Arts

Forget music festivals — this weekend, Winnipeg is holding a sound festival

Celebrating its eighteenth year, Send+Receive hosts internationally recognized sound artists and musicians, but flies under the radar.

Send+Receive hosts internationally recognized sound artists and musicians, but flies under the radar

(Send+Recieve)

The space an artist occupies while they are creating their art and the space we occupy while we are consuming it – a coffee shop or a concert hall; a space riddled with distractions or one devoid of any – affects how we interpret it.

Send+Receive: A Festival of Sound is placing attendees in various spaces throughout Winnipeg in an effort to create opportunities to consider just how the space they're in affects their experience.

Celebrating its eighteenth year, Send+Receive hosts internationally recognized sound artists and musicians, but flies under the radar,

"I think it's because it is not a festival that is easily defined, nor is it covering familiar or commercial territory in any way," festival director crys cole tells CBC Arts.  "Visual art and film, even when highly experimental has a way of accessing a broader audience simply because the broader public communicate visually much more easily. I think that because the terms 'sound art' and 'experimental music' are not widely used or understood there is a misguided sense that the work must be inaccessible or niche and that it's not for everyone," she adds.

 I think that because the terms 'sound art' and 'experimental music' are not widely used or understood there is a misguided sense that the work must be inaccessible or niche and that it's not for everyone.- crys cole

Curran Farris, who is performing Alvin Lucier's Criss-Cross at this year's festival, and has performed as his project Greenhouse in the past, echoes cole's statement.

"I can't say for sure, of course, but I think when most people hear words like 'experimental music' or 'sound art' they immediately think, 'Oh, so it's weird noise,' or something. Which isn't to say that you won't hear something that is noisy or challenging, but I think that's part of the point: to introduce new ways of creating sound and music," he says. "I think it would be strange to hear someone say, 'Oh, there's probably weird paintings in that art gallery that I wouldn't understand. I think I'll pass.' The difference is there, but it shouldn't be," he adds.

Olivia Block is participating in Send+Recieve. (Send+Receive)

While for some, the sounds may be unfamiliar; Send+Receive is utilizing familiar spaces like Union Station, the Asper Center for Theatre and Sound, and Knox United Church Sanctuary for site-specific works. Venues like these create exciting opportunities for both performers and attendees to have their own, personal experience; two people could be hearing the same thing, but experiencing it differently.

"My own work is all about generating a very intimate and absorbing atmosphere for the audience (and myself)," says cole, who is also a sound artist. "The type of space that I perform in or that I generate sound sculptures in plays a major role in the nature of the work I produce. The acoustics of a space impact how you can project sound and how it will move. The feeling of a space, the look, colour, atmosphere and history can also compel the artist to create something very specific, and all of these things influence the way that the audience hears and interprets the work, which is ultimately a completely singular and personal experience."  

Send+Receive: Festival of Sound. October 13-16, Winnipeg. www.sendandreceive.org

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