Us humans, we walk. That’s how it is.
In cities, walking might be a trivial action, but is also an opportunity to deconstruct the way we move, rethink the relationship between our body and the space around us, reinventing our conception of public space. When we shift the barriers of our environment, this simple act of walking has the capacity to shake up our understanding of space, but also our interaction with cities and the people in them. Then the more we walk, the more the city transforms, and we walk happier.
In March 2018, the Wellesley College in Boston (one of the oldest universities on the american east coast – still for women only), invited us to give a series of workshops as part of their Concert Series. Professor Jenny Olivia Johnson hosted members of our creative team, Mouna (co-founder), Rebecca (product and environment design) and Eva (technical lead) in her class, Studies in 20th Century Music: Interactive Sound Art with Electronics.
Together with her 18 students they worked to co-design and build an interactive sound installation prototype. In this collaborative effort they envisioned what would happen when a trivial sidewalk moves, shakes, rings, sings, rises or rotates… An opportunity to continue experimenting with the art of walking, a theme we presented a few times in our projects, such as Mesa Musical Shadows.
On Saturday, March 17 at 4:00 pm, Mouna will give a talk about participative design at Wellesley College, followed by a public presentation of the students’ prototypes.
More infos about this event
More about the art of walking:
Jean Verville’s dancing golden avenue
Hamish Furton’s walking performance
Walking on water with Christo in Italy
Coming up next weekend is the presentation of a new project we have been working on since June of last summer: a large scale outdoor game, open for play over the course of three days leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. Score!
The site for the game is a wide open parking lot in front of an office tower. The ground thus became the playing field and the building became the scoreboard.
Our exploration into the theory of game play and its relationship to human interaction began by understanding its many components: evolving strategies, playing time, level changes, points and penalties. We quickly came to realize that even seemingly simple games are complex inventions.
Our first objective was to design a game environment that could engage people physically and strategically, ensuring that both body and mind would have to work together to achieve success; we looked to games like Twister and Whack-a-mole for inspiration. We wanted the game to be fun and accessible for both hardcore players and casual passersby.
The game design resulted in a grid of light dots that players could run around and flip to gain points (and stay warm!), which would then be reflected by illuminated window patterns on the building.
An interesting challenge was how to guide players from individual exploration of the game towards a scenario where they would need to work together in order to succeed. Studying the main event—the Super Bowl—we also started to question the relationship between competition and collaboration. How could we create opportunities for teamwork amongst the players while still providing the thrill of a little friendly competition?
Since we wanted the rules to evolve throughout the game we decided to introduce an announcer—a voice that could act as coach, referee and cheerleader all at once. In an exercise of voice-directed play we fine-tuned the word count, tone of voice and level of complexity to achieve the right balance between entertaining commentary and information—ultimately leading players through warm up, collaboration, competition, and celebration!
We recently set up a full scale prototype to test our theories, here is a preview:
The Daily team headed to Minneapolis is excited to brave the cold to start the game setup on-site!
Get ready to play, see you there!
For our project I Heard There Was A Secret Chord at the Musée d’Art Contemporain we wanted to create an audible connection between visitors (both online and on-site), and all the people in the world who are listening to Cohen’s Hallelujah at any moment.
We thought that the most interesting and direct connection between the number of listeners and the number of sounds being heard by our visitors would be a choir, where each voice represented a listener online. We decided early on that we wanted to use humming to focus on the musicality and physical sensation of voice.
So we arrived at the need to record a giant humming choir.
Without yet having access to the online data, we didn’t know how many singers we needed, or where we would find them. Luckily Irene, our fearless producer, sings in a choir. She approached her choir director about getting her choir’s participation. Not only did Mélodie agree to involve the choir, she invited the members of the other 7 choirs she directs(!), plus a number of choirs she has affiliations with. (She also helped with vocal arrangement and directed the singers during our recording sessions, Thanks Mélodie!)
Tetra Sound Lab
Over the course of 2 weekends, we turned Tetra Sound Lab into a humming factory, with back-to-back 45 minute recording sessions in which groups of 6 people would hum their way through up to 8 different vocal parts. In the end, we had 635 takes. We reviewed and edited all the takes down to about 250 solo voices, plus a number of large multi-voice composite files, that would allow us to have up to 1250 voices humming in our installation.
Choir Director Mélodie Rabatel and Recording Engineer Patrick McDowell
Check out the humming choir in our installation at MAC until April 2018, or online now:
Ensemble Vocal Les Nanas de Montréal
Morgane Derycke, Claire Domenget, Julie Norman, Alice de Forges, Sophie Chainel, Jennifer Arthur, Mylène Lapointe, Nathalie Brunet, Annie Gaudreault, Ursula Mercier, Francine Lemay,
Crystel Pereira, Martine Gagnon, Marion Noël, Pauline Marchand, Marie-Line Migneault, Meghan Perry, Alison McCreath, Sarah LeBlanc, Julie Comtois, Karen Francoeur, Louise Lockhart, Céline Chatigny, Anne Marie Harnois, Stephee Frechette, Micheline Boucher, Sarah Vandekendelaere, Sylvie Lavoie, Elise Brissette, Irène Chaudouet, Natasha Audet
Ensemble vocal DivertisSon
Carole Laplante, Michel Ouellet, Linda Bouchard, Safia Djebbari, Michel Chalifoux, Sylvie Provost, Luce Turmel, Daniel Desmarais, Anne Ruelle Lamory, Louise Rivard, Normand Lorange, Norman Robert, Robert Fréchette, Rachel Villeneuve, Félix Dion, Corentin Wallez, Odette Guky, Jennifer Haddad, Roberto Rantucci
L’ensemble I Coristi de Laval
Martin Skorek, Gaétan Paré, Narges Khorsand, Catherine Tardif, Leonie Couture, Agathe Couture, Caroline Courtois Schirmer, Christel Durand, Mélodie Rabatel, Jean François
Choeur Gai de Montréal
Christian Vallée, Maurice A. Harvey, Christian Giomet, Karl Lessard, Yann Chavaillaz, Julie Roy, Sébastien Fortier, Christian McCann, Pierre Landry, Michel Saint-Louis, Mike Mizrakian, Denis Nantel, Simon Lacerte, Jean-Pierre Robin, Bernard Faucher, Normand Cyr, François Richard, John Macomber, Eric Descoteaux, Benoit Cayer, Xavier Vincent, Michel Bourdon, André St Onge, René Huacuja, Yves Turcotte
Catherine de Varennes, Gaël Girard, Elodie Jolette, Tony Rota