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The Work of “Songs of the New Erotics”


Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, Session 2: Personal Reflections
Friday 8 August, 13:00–14:00. Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
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This lecture / presentation will give a brief overview of the Songs of the New Erotics project since its inception in 1991 with accompanying audio, video, and photographic documentation. The lecture will be largely informal and will focus on presenting various performance documents (mostly video) along with the artist’s commentary on the work. Audience participation, i.e. comments, questions, etc., will be permitted during the lecture (unless circumstances preclude this).

The presentation will consist of two main sections. The first half of the lecture will give a historical overview of the project, outline the chief aims, working methods, etc., and will touch on a number of key performances. The second half of the presentation will focus on a recent S.O.T.N.E. performance entitled “Dots” which was presented as part of Toronto’s Queen West Art Crawl event (Fall 2007). Dots was a large-scale audio composition and performance work which took place in Trinity Bellwods Park, downtown Toronto, over the course of six hours on two separate days. All aspects of the Dots audio composition (pitch, timbre, duration of audio elements, silences, etc.) were derived from or affected by the performer’s actions / movements within the park environment and the specific use of the geography of the park and the natural and man-made elements occurring within it. The Dots performance is a prime example of the presenter’s approach toward the integration of experimental music and performance art as a means of both the creation and dissemination of a work.

Time permitting, the presenter will also touch on his experimental music related work outside the S.O.T.N.E. project, such as his numerous collaborations with improvisers, instrument-builders, noise artists and so on (including the recent collaboration with California’s Neighborhood Public Radio as part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York).


William A. Davison is a Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist. He has studied fine art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and experimental music at Dalhousie University. As a composer / musician, Davison has been presented locally and internationally, both as a solo artist and in various groups and collaborations (with members of CCMC, Nihilist Spasm Band, AMM, Nurse With Wound, and many others). Davison¹s work has been supported by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts and he has curated events for the 7th International Performance Art Festival, Pleasure Dome Film Collective, and many independently produced concerts, events, workshops, and exhibitions. He has founded numerous music projects including his long-running solo project Songs of the New Erotics and the improvising ensemble Six Heads. Most recently, Davison performed in the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York City (in collaboration with S. Higgins and G. Scharpen).


Paper originally presented at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium 2008, August 2008.

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