Winnipeg’s festival of sound art Send + Receive, one of the most exciting festivals to grace the city’s arts scene, is about to celebrate its 13th season. Outside of a few local concerts throughout the year, sound art is rarely exhibited in this city. So, maybe we aren’t terribly knowledgeable and many of the acts on this year’s bill won’t ring any bells for quite a few people. Luckily, Crys Cole, the festival’s artistic director, and the festival’s programming committee know their stuff and have put together a group of artists who will provide a thrilling, challenging and brazenly original experience.
No prior knowledge is required; just expect to be excited by the unexpected and unusual.
The festival will include concerts, screenings, an installation at the Platform Gallery, book readings, a wild public performance and artist talks. Recently, I was able to sit down and have a quick chat with the very busy Crys Cole about what we can all expect this year.
Manitoban: Can you tell me about this year’s theme? It seems more abrasive and loud than the past few years. Was that a conscious decision to break away a bit?
Crys Cole: Choosing Noise & Disruptions as the theme for this year’s festival was very conscious. I wouldn’t say that it is breaking away from previous editions so much as it is a conscious decision to feature work that is a bit more difficult or abrasive or confrontational. Noise music is a genre that is quickly dismissed by many, yet we feel that it holds a very important place in the context of experimental music and sound art.
Noise is fundamental to sound exploration, and with this year’s program we are focusing on work that embraces “noise” as a fundamental element of the work. Though when I say this I should clarify it is not necessarily noise as you may expect — but noise as an idea or concept and not necessarily the sonic element.
M: There are several Winnipeg acts in the lineup this year. How do you think they stack up against the visiting artists?
CC: I think the local content is very strong this year, and presents diverse approaches within our theme. White Dog presents dense droning layers of electronic sound. Dusth create an introspective listening experience that explores different sonic particles and textures with prepared guitar, contact microphones and field recordings. Double Hook create a cacophonous intense sound with no-input electronics and drums that teeters on the verge of combustion! All wonderful and diverse stuff!
M: The Zimoun installation is very exciting. Can you tell me a bit about it and how it fits within the festival?
CC: Yes! I have been wanting to present Zimoun’s work here in Winnipeg for a few years now and I am really thrilled the time has come! Zimoun’s work plays with repetitive noise through very simple and elegant mechanical sculptures. The work is deceptively simple, yet so engaging and hypnotic.
M: The Hit Parade should be a big event. Formerly, it has taken place at night or in closed spaces. How do you think it will go over in downtown Winnipeg in the middle of a work day?
CC: I think that Hit Parade will be great fun! I have always loved events or actions that make people stop in their tracks and shake them out of their day to day routine, and Christof Migone’s Hit Parade is definitely something that will do that. The piece is typically presented outside in the street and the idea is to disrupt traffic (either cars or pedestrian) with the strange action of several people laying in the street pounding a microphone repetitively through scattered amplifiers. I love the simplicity and the absurdity of the piece and I look forward to participating in it too.
M: The final night of the festival should be really exciting. How did you go about programming it and just how intense do you expect it to be?
CC: I think the final concert will be really excellent. For me and the programming committee we are always seeking a unique experience for our audience and a diversity in the program. All three acts present a very unique sound but all of them explore the physical side of noise. Double Hook literally play their instruments in such a way that the instruments begin to interfere with each other and physically influence the sound output and creation. Josh Rose will be truly physically pushing himself with his performance, exploring the limitations and challenges of his own noise and disrupting the traditional performance scenario. Aaron Dilloway is a fantastic finale for the night as his performances are very visceral and powerful to witness, throwing himself into his work and amplifying his own vocal sounds as texture in his noise creation. I think this night will be a very fulfilling finale for our 13th edition.
Send + Receive runs from Oct. 5-8 at various locations in downtown Winnipeg. For more information check out sendandreceive.org.