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Send and Receive: Performing bodies, technology, and the social


University of Guelph

Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, Keynote Lecture 1
Friday 8 August, 11:00–12:00. Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
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The title of the talk, “Send and Receive,” refers to Pauline Oliveros’ sonic meditation of the same name in which improvisers practice both “sending” and “receiving” sound cues. The transmission and reception of sound is considered here as a social act in the deepest sense, whether mediated by technology or not. The talk builds on field research from my SSHRC-funded project Sounds Provocative: Experimental Music Performance in Canada in which I interviewed artists and audiences at eleven festivals across the country, including, most significantly for this paper, Mutek (Montréal), and Send & Receive (Winnipeg). I will discuss the social relationship between performing bodies and audio/visual technologies in the work of several Canadian artists and ensembles, potentially including Gordon Monahan, I8-U, Skolz_Kolgen, Martin Tétrault, Minibloc, Mankind, Ken Gregory, Ian Birse and Laura Kavanaugh. These artists’ work explores questions of presence and absence of the body in its relationship to technology; the performative role of technology itself; and the ontology of “liveness” in electroacoustic music.


Ellen Waterman is Associate Professor in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph. Her research is at the intersection of performance studies, ethnomusicology and critical theory, and she is also an active performer specializing in improvisation and contemporary music. Waterman is the recipient of several grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), most significantly as a core researcher in the international Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice project. She is co-writing (with Dr. Julie Smith) a book Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation, and Subjectivity under a series contract with Wesleyan UP. Waterman is founding co-editor of the peer-reviewed online journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Ẻtudes critiques en improvisation. During 2008–09 Waterman will be visiting scholar at the Centre for Research and Teaching on Women at McGill University, working on a book: Sounds Provocative: Experimental Music Performance in Canada.


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

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