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 AB Projects

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Gordon Monahan
A Piano Listening To Itself – Chopin Chord

November 18, 2012 – June 22, 2013
Reception: Sunday, November 25, 3 – 5 pm, artist will be present
Exhibition Hours: Monday - Saturday 5 - 7pm

AB Projects
58 Summerhill Gardens
Toronto, M4T 1B4
Tel: (647) 628-2539
astrid@astridbastin.com

This autumn AB Projects is very proud to present A Piano Listening To Itself – Chopin Chord by Gordon Monahan. Astrid Bastin's practice as an agent for art and culture is to work as a catalyst for cultural exchange by leveraging artistic practices to effect change. She believes that art has the potential to change our lives and to make sense out of the world. She is convinced that art should be shown in places that surprise us, to move beyond displaying art in institutions, by showing it in social spaces where we live, in our neighbourhoods.

Six long piano wires are suspended from the roof of 58 Summerhill Gardens and are connected to a piano positioned in the middle of the yard below. At the connecting point high above the window, audio recordings played into an amplifier are transmitted into the long piano strings using vibrating coils in small motors attached to the wires, which causes the piano strings to vibrate in sympathy with the audio signals. The vibrations in the long piano strings are transmitted down the long piano wires and are amplified by contact to the piano soundboard below. The audio recordings are thus reproduced without any loudspeakers – instead, the motor coils, the long piano wires and soundboard become substitutes for a loudspeaker system.

Audio recordings transmitted into the piano strings consist of note sequences derived from piano compositions by Frederic Chopin. The note sequences were extracted from midi files of Chopin's piano pieces and 'recomposed' using midi software, to form new pieces that were then recorded using a software-based piano. In total, twenty-six 'recompositions' were derived from twenty Preludes, two Etudes Opus 10 and 25, the Fantaisie Impromptu Opus 66, one Nocturne Opus 27 Nr. 1, one Polonaise Opus 53, and the first movement of the Sonata, Opus 35.

The work "A Piano Listening to Itself – Chopin Chord" was commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 2010, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth. It has since been exhibited at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto–Scarborough, the Centro National de los Artes, Mexico City, the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, the Ostrava Days, Ostrava, Czech Republic, and at Hart House, University of Toronto, for Nuit Blanche, 2012.

Monahan's career spans over 33 years, as a media artist, pianist, composer, performance and sound artist. Gordon Monahan's works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. As a composer and sound artist, he juxtaposes the quantitative and qualitative aspects of natural acoustical phenomena with elements of media technology, environment, architecture, popular culture, and live performance.

AB Projects is an independent and mobile platform for cultural exchange involving artists living in Latin America and Canada. Toronto's multicultural context serves as an important laboratory to identify, articulate and give visibility to some of Latin America's complexities, and to reach heterogeneous audiences

For more information on the work and career of Gordon Monahan, please visit www.gordonmonahan.com.


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