Shuddering fragments — Boucher's montages

(I interviewed Boucher in December for the Link Newspaper)

Synchronicity binds elements within Myriam Boucher's work in such a way that they become almost sentient. Conversely, it also reveals her precision. Each definitive space within Boucher's audiovisual work is reinforced with saturative sequences. For instance, between 0:09-0:23 in headNoise, the inundating waves of fleshy rose and clay colours that could, on their own, appear comforting, bombard the observer in a instantaneous rush of sound.

The channels that lead through her vidéomusique move seamlessly between tension and emptiness. I do not feel calm, transitioning from shuddering textures to blaring panels of red, yet the intensity is gripping. Nothing can prepare you for each transition. Boucher's art can be viewed from anywhere, yet it is an injustice to limit it to a computer screen and headphones, even if you are a sound artist. They are made for cinematic screening and listening.

My most recent encounter with Boucher's artwork was at CIRMMT, McGill University's Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media, and Technology. There, I saw Nuées for the second time. The work pulses with movement — embodied through auditory and visual motifs of birds. In one instance, the frame rate decreases and accelerates, accentuating the nuances of birds in flight. Flocks are silhouetted in black against pale yellow, ochre, or upon other dark flocks themselves, evoking both magnitude and proximity. Boucher segments these panoramas with consecutive images of a bird's wingspan through cubical frames. Of course, she extends beyond the mentioned aspects within Nuées. Boucher is thorough in providing the observer with countless reinterpretations of our experiences—Nuées is one of many.

Moving beyond the screen — Schoen

I have followed the work of Matthew Schoen for a few years now. I first saw Vehicles over a year ago, when Schoen was completing his studies at Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal. The layers of humming that drive this piece epitomize, for me, the unexpected, mesmerizing quality of music without tones.

Yet, Vehicles is not absent of tonal harmony. It seems redundant, but I truly think a difference can be observed between harmony out of chaos (poetic or political), and chords. In the case of Vehicles, it is one that hovers just beyond your immediate perception. It reminds me of the experience Richard D. James compares his Selected Ambient Works II album to: that of standing in a power station.

On another tangent, Vehicles also reminds me of the time I walked into a room thinking my coworkers were playing a musique concrète piece. In fact, it was the soda fountain and coffee machine running their cycles. There is music hiding in unexpected places — Schoen's work exemplifies this. The whir, hum, pulse, and rush of mechanisms in Vehicles come together to produce an ultimate, collective sound. It is profound, yet charming — the cadence of an artificial choir ushering you past the screen into an intricate, brighter atmosphere.

Serene extension, sculpted in folds — Minha

Hidden away within the Cinémathèque Québecoise, Yang Minha's video installation drew me into itself as it radiated into the foyer. Entranced by minimalist spaces and melodies, the crystalline bells and electrical chords of Running Women led me into a long dark room illuminated by the projection.

You could stand before Yang's work for hours. It is peaceful, mesmerizing, and soothes your eyes. and while I do not think it should be confused with meditation or yoga, I admit that it has a similar effect. As my eyes followed the dancers, I found my body turning from left to right at the same pace as their footsteps. I found myself at ease.

The robes of the running women move with a fluidity that hellenistic sculptures would long to possess. Moving across a blank screen several meters long, the dancers imprinted countless possible gestures upon my mind. As they lept forward, I could imagine them twist right or left, kick their legs in arches, or catch a current of air to carry them off the screen. As the motion vectors extended and retracted, I could envision multiple directions. And then, of course, some of the dancers fell. Perhaps it was cliché, but orchestrated or not, the few moments when the dancers touched the ground were the flaws that bound this piece together. They were the difference between a serene loop and a shifting vision of human beauty.