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Sound Thinking 2017: Sounds for Action

Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby perform 'Intertribal Lifelines' at Ground Signals, 2017. Photo Courtesy of the Surrey Art Gallery. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus.

Sound Thinking 2017: Sounds for Action

Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave

Date & Time:
October 28, 2017
Noon - 4:00 PM






Presented by:

Surrey Art Gallery

2017-10-28 12:00:00 2017-10-28 16:00:00 America/Vancouver Sound Thinking 2017: Sounds for Action Join Ground Signals artists for this one-day event of talks and performances related to sound art. Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave

Canada’s colonial visual culture has been overwhelmingly defined by landscape painting and photography. In recent decades, however, artists have developed alternative forms of sensory apparatus to create a perception of the land that transcends the purely visual. These artworks question preconceptions about identity and colonial history. They conceive of the land as embodied and interlaced with power relations, reflecting upon these dynamics and situating the viewer in an immersive relationship to the world around them. Sound Thinking 2017: Sounds for Action features over a half-dozen artist presentations, along with live performance and group discussion that examines these questions and practices.

The presenters in Sounds for Action examine the relationships between identity and place, memory and history, performance and ritual, language and song, and local and global. Traces left on the land by lived experience, or industrial incursion, are as important as art-historical legacies embodied in the pictures of nationhood typically found throughout art history.

Sounds for Action seeks to foreground the importance of art in addressing both colonial history and our current colonial present. The convening of these talks and performances is inspired, in part, by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s “Calls to Action,” intended to further reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. How do we as citizens, as artists, embody this shift? How do we manifest these discussions and further real change beyond the required policy changes and institutional transformations? This symposium includes a diverse array of artistic practices rooted in sound, song, speech and performance that address these and other urgent themes grounded in the land.

Presenters include Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Farheen HaQ, Liz Howard, Peter Morin, and Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby. The symposium will also include performances by Peter Morin and Mavis Pierre-Sam. Convened by Roxanne Charles and Jordan Strom, Sound Thinking 2017: Sounds for Action is presented in conjunction with the Surrey Art Gallery’s Ground Signals group exhibition, which runs until December 10th, 2017. Admission to the symposium is free.

About the presenters

Marie Côté

For Marie Côté, everything begins with pottery. The pleasure she takes in throwing a clay pot has never diminished, although she is now more well-known for her sculptures and installations. In addition to exhibiting her work in galleries nationally and internationally, she has participated in two artist residencies in northern Canada (Inukjuak, Nunavik and Dawson City, Yukon). Just as all pots want to be filled, Marie’s work seeks to make us aware of the complex experience that links an object to space. From her first shadow installations to her recent collaborative work with musicians, it is these links between space and matter that kindle her imagination. She lives and works in Montreal.

Lindsay Dobbin

Lindsay Dobbin is a mixed Indigenous (Mohawk)/Settler (Acadian/Irish) artist, musician, curator, and educator who lives and works on the Bay of Fundy. Her place-responsive practice includes media art, performance, sculpture, installation, social practices, and writing. She is invested in and influenced by Indigenous epistemologies and cultural practices such as drumming. By placing listening, collaboration, and improvisation at the centre of the creative process, Lindsay explores the connection between the environment and the body, and engages in a sensorial intimacy with the living land.

Farheen HaQ

Farheen HaQ is a Muslim South Asian Canadian artist born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario. She lives and works as a grateful guest on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations in Victoria. She has exhibited her work in galleries and festivals across Canada and internationally including New York, Paris, Buenos Aires, Lahore, and Hungary. Farheen uses video, installation, photography, and performance to explore gesture, identity, and the relationship between our inner and outer world. She is interested in the intersections between indigenous knowledge and contemporary diasporic experience and art as a contemplative practice. 

Liz Howard

Liz Howard was born and raised in northern Ontario. She has a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and works as research officer in cognitive psychology at the University in Toronto. Her award winning poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016. Howard’s chapbook Skullambient was shortlisted in 2012 for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. She has read her poetry at many events in Canada and was invited to read at Princeton University in 2014. Her poetry has also appeared on The Capilano Review, The Puritan, and Matrix Magazine. Special thaks to SOFIA/c (South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective) for partnersing on Howard’s participation in this year’s symposium.

Peter Morin

Peter Morin is a Tahltan Nation artist, curator, and writer currently based in Brandon, Manitoba. He studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and completed his MFA at UBC Okanagan in 2011. In both his artistic practice as well as his curatorial work, Peter explores issues of de-colonization through the practice of Indigenous ways of knowing/knowledge. His work, defined by Tahltan Nation production and worldview, takes the form of performance interventions and includes object and picture-making. Peter has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions across Canada and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Prize in 2014. Morin is an Assistant Professor with the Visual and Aboriginal Department at Brandon University. 

Mavis Pierre-Sam

Mavis Pierre-Sam is a Katzie Nation singer and community organizer. She regularly performs her songs at events and ceremonies across the Fraser Valley region including the traditonal and unceded territories of the Katzie peoples. She is the daughter of the late Katzie drummer and respected teacher Dean Sam.

Charlene Vickers

Charlene Vickers is an Anishnabe Ojibwa artist from Kenora, Ontario, currently living and working in Vancouver. She graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and received an MFA from Simon Fraser University. Charlene is on the Board of Directors at grunt gallery in Vancouver. Her work Sleeman Makazin is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She has recently exhibited at Vancouver Art Gallery, Grace Gallery (New York), Western Front (Vancouver), and AKA Gallery (Saskatoon).

Cathy Busby

Cathy Busby is an artist who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and, as a teenager, moved to the Yukon to be part of an alternative school and community. Early on, she felt at home being involved with social justice movements and found an outlet for this politicization in the visual arts. Cathy studied art and politics at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in the 1980s and completed an MA in Media Studies and a PhD in Communication at Concordia University in Montreal. She makes installations and printed matter, does performances, and teaches in the Visual Arts at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

About Ground Signals

Ground Signals is an exhibition that features immersive, multisensory art that engages with history and present state of the land. Artist in the exhibition are Ruth Beer, Roxanne Charles, Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Richard Fung, Brandon Gabriel and Ostwelve, Farheen HaQ, Peter Morin, Valérie d. Walker and Bobbi L. Kozinuk, Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby. The artworks invite consideration of often held presumptions and relationships to the places around us and the history of a nation built on limited notions of landscape and wilderness. The exhibitions runs until December 10th 2017.

About Sound Thinking

Founded in 2008, Surrey Art Gallery's Sound Thinking symposium is an annual event that brings together practitioners and professionals in sound art. The symposium features leading sound artists, scholars, and researchers in the field of sound studies, along with visual artists who use sound as key components of their practice and musicians who experiment with the limits of music and sound.

Sound Thinking is part of Surrey Art Gallery's Open Sound program and relates to the sound artworks on display during the year.

Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Vancouver Foundation, and Surrey Art Gallery Association. The Gallery would also like to acknowledge the support of SOFIA/c (South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective) for partnersing on Liz Howard’s participation in this year’s symposium.

Artists from Ground Signals perform and discuss the ideas and stories embedded in the exhibition and the larger context of artmaking in North America.

Participants include Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Farheen HaQ, Liz Howard, Peter Morin, Mavis Pierre-Sam, Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby.

Co-convened by Roxanne Charles and Jordan Strom.