Now that the [2011 in Review] series is all wrapped up we will get back to our regular weekly posts. First up, [Free Music Friday]!
On this week’s show we played an excerpt from a piece by sound artists Marla Hlady titled “A Case for Sound: Nite Ride.” The Toronto native created the piece as part of the Nite Ride project that was commissioned by Ottawa-based art collective Artengine in 2009.
Below is the project description from the Artengine website:
Marla Hlady’s practice as a sculptor and sound artist is rooted in a consideration of the relationship between sound, space, and social context. The work she created for Nite Ride thus began as an exploration of the spatio-temporal experience of night driving, which she then carried forward through the various stages, architectures, geographies, and social spaces of the project. Bypassing the 5.1 surround sound system on the bus, Hlady produced a set of eight portable sound objects—square boxes the size and shape of LPs, outfitted with briefcase handles and speakers, and finished with the high-gloss urethane of acoustic stringed instruments. Each box contained a unique sound loop, a fragment that Hlady had recorded by placing two shotgun microphones in the back seat of her car and then driving around Ottawa with the windows open. The result is a hypnotic mix of music from her car stereo, traffic noise, wind interference, and occasionally even birdsong. Passengers on the bus further modulated these loops via a mercury switch concealed within each box, which produced a sound effect similar to a skipping record.
During the Nite Ride bus tours, Hlady’s sound objects were distributed among passengers, who were encouraged to experiment with them by playing with their mercury switches, reconfiguring them throughout the space, and passing them back and forth, thus creating a living, moving sound puzzle. The Web version of the project functions as a kind of aural trace of these collective sonic experiments, which have, in a sense, traveled from one end of the project to other. In the spirit of this continuing voyage, Hlady has shifted the final emphasis from experimental sound to experimental geography, adding a set of chance-based driving instructions to the MP3 soundtrack. In this way, the audience will continue to reinvent the project on an individual basis.
Hlady currently has an exhibition running at Hallwall’s until February 24 that includes a continuation of the “A Case for Sound” project along with other additional sound works. Definitely something worth checking out.