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Governor General winner leaves something to chance in Laurier exhibit
Jan 2/14| For Immediate Release
Suzanne Luke, Curator
Lori Chalmers Morrison, Acting Director
WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University’s Robert Langen Art Gallery presents a sound installation by artist Gordon Monahan, titled Erratum Addendum, which runs from Jan. 8 to Feb. 15, 2014.
Erratum Addendum explores the physicality and engagement that is created through the experience of sound. The work is based on Marcel Duchamp’s Erratum Musical. Composed in 1913, Erratum Musical is considered to be the first piece of “chance music,” also known as aleatoric music, in which an element of the composition is left to chance.
Monahan takes the original note sequences of Erratum Musical and generates new variations by applying the compositional processes of inversion and retrograde. The new note sequences are then transposed to several resisters of the piano, which are recorded, played back in indeterminate order, and processed into eight-channel audio distribution through a Max/MSP patch, a visual programming language for music.
“The process of listening is highly influenced by a psycho-acoustically embedded postmodern view of electronic sound synthesis,” said Monahan in a statement. “That is, we listen to sound differently now because we regularly hear sound deconstructed and reconstructed by electronic systems and digital media.”
Monahan’s works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture and computer-controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multimedia installation and sound art. As a composer and sound artist, he juxtaposes the quantitative and qualitative aspects of natural acoustical phenomena with elements of media technology, environment, architecture, popular culture and live performance. The renowned composer John Cage once said, “At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven’t heard before.”
Monahan is the recipient of a 2013 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. He won First Prize at the 1984 CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers, as well as commissions from: the Vancouver New Music Society; CBC Radio; Dade County Art in Public Places, Miami; The Kitchen, New York; the DAAD Inventionen Festival, Berlin; the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Donaueschingen, Germany; the Sony Center, Berlin; the Coleman-Lemieux Dance Company, Montreal; and the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Poland. Monahan has been artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1990), the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1991), DAAD, Berlin (1992-93), the Western Front, Vancouver (1999), Podewil, Berlin (2002), and Recto-Verso, Quebec City (2011-12).
The Robert Langen Art Gallery has played a vital role at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus since it opened in 1989. As Laurier’s visual arts centre, the Robert Langen Art Gallery provides knowledge, stewardship, appreciation and enjoyment of Canadian art and culture to members of the Laurier community and beyond. The gallery’s annual programming complements concepts and theories in Laurier’s academic curriculum and integrates community outreach initiatives as related to the visual arts.