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PREVIEW | New Adventures In Sound Art Presents 22nd SOUNDplay Festival

By Anya Wassenberg on September 6, 2023

Images of O telephone by Don Ritter (Photo provided by Don Ritter)
Images of O telephone by Don Ritter (Photo provided by Don Ritter)

The 22nd Annual SOUNDplay Festival takes shape each fall in South River, Ontario, presented by New Adventures in Sound (NAISA). From September 9 until December 9, visitors can explore works by Don Ritter, Jessica Thompson and Kelly Ruth.

Each of the artists uses a blend of old and new technologies to investigate new modes of expression between sound and new media. The theme for this year is Remote Connections, and visitors can experience a variety of events, exhibitions, and performances over the three-month festival.

“The telephone made it possible to connect people in real time across long distances. As telecommunications and entertainment media continue to expand and diversify in the 21st Century, technological elements find a place in many aspects of the human experience. SOUNDplay’s focus this year will be on media art works that mix old tools and technologies with virtual digital applications that deepen our sense of place and being in the world,” says Darren Copeland, Artistic Director, New Adventures in Sound Art in a statement.

Image of Borderline at RE:SOUND 2019 in Struer, Denmark (Photo provided by Jessica Thompson)
Image of Borderline at RE:SOUND 2019 in Struer, Denmark (Photo provided by Jessica Thompson)

Exhibitions, Talks & Performances

Jessica Thompson — Borderline Map-Making Project | Artist Talk and Walking Workshop Sept 9 and interactive exhibits Sept 14 to Dec 4

SOUNDplay opens with Hamilton artist Jessica Thompson, who will be at NAISA on September 9 for an artist talk and walking workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. She’ll be introducing her Project, which she has tailored to the environment of the Almaguin Highlands region.

After the Walking Workshop, a large-scale soundmap of the Almaguin Highlands region will be on exhibit from September 14 to December 4. The soundmap will be continuously updated as contributions from both residents and visitors are added. Contributors can choose to borrow a toolkit to map the sounds they encounter, or use the Borderline iOS app.

O telephone by Don Ritter | A virtual and in-person artist talk launches the exhibition Sept. 14

Before establishing himself as a celebrated interactive video artist in the 1990s, Don Ritter worked as a telecom engineer. He draws back on those experiences for O telephone, which includes a ringing 1960s analog telephone. As visitors to the exhibit answer it, they’ll be gradually enveloped by contemplative vocal sounds.

48-Hour Sound Art Challenge Weekend Intensive | October 13 to 15

Over the weekend of October 13 to 15, artists are invited to participate in a weekend intensive at Warbler’s Roost, a 14-acre rural property. The forested property sits lakeside in the Almaguin Highlands, and participants are challenged to create a sound art miniature in 48 hours.

NAISA Artistic Director Darren Copeland will be there to help participant learn and share skills. The results of the 48-hour experiment will be shared on NAISA Radio and social media channels.

Image of O telephone by Don Ritter (Photo provided by Don Ritter)
Image of O telephone by Don Ritter (Photo provided by Don Ritter)

Kelly Ruth — Second Life Performance Installation | Dec. 7 to 9

NAISA will host a performance installation by Edmonton Artist Kelly Ruth that takes place over three days from December 7 to 9. The installation will incorporate performances at the NAISA Space, as well as in the digital world via Second Life. Second Life is an online platform where users create an avatar and then create and interact with other users in a virtual world.

Ruth is a multimedia artist who uses a system of contact microphones and effect pedals connected to a weaving loom and other textile related tools to produce unique sounds. The virtual world allows her to build both community and skills.

“Engaging in art in immersive environments through an avatar representation of oneself allows the audience member to engage with the work on their own terms in a playful and creative way that often blurs the relationship between audience and artist,” she commented.

The performance will be screened on YouTube on December 12 at 2 p.m.

You And I Are Water Earth Fire Air Of Life And Death — Organized by Christof Migone and Curated with Myriam Lambert and Alexandre St-Onge | Dec. 12 from 12 p.m. to 11:59 pm

A 12-word sentence, You And I Are Water Earth Fire Air Of Life And Death, has evolved into a 12-year long media broadcast project. Each year takes a different word of the sentence as a focal point, and the result is a 12-hour event from noon till midnight. This year’s event will be the fourth consecutive.

Available online or in-person free of charge; more info [HERE].

The Details

New Adventures In Sound Art Presents the 22nd Annual SOUNDplay Festival at the NAISA North Media Arts Centre, South River, Ontario from Sept. 9 – Dec. 09, 2023. All exhibitions are PWYC donations; artist talks and Walking Workshop are free of charge. More information available [HERE].


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