Gordon Monahan, 2013 Canada Council laureate – a film by Jenn E Norton





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Published on Mar 12, 2013

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In this video Gordon Monahan discusses his artistic practice.

Gordon Monahan is a 2013 winner of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal, arm's-length Crown corporation created by an Act of Parliament in 1957 (Canada Council for the Arts Act) "to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts."

Directed by Jenn E Norton (Guelph)
Presentation of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Independent Media Arts Alliance
Co-production of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ed Video Media Arts Centre
For more information, visit: www.canadacouncil.ca
Transcript of video -- Gordon Monahan

Sound is a building block to the construction of music.

One way of approaching the absolute focus on the phenomenological aspects of sound is to reduce the amount of music, and try to increase the focus on the sound.

Having studied a little bit of basic science in university I was used to the idea of working in a laboratory, looking at water drops or airflow, examining the basic materiality of materials that you would use to produce sound.

Taking scientific analysis and applying it to an aesthetic presentation of sound within the context of a specific science experiment was very important in my development of the piece Speaker Swinging, which is based on examining the Doppler Effect... creating a situation that creates an artistic structure and applies it to the phenomenon.

I realized that I was using the loud speaker as an instrument in itself.

After Laura Kikauka and I had lived in Berlin from 1992 until 2006, we decided we were going to spend more time on our farm in Canada. One idea we had would be to start a festival of experimental music and sound art, the Electric Eclectics Festival. Three days of camping, concerts, DJs, experimental music, sound installation, and new media installation.

My interest in sound originates from music because my artistic training is in traditional, classical music and pop music. In the last few years I've come across an interesting technical phenomenon, and that is to make motors vibrate with audio signals. The motor actually replaces the loud speaker. And I do this by sending audio signals into a large 500 watt amplifier, attaching a small electric motor to the speaker terminals at the amplifier. I've hung these electric motors on these long piano strings and that induces the audio signals to vibrate these long wires and you hear the audio signals coming out of the piano.


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