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East Coast
Anna Taylor
Gleaning a Song at Dalhousie Art Gallery
February 25, 2016

Soft voices sing forth from the media room at Dalhousie Art Gallery. The entirety of the space has been subjugated by a major exhibition on artist-run centers, and while Eyelevel holds most of the rooms, The Center For Art Tapes has taken over the zone that is best suited for projections. In it Will Robinson presents a curatorial project entitled Gleaning a Song: The Singing Voice as Artifact in Media Art that gathers together audio-centric video works culled from the CFAT archives. Staying true to a consistent overlap of music and visual art in his practice, Robinson searched the archives for instances of vocal song. The selected collection guides one through soft and tender introspection, looking inward, to ask questions about our place in the world while holding space for uplifting, for stillness, and for healing.

Lisa Lipton, You can take my bicycle, 2011

The sequence opens up with Emily Vey Duke and Cooper BattersbySongs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure, a warped and probing look at humanity. The strung together segments of this fourteen-minute video stage stories of addiction and violence with humorous vocals and cartoons. I am left unsure where the artists are situated within these first person narratives – what personal connection do they have to the tools they use to illicit vulnerability from their audience?

Subsequent videos carry on seeking meaning in humanity as with Derek Charke, Janice Jackson, and Lukas Pearse‘s Oikos/Ecos, a presentation of headlines layered on statistics and cascading digital imagery. However, it isn’t until I reach Tom Sherman and Jan Pottie’s video that I start to feel the depth of warmth I eventually glean from Gleaning a Song. Their film Angie sings My Heart Will Go On is a warming and sincere single-shot documentation of an excellent karaoke solo. Following this sentiment, Lisa Lipton’s You can take my bicycle is a clear and crisp video of a beautiful choir – a trio of talented voices – that sings cherishing lyrics directly to the viewer. We are lead out of this caressing experience with the resonating audio of Lindsay DobbinsDrum Voices, which provides a reverberating and lasting final moment of meditation.

Dalhousie Art Gallery:
Gleaning a Song: The Singing Voice as Artifact in Media Art continues until March 6.

Anna Taylor is an artist, crafter, and organizer sitting on the board of the Halifax Crafters Society. She is Akimblog’s Halifax correspondent and can be followed on Twitter @TaylorMadeGoods.



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