Topological Improvisations / Re-Mediations (2014)

In 2014, while a Banting Fellow at the Topological Media Lab, I curated two parallel series – one focused on performance and the other on discussion/workshopping/presentation of ideas.

Topological Improvisations was a series presenting improvisations across media, that explored unique topologies of performance: modes of continuity, connectedness and differing boundary conditions, between players and with the space itself. I also took part as a performer in several installments of the series.

These included:

Volume 1: A/V QUARTET ++1: Immersive sound and video, featuring solo/duo/quartet/quintet configurations drawn from: If, Bwana (electronics, objects) / Doug Van Nort (voice, electronics) / Katherine Liberovskaya (live video) / Éric Létourneau (synths, gamelan, wind instruments) / Akunniq (the dog)

Volume 2: TRANSMISSIONS & RESONANCE: A set of improvised sonic explorations, transmission to/from the boundaries of the space. Meditations on the continuity and connectedness of resonance. Julien Ottavi, Erin Sexton, Doug Van Nort in solo/trio combinations.

Volume 3: QUARTETTO TELEMATICO: Pauline Oliveros, Doug Van Nort, Chris Chafe, Jonas Braasch, four site telematic performance for Frontiers Festival, Birmingham, UK.

Volume 4: SINGING IN PLACE: Singing In Place is a live performance. Improvised singing – with and without electronic processing – is used to convey the memory of walks taken. The voice is often combined with field recordings and texts. Viv Corringham solo and in duo with Kathy Kennedy.

Volume 5: MOVING SPACES: Moving Spaces (2002) – Christian Wolff (b. 1934) – Christian Wolff wrote Moving Spaces in 2002 for Loose Time, a work by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The piece is rooted in improvisation, ruled by indeterminacy, and energized by noise, silence, and electronic manipulation. The piece was performed by seven improvisers from the Montreal scene: Zach Hale (electronics), Emily Lair (french horn), Molly Wreakes (french horn), Duncan Campbell (trumpet), Felix Del Tredici (bass trombone). Joining them were dancers Bailey Eng and Samantha Rust.

Topological Re-Mediations were a series of workshops and lectures that explored new modes of collective play and co-creation, speculative inquiry and technico-aesthetic innovations in the context of responsive environments.

These included:

Volume 1: HMMM Vocal Workshop with Kathy Kennedy

Volume 2: “Sweet on the Spot” – A presentation and participatory demo on spatial audio with Peter Plessas (IEM, Graz)

Volume 3: Threads: Oana Suteu Khintirian and Navid Navab lecture/demo on “Threads”: Threads is exploring new haptic ways of engaging with paper. Dwelling with the mnemonic dimension of the written word, it puts under the magnifying glass the acts of reading and writing in an intricate play of sensorial relations.

Volume 4: Orbital Resonace: Discussion and Performance. A Research-Creation Project by Margaret Jean Westby and Nikolaos Chandolias In Collaboration with Anne Goldenberg and Doug Van Nort.

Volume 5: Mother of Balloon Music: Judy Dunaway gave a lecture/demonstration about the amazing ways that balloons function as sound makers, offering some history of the balloon in experimental music. This was followed by an audience performance of her “Balloon Symphony No. 2.”

Volume 6: Radius: Jeff Kolar discussed his ongoing curatorial project Radius, an experimental radio broadcast platform based in Chicago, IL, USA. Radius features a new project monthly with statements by artists who use radio as a primary element in their work. Radius provides artists with live and experimental formats in radio programming. The goal is to support work that engages the tonal and public spaces of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Curation and Performance:
Doug Van Nort


Various – see above.

Event Promotion, Flyers, Web pages:
Nina Bouchard, Lauren Osmond

Inspirator, Lab Context:

Sha Xin Wei and the Topological Media Lab

More info – historical links:

Topological Improvisations


Topological Re-Mediations