This fall, the Belkin was delighted to welcome the UBC School of Music Contemporary Players as they responded to Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts. Directed by Paolo Bortolussi, the Contemporary Players ensemble includes graduate and undergraduate students focusing on music and performance of our time. Programs blend masterworks by internationally acclaimed composers with world premieres of works written expressly for the ensemble by UBC composition majors. In lieu of a public concert at the Belkin as has occurred in recent years, each musician chose a work by a Canadian composer to perform in an empty gallery, responding to the works of Soundings. Videos of these performances are shared here for reference, research and enjoyment in perpetuity.
Soundings asks how a score can be a call and a tool for decolonization. The exhibition’s corresponding investigations take at their centre questions of embodiment and subjectivity, of calls and responses. What are the practical matters of embodied decolonization, and how can we practice them? How does embodiment facilitate unlearning, unknowing and the visioning of Indigenous ontologies?
The students were invited to perform their chosen works in the gallery space as agents in this extended conversation. With a conceptual focus on authorship and collaboration, the Contemporary Players teased out the nuances of relationality and presence by relying on improvisational skills to execute a precious performance: a site-specific, once-in-a-lifetime meditation on all that the exhibition encompasses.
Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts features newly commissioned scores, performances, videos, sculptures and sound by Indigenous and other artists who respond to the question, How can a score be a call and tool for decolonization? Unfolding in a sequence of five parts, the scores take the form of beadwork, videos, objects, graphic notation, historical belongings and written instructions. During the exhibition, these scores are activated at specific moments by musicians, dancers, performers and members of the public, gradually filling the gallery and surrounding public spaces with sound and action. Curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson, Soundings is cumulative, limning an ever-changing community of artworks, shared experience and engagement. Shifting and evolving, it gains new artists and players in each location. For this iteration on Musqueam territory, the Belkin has collaborated with UBC's Musqueam Language Program in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band Language and Culture Department; School of Music; Chan Centre for Performing Arts; First Nations House of Learning and Museum of Anthropology to support the production of new artworks and performances by local artists.[more]
through, in between oceans part 2 by Camille Georgeson-Usher is a beaded installation, completed during the isolation of the Spring 2020 pandemic. The artist worked from home in Toronto, a departure from her intention to spend several months on Galiano Island, BC, where she was raised.[more]
Forming two continuous lines on this part of the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people, wəɬ m̓i ct q̓pəθət tə ɬniməɬ by Diamond Point presents two images repeating in a sequence hung on the lampposts along UBC’s Main Mall from James Hart’s Reconciliation Pole to the plaza just beyond the Belkin.[more]
Germaine Koh’s drum is made from one of the cedar tree stumps she first brought to site for use as physical distancing stations. She worked with Belkin staff during Summer 2020 to develop COVID-19 safety and visitor interaction protocols that recognized the importance of collective care and teamwork.[more]
Whetung invites gallery visitors to pour different coloured beads from individual small jars into one large vessel, creating a layering of sounds as each bead joins the growing pile. Once the container is filled, the artist turns the amalgam of beads into an entirely new piece – a rectangular beadwork unique to the Belkin’s iteration of the exhibition.[more]
In Part One of NDN Love Songs, Peter Morin offers a score of instructions to musicians presented alongside seven video portraits. Part Two presents videos of recordings of previous iterations of the Soundings exhibition at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Gund Gallery and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. In Part Three, Parmela Attariwala performs the score on the violin at the Belkin.[more]
Around the corner from the Belkin Gallery, Raven Chacon's score American Ledger (No. 1) hangs on the exterior of the Music Building at 6361 Memorial Road, UBC. The score incorporates a traditional musical score with Navajo iconography and is to be performed by "many players with sustaining and percussive instruments, voices, coins, axe and wood, a police whistle and the striking of a match."[more]
Surrounded/Surrounding includes a wood-burning fire bowl, etched leather camp stools and a life-sized rendering of the artist’s wood pile in a graphic score. Written on the split logs and the spaces between them are references to the breathing, beating labour that creates what a fire needs, as well as the trees, sun, sky and ground that surrounds and creates all else.[more]
In lieu of a public concert at the Belkin as has occurred in recent years, musicians from UBC Contemporary Players chose a work by a Canadian composer to perform in an empty gallery, responding to the works of Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts. Videos of these performances are shared here for reference, research, and enjoyment in perpetuity. Soundings asks how a score can be a call and a tool for decolonization. The exhibition's corresponding investigations take at their centre questions of embodiment and subjectivity, of calls and responses. What are the practical matters of embodied decolonization, and how can we practice them? How does embodiment facilitate unlearning, unknowing, and the visioning of Indigenous ontologies?[more]
In response to Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, a group of Creative Writing graduate students at the University of British Columbia have made a series of activities for visitors to take part in during their visits to the gallery. Thinking through the idea of a score as a call to respond, these activities range from sound walks to reflective worksheets to small group workshops.[more]
The following is a list of resources related to Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts. The list of resources compiled here is not an official recommendation, but is rather a list of suggested readings compiled by Public Programs and graduate student researchers at the Belkin Art Gallery. These readings are intended to provide additional context for the exhibition and act as springboards for further research or questions stemming from the exhibition, artists, and works involved.[more]