Stephanie Loveless: Cricket, Tree, Crow
Listen to nature's sounds of the cricket, crow, and maple tree.
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Cricket, Tree, Crow is a quadraphonic sound piece in three movements that investigates the voices of the cricket, the crow, and the maple tree. All of the sonic material in the work is based on the artist’s vocal mimicry of the sounds produced by members of these species.
Cricket, Tree, Crow is based on sonic research conducted by the artists at Studio XX media arts center in Montréal during a two-month residency in 2012.
I began my research by soundwalking, paying attention to local species, and talking to birders and old friends who know much more about local flora and fauna than I. Originally, I wanted to make field recordings as well, but as it was winter in Montréal and I didn't have specialized recording equipment or training, I decided to work with where I was for the time being—reading about and listening to recordings of different species, watching videos, and reading mythology to learn more about the bodies and worlds of the species I was going to be singing with. As I became more interested in certain species, I began doing more intensive listening and some light processing (stretching and frequency parsing) of selected field recordings, paying attention to what their sounds evoked in me, and experimenting with what it did to me to try to sing with them.
This process of singing-with feels to me like an elaborately set up meditation practice. There is an element of giving myself over to the sound. There is the vibrating of my body. As I sing, my throat and my breath vibrate my body in sympathy with the sound I am listening to (on headphones) and singing with (into a microphone, and usually in a dark room where I am as alone and unheard as I can manage). Within the concept of the piece, I wanted to imagine that this sympathetic vibration is meaningful, that it awakens knowledge in my body and psyche and opens a pathway for understanding other perspectives ... that the song of the species carries something in it that I am learning from and participating in.
About the Artist
Stephanie Loveless is a Montréal-born, New York-based artist who works with sound, video, film and voice. She makes soft-speakers out of paper cups, performance prescriptions for audience-identified ailments, and sound works that attempt to channel the voices of plants, animals and musical divas. Loveless’ sound, video and performance work has been presented widely in festivals, galleries, museums and artist-run centers in North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council and el Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; awards from Kodak, the International Festival of Cinema and Technology, and the Malcolm S. Morse Foundation; and has completed residencies at el Centro Mexicano para la Musica y las Artes Sonoras (Morelia, Mexico), the Coleman Center for the Arts (York, Alabama), and Studio XX (Montréal, Québec). In 2013, she completed her certification in Deep Listening with composer Pauline Oliveros.
This is the second of three art installations as part of Open Sound 2014: Sonorous Kingdom, a sound art exhibition that examines the relationship between vegetation and sound. Other participating artists are Matt Smith (Surrey) and Paul Walde (Victoria).
Image credit: Installation of Cricket, Tree, Crow in TechLab. Photo by Scott Massey.