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Talk: Laurie White - Polyphonic Assemblage: A Musical Toolkit for Ecological Perception

  • Access Gallery 222 East Georgia Street Vancouver, BC, V6A 4J7 Canada (map)

The concept of polyphonic assemblage is a rich metaphorical tool for thinking about biodiversity in art and science. Drawing from Elizabeth Grosz’s 2008 text, Chaos, Territory, Art, this talk will introduce several aural ideas for ecological thought including evolution as musical bricolage, organisms as instruments, and the relationship between territories and refrains. These ideas will then be applied to two examples of cultural practice: the collaborative exhibition Veils of a Bog (2018) that combines Vanessa Brown’s material practice in sculpture with Michelle Helene Mackenzie’s multi-channel sound composition; and the sonorous puzzle point-and-click adventure video game, Samorost 3 (2016). The talk will close with a brief interactive exercise designed to counter the common assumption that deserts are devoid of sound by considering the polyphonic assemblages that can be found in these places.

Laurie White is a curator and writer from Sheffield, England, currently based in Vancouver. She holds an MA in Critical & Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her thesis exhibition project at Or Gallery, We Built a House Out of the Things We Had Gathered (2018), explored salvage and bricolage as modes of ecological practice in contemporary art. She is currently the Assistant Curator at the Or Gallery.