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Foreword

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by Nadene Thériault

It was my intention with this booklet the Sign Waves Companion to provide visitors of theSign Waves series–presented by New Adventures in Sound Art, June-September, 2002–with current and evolving discussions on ‘installation art.’ However, after looking for appropriate articles for quite sometime, it became apparent that most of the articles written about installations are in relation to a particular artist’s work and don’t give a sense of the general creative process involved in making the piece or the reasons an artist would choose installation art as a medium. The article by Rob Godman was an exception to this rule: it covered in detail his reasons for using his particular type of sound installation as a means of exploring ambient sounds in resonating spaces. This led me to ask the artists involved in the Sign Waves series the following questions which provided the substance of their articles:

  • Why are you using an installation as a medium of expression rather than your conventional performance medium?
  • What role does the audience play in your work?
  • What importance do you place on the visual aspect of your installation? Is it more or less important than the aural aspect? How are these aspects (ie. visual & aural) integrated?
  • Is your piece site specific? What role do the surroundings play in your piece? These are the types of questions I would want to ask an artist upon visiting his or her installation.

As all of the artists involved in the Sign Waves series come from different backgrounds, each of their responses to the above questions reflected a much different focus. Tania Etienne writes about installation art in relation to her evolving creative processes as a scenographer, Nicholas Longstaff discusses a more humanist approach to installation art, Bentley Jarvis reflects on the use of sound sculptures to better engage the visual and auditory senses, Darren Copeland and Rob Godman’s articles reflect on the ability of sound installations to alter space, and David Eagle writes about the transformation of sounds in motion.

It is my wish that these articles will enhance the visitor’s experience and provide insight into the thought, design elements and creative processes that go into each installation. I encourage you to explore installation works with an open mind, active participation, and many quesitons for the artists.

I would like to thank all the artists who contributed to this booklet, the New Adventures in Sound Art team, The Canada Council for the Arts Media Section, NOW Magazine, CIUT-FM, Monster Cable, Charles Street Video, Mirage, CKLN-FM, Steves Music, Musicworks Magazine, Infusion Systems Ltd., Sim Audio, Art Systems, and you, our supportive audience.

Nadene Thériault,
Editor

Published in June, 2002 by New Adventures in Sound Art
Board of Directors: James Bailey, Clarissa DeYoung, Ron Gaskin
Editor: Nadene Thériault
The articles and compositions included here are published with permission from the authors.
The Sign Waves Companion is free and is distributed for educational purposes.