a museum of the invisible like?" The Shnth antenna is a metaphor for other kinds of invisible fields – political, psycho-geographical, subterranean, esoteric, and aesthetic. The installation/performance utilizes any number of Shnth circuits, which sonify movement in space. The device synthesizes sound using a powerful Arm Cortex chip. What is most striking is how sensitive it is to body gestures, and it is these gestures that provide the dynamics for computer music sounds. The performance follows a day-long workshop where workshop participants will participate in an "Orchestra of Shnths."

Peter Blasser, multi-instrumentalist since 4th grade, discovered electronic circuits, and their possibilities for infinite tunings and timbres, in college. He made a career out of electronic modulations, and making these intangibles touchable through nodes, case flexure, and radio fields. His company, ciat-lonbarde.net, sells these devices to musicians around the world. Blasser teaches the design of electronic instruments to his interns, as well as in workshops for larger groups. Some paper circuits can be downloaded from his website, printed out, and assembled to yield sound objects. The cybernetic interface he proposes uses the subtleties of touch, through discrete components, often "woven" together geometrically, to simulate intuitive patterns and chaotic sophistication. His designs are spurred into existence to explore platonic or philosophical concepts, which then acquire a narrative, as they are refined into essential analog synthesizers.


21 December, 8pm
Untitled Performance

Gambletron will take this opportunity to orchestrate an improvisational musical performance creating melody, loops, texture and sub sonic sound with numerous bowed bicycle wheels and a musical saw. Eventually the performance will incorporate an army of circuit bent children’s toys with a finale of beats. It will be a 45-minute journey.

Gambletron is a Montreal based improvisational noise artist, multi instrumentalist, occasional curator and community organizer. She is a lo-fi hack sound machine operator, creator of layers of tonal bliss and devastating rumbles. She makes use of hand-made, homemade, one-of-a-kind electronics crafted from obsolete gear to children's toys. Gambletron makes music from found objects, samples, sub-sonic bass rumbles, contact mics, bowed bike wheels, telephones and Styrofoam, musical saws and musical spatulas, home-made synths and circuit-bent toys. Distortion is a recurring element in her work. She is also known for innovating “noise karaoke” where she helps the audience re-interpret the hits. She has made fake soundtracks, sock puppet choirs, and hosts all-ages circuit-bending workshops. Gambletron has toured internationally and has played many festivals and appeared on numerous records. As a multi instrumentalist she can be found working in Constellation’s Matana Robert’s Coin Coin, Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista, Hrsta, Clues and Greenland’s current pop sensation- Nive Nielsen and the Deer Children.


21 December, 8pm

The Cyclophone is a sound-making perforamtive deice, which was developed several years ago for use in a dance piece by Peter Trosztmer. As Gordaneer found bits and pieces of discarded, recycled materials, he would occasionally integrate them into the Cyclophone, while others would be sifted out. The Cyclophone is a combination of sculpture and sound.

The focus in Gordaneers’s art has been to explore different ways to ground into being the idea of a continuum. He takes the traditional dichotomies of painting and sculpture, figure/ground, background/foreground, and subverts them in order to create an interesting new pictorial space more in keeping with the contemporary world. Beginning with painting, then moving towards a three dimensional sculptural approach, Gordaneer now often combines the two mediums. The inclusion of found objects gives the viewer an entry point to the work as well as calling into question scale and meaning.



Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire

Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire is a kinetic sound performance/installation inspired by resonance and two historic artworks: Pendulum Music by Steve Reich and Alvin Lucier's Music On A Long Thin Wire. It consists of a long piano string stretched at just over head-height across a room, brought to audible resonance by an oscillating electromagnetic coil. Beneath the string stand several large machine performers; pendulum devices that swing back and forth when raised and released. As a pick-up on each passes below the string, the sound is briefly captured and sent to amplified speakers around the room. The work is constructed using a limited palette of common materials and handcrafted electro-mechanics, with the underlying technology as transparent as possible. By letting machine performers run the show, Flemming hopes to open a temporary space for contemplation of the forces at work in the environment around us. Exploring the basic physical ‘magic’ of resonance, present within our everyday machines, structures and systems, reveals that we are subject to material laws that are fundamentally mysterious and outside of our absolute command.

Active for over a dozen years, Peter Flemming is a folk machinery artist, doing electronics handcraft ‘by ear,’ tinkering intensively and intuitively in the studio. His most recent work is an ongoing series of experiments about resonance, explored via sound, electromagnetically activated materials, mechanical performers and makeshift amplification devices. Past work has included lazy machines, solar powered artwork and hypnotically repetitive automata. He has exhibited extensively internationally and been the recipient of numerous grants, awards and residencies. An occasional writer and curator, he has produced exhibition texts for other artists, presented papers, organized events and developed lecture series. He is an active board member or member of several local arts organizations. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Flemming currently lives and works in Montréal, where he teaches electronics for artists at Concordia University.



Mix Tape is an audio installation, which provides participants a tactile playback experience within a sculptural mass of audiotape attached to helium balloons. These balloons, once floated to the ceiling, cause the tapes to unspool as their cassette anchors them to the floor. This forest of exposed audiotape then provides the raw material for an interactive mash up as participants run the magnetic strips across exposed playback heads mounted to play-stations to create new and specific sound works.

Lucas Abela is a maverick musician with an unhealthy obsession for sheets of broken glass. With his performance and installation work, he has astonished and bemused countless people in over forty countries, where he has presented his work. A one of a kind act re-defining the expression 'don't try this at home', his performances quite simply need to be witnessed to be fully appreciated, let alone understood.


Automates Ki

The Automates ki system follows in the tradition of the work of Maurice Martenot (inventor of the Ondes Martenot) and Alvin Lucier (composer of pieces such as Music For Solo Performer, which involves percussion instruments and amplified brainwaves). For several years, de la Rochefoucauld has worked on a system of his own invention that animates automatons, producing a music centered on percussion. The Ki System transforms inaudible low-frequency modulations into an acoustic phenomenon. The Automates Ki comprises a speaker joined to a musical instrument. A pliable firing pin is set on the speaker. The firing pin, when animated by the vibration of the speaker, hits the acoustic instruments (drums, cymbals, strings instruments) in an oscillating manner. There is a pliable structure, made of wood and iron, attached to the mobile base of the speaker, which is the firing pin. Similar to an eardrum, it is designed to produce an oscillating movement when a vibration is applied to it. The firing pins are custom-built for each instrument.

After a Master’s degree in Visual Arts and a diploma in electroacoustic music, Maxime Rioux has spent several years elaborating installations of “sound sculpture” and creating music for multiple types of performances. He is currently focusing his research on the development of an original way to generate mechanical acoustic music. This analog and computerized organic robotic music system transforms inaudible frequency modulations into an acoustic phenomenon. Three Albums of the Automates Ki have been released. Rioux’ Automates Ki have been presented in Senegal, Swaziland, South Africa, Spain, Norway, Austria, France, and the United States.



19 December, 10am - 5pm
DIY Vinyl Press

Workshop animated by Yann Leguay

This workshop will focus on vinyl pressing techniques using a homemade vinyl press. A workshop that will teach the skills and knowledge surrounding a quasi-ancestral technique: sound etching. The possibility to etch onto wax, photographic film, or even CDs, is what creates a sound through the rotation of the disc, a movement inherent to any sound-making device, and that only the mp3 has stopped making use of. Participants will learn how to create their own dub-plates and experiment around this time-tested technique.

20 December, 10am - 5pm
Coding Workshop with "Shnth"

Workshop animated by Peter Blasser

The Shnth is a new digital device by Shbobo.net. The device synthesizes sound using a powerful Arm Cortex chip. What is most striking is how sensitive it is to body gestures, and it is these gestures that provide the dynamics for computer music sounds. During this workshop, participants will learn the new language "Shlisp" and will learn how to program it onto prototype Shnths via USB. The workshop participants will take part in a participatory performance using the programmed instruments on December 21st, the "Orchestra of Shnths." Participants must bring a laptop with USB and one of three OS's: Macintosh, Windows, or Linux.

21 December, 1pm - 4pm
Mix Tape Play-Station Building Workshop

Workshop animated by Lucas Abela

This workshop will show participants how to design and build the multi tape head analog delay instruments used in Abela’s Mix Tape installation. Cost of workshop covers materials, which include tape deck, metal box, power supply, tape heads, plugs, sockets. Participants will go home with their very own live tape delay instrument.

22 December, 1pm - 4pm
Experimental Electromagnetism Workshop

Workshop animated by Peter Flemming

This workshop will begin with a short demonstration and some introductory words on the subject of electro-magnetism. Participants will then wind their own electromagnetic coils, to be used as part of an experimental loudspeaker improvised from a found object resonator supplied by the participant. Possible resonators include plastic food containers, buckets, drums, cans, glass, etc. Participants are encouraged to bring in objects that sound good when you tap your finger on it or speak into it, and to bring in as many objects as possible as not everything will work. Hence the experimentation.

To reserve a place at the workshops, please visit: http://objetsinusitesateliers.eventbrite.com/