BSL-POSE Montreal


I spent Thursday wandering through Montreal’s lower-St. Laurent neighbourhood (and beneath it in the Metro – the only subway I know of with rubber wheels) making audio recordings. The aural pull of a walk like this leads to a very different experience of the city. You move slowly, adopting odd strides at times to avoid disturbing the mic or exposing it to wind. You linger in places. (This took practice as loitering and looking casual don’t come naturally to me.) You’re drawn through space by irruptions of sound (or silence), by qualities of sound, timbres, irregularities, voices. In a city like Montreal you also become very aware of the different languages and accents being spoken around you, speeding or slowing to catch them. Some people do lot of this sort of recording, but it’s relatively new to me.

The reason for all of this is that I’ve been brought on (a bit last minute) to do sound design for a joint project between the Carleton Immersive Media Studio and Montreal’s Société des Arts Technologiques. Outdoor installations in Parc de la Paix and inside, nextdoor at SAT, will look at the daily life of the neighbourhood, its development, history, legends and ghosts. The CIMS crew have assembled an astonighingly detailed set of 3D animated renderings of the neighbourhood, centred on a 44-minute literal or realist depiction of the area (entire blocks texture-mapped with methodically collected digital photos of every square foot) which is accompanied by 3 shorter, looping animations that reconfigure its topography, technologically, psychologically, and mythologically.

But what’s missing in these images is the very life that occupies those streets and their architecture. The spaces are completely empty. This is where sound is meant to take over from the image, reconstituting the social aurally in its visual absence (both in the case of the empty street, and enclosed interior spaces). I’ll also be experimenting a little with ideas around the tactility of low-end frequencies and the affective potentials of infrasound. It’s a short deadline, so we’ll see how it all turns out, but so far it’s all coming together.

BSL-POSE will be happening October 20 at SAT, 1195 Saint-Laurent boulevard. If you’re in Montreal, come say hi.

5 Responses to “BSL-POSE Montreal”

  1. kek Says:


  2. paul Says:

    Kek! Glad to see you here 😉

  3. Mat Says:

    I think kek is a warcraft nerd. It takes one to know one.

  4. modyfier Says:

    if you haven’t seen it already, go rent wim wenders ‘lisbon story’…of which much of what your audial experience aove is about…from his website: Our story starts with a postcard and a rather cryptic message:

    “Dear Phil, I cannot continue m.o.s.! — S.O.S.! — Come to Lisbon with all your stuff a.s.a.p.! Big hug, Fritz.”

    Who is who? And what do all those abbreviations mean? The SOS of course, is obvious, and a.s.a.p. only strengthens the urgency: come AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. But m.o.s.?

    Only if you work in movies you might know that M.O.S. is an old and rather strange word for “silent,” and that the expression came up in the late twenties meaning “mit-out sound.”

    Anyway, we soon understand that the postcard was sent by a film director, Friedrich Monroe, to his friend Phillip Winter, a sound engineer. Friedrich has started a movie in Lisbon on a very romantic notion — he wanted to do it “as if the whole history of cinema hadn’t happened, shooting all on his own, a man alone in the streets, with an old hand-cranking camera, just like Buster Keaton in THE CAMERAMAN.”

    Well, Friedrich failed, and when he realized he had painted himself into a corner, he called Winter for help, hoping “that your microphones could pull my images out of their darkness, that sound could save the day.”

    here’s the link:

    good to hear your own personal musings about it…

  5. paul Says:

    @ Mat – Really? I’ve never noticed on his blog. I know he has a soft spot for fancy cavies though

    @ Modyfier – Nice one! Thanks M. I’ll have to check that out.