The first in a series of parade-themed performances by the Interference Ensemble, led by Geoffrey Shea and Tony Massett. This spectacle allowed us to explore aspects of public and private expression in a small-town setting. We formed a 12-piece brass band and commissioned new music to be performed in a local Christmas parade. (The Holstein Parade is famous for being completely non-motorized.) We created rolling floats with sculpted creature/passengers to be pulled by each musician. The entire performance was live streamed and projected into the Durham Art Gallery where a performer sang and spoke and interacted with the parade.
Music by Doug Tielli
Performance by Heather Saumer
The Durham Sauntering Band consisted of Grace Bridgman, Doug Tielli, William Bossi, Jim Grant, Basha Mayo, Dave Dunn, Robin Rich, Jenny Parsons, Steve Morel, Chris Palmer, William Bossi, Tony Massett and Geoffrey Shea.
Special thanks to Jane Dover, Holstein Parade, Durham Art Gallery, Akimbo Art Promotion and Ontario Arts Council.
Most of the Sauntering Band playing from the parade repertoire
at the Garafraxa Cafe
Triangulation was a 60-minute, live-video production created with the Interference Ensemble and presented in a hockey arena as part of the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film. It slips out of Shakespeare’s King Lear, develops a new twist on the characters’ motivations, then rejoins the dark drama before it reaches its grisly conclusion. The performance weaves together several themes regarding parenting, social hierarchy and death. The three daughters are played by women who are able to exist outside of the play and engage in a reading of the characters born of a male writer’s imagination.
A pop up video performance on the side of a country road near a small town in Ontario.
Created together with Tony Massett in collaboration with Grace Bridgman and with music and performances by Heather Saumer and Doug Tielli.
This unsanctioned event revolved around the mysterious discovery of hidden surveillance cameras on the Second Concession of Glenelg (Concession 2 EGR, West Grey) just outside of Durham. We expect to be under scrutiny, observed, surveilled and even recorded in our daily urban journeys. But the discovery of these cameras, and an examination of the footage on them, is still a shock to the system.
Created with Tony Massett as part of the Correspondence project by the Interference Ensemble.
“For a long time I like you and every day I see how you get out of the house. I cannot seem to have the courage to come to you. I badly want to meet you. Hesitation over how to meet you. I came up with the idea to record a video clip for you. I’m asking you to give me three minutes of attention and watch this video clip. I know that after watching the movie you immediately recognize me. The video was posted on my personal page. I beg you to register on the site and find me there.”
Correspondence is a 70-minute, live-video production, created in collaboration with Tony Massett and Grace Bridgman. It revolves around two stilted and strange romantic letters written a hundred years apart. We interact with pre-recorded and live streaming video to create an evolving understanding of the letter writers’ identities and motives.
“Some time ago, nearly two weeks, you sent me a postal card saying that you were going to write to me that night, but unfortunately, up to this date, no letter has come to hand. It seems to me that you are not at all careful in promises you make and break. If someone asked you to accompany them on a stroll or theatre engagement on a certain night and you promised you would and then didn’t, it would hardly be a very good recommendation for you, but what is the difference?”
The first of the letters was written to a young woman (my grandmother) by an older man in 1915 and reveals an unbalanced and inappropriate longing expressed as belligerent complaint. The sender’s identity remains a mystery. Exactly one hundred years later, another letter arrived:
“For a long time I like you, and every day I see how you get out of the house. Every day I look at you from the window of his house and cannot seem to have the courage to come to you. I badly want to meet you. I came up with the idea to record a video clip for you. I know that after watching the movie you immediately recognize me.”
This second letter, in contrast, flatters and entices the reader. Its origin is suspect but it promises online intimacy by leveraging voyeurism and fetishizing surveillance. Both letters use a formal and precise tone: one to suggest superiority through exaggerated language, the other to feign naïve innocence through broken English.
This 30-minute meditative film is a reflection on consciousness and community: the things that bind us to others and keep us apart. It was shot in Jungle Village, a training facility maintained by the New Tribes Mission for preparing missionaries for overseas work. The two characters, while clearly in some kind of relationship, exist as kinds of figments in each others imaginations.
The Jesuit missionaries in my own family struck me as exceedingly kind and conscientiousness individuals and it is very hard for me to reconcile that image with the culturally destructive role that missionaries have played in indigenous societies throughout the world. The chasm that separates religious and intellectual proponents at both ends of the spectrum in North America is one instance of the mystery surrounding the difference that our tenuous understanding of consciousness and community generates.
I am very grateful to Michael Tweed (camera) and Sonja Posod (my co-performer) for their commitment, trust and interpretive talents. PJ Dean-Thornton sang the song that I wrote and Tony Massett contributed his improvisations on the sax to the original music.
A group of folk musicians strum and pluck and croon away to a familiar ditty while viewers using cell phone swap players and instruments to create their own arrangement. Premiered at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, where over 3,000 viewers called in to re-arrange the musicians and the song!
“I chose to showcase folk music because of its politics of participation and inclusion. Folk was started by people who felt like they had something to say, who wanted to get involved. As a genre, it puts less emphasis on technique, and makes music more accessible.
“Everyone is getting creative with digital media these days, so I see media art as the new folk art.
“We’re increasingly surrounded by large public screens, and I’m hoping that not all of these will be advertising. People should have access to them, be able to play with them and inject their own content. I want people to leave feeling empowered, and that they might want to try something like this on their own.” (from interview with Jordan Bimm)
Three drawings, each of which has a video image projected onto it.
The process of creating this work is revealed in its own presentation. I am recorded on video, working in the studio to create these images.
The gestures captured in the lines of the drawing, and the motivating characteristics in these figures, float loosely somewhere below the surface. Defiance, unity, stubbornness, and self-conscious fear put these characters into a situation: an ongoing narrative that might have happened just before or just after the one which was captured in this particular drawing.
After three years serving as an elected politician, I made Speech to reflect the strange role that language plays in the public arena. The on-screen character silently mouths a campaign speech, while an original sound track addresses the tension between being and appearance.The sound is played on headphones. The image is projected onto a raised circular screen, six feet is diameter.
Tentacles is a collaboration between Geoffrey Shea, Rob King and Michael Longford. We set out to create an ambient play environment in this public space. It was intended to be always on – something to be discovered within the city. Without a beginning or an end, participants could join in or leave casually.
From within the crowd, viewers can step onto the stage of the projected environment – to display themselves in action, engaged with other virtual creatures. Movements and gestures become part of this spontaneous public performance. Like on a dance floor, where rules about decorum, engagement with strangers and physical contact are suspended.
Sin or transgression is examined as a technology for shaping human action. On a certain level it is a useful tool for smoothing social interaction and guiding us towards improvement, but typically it requires a huge element of faith—faith that questions we cannot answer can be dealt with by other means, that ambiguous guideposts can point us towards a destination far over the horizon.
Man + Sin is a triptych of images that are much larger than the screen on which they are displayed. Users navigate the images, exploring beyond their edges and discovering sounds and motifs that parallel the act of structured discovery in life.