All Together Now: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Exhibition
Featuring performances by Choir! Choir! Choir!, Common Thread Community Chorus, Darbazi, the Element Choir, Florivox, the Hart House Singers, kith+kin, Singing Out, Tunes. Beats. Awesome., and Univox
East Commons Room Stage
Singing together carries a promise of community: different individuals and multiple voices coming together and sharing one harmonious goal. Yet, pitching ones’ voice, in unison with others, can also disrupt communal ideals. Often, the voices of many are guided by the direction of one (a conductor), and singing together – like any other shared creative activity – can be threatened by the “unproductive” forces of disunity, disagreement, and discord.
Following on the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery’s 2012 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Independent Project The Piano, this year the great halls of Hart House will once again resonate with music from sundown to sunrise. All Together Now will consider the renewed interest in the choir format and its capacities for inspiring feelings of togetherness, communicating shared memory and history, and – occasionally – provoking less than harmonious results. Nine video installations and sound works by Canadian and international artists will resonate throughout Hart House, accompanied by on-the-hour performances by ten choirs from the Toronto community.
In Hart House, Paul Walde’s massive video installation Requiem for a Glacier will engulf visitors in a panoramic portrait of BC’s Jumbo Glacier area, serenaded by a four-movement oratorio written to respond to the imminent threats of global warming and resort development. Sara Angelucci’s video installation The Anonymous Chorus uses choral singing to create an immersive soundscape that speculates over the identities of ghostly figures in an unattributed 100-year old photograph. Some projects will consider the choir’s capacity for community-building: Althea Thauberger’s sound piece Murphy Canyon Choir is documentation of a choral performance developed by the artist and a group of spouses of active-duty soldiers in the largest military housing complex in the United States; Johanna Billing’s ongoing project You Don’t Love Me Yet documents an ever-growing international community of singers and bands covering a 1980s pop song; and the haunting Sounds from Beneath involves Mikhail Karikis and Uriel Orlow collaborating with a coal-miner’s choir to recall the subterranean sounds of a working coal mine through song, whilst standing in the desolate landscape over an abandoned mine. Other projects will play on collective memory, inflected by the multiplicity of generations and voices: Brian Joseph Davis’ charmingly dissonant Yesterduh is audio documentation of a 2006 project when Davis recorded passersby singing “Yesterday” by the Beatles, entirely from memory and with no practice. Ruminating on the lingering effects of cultural heritage, Brendan Fernandes’ video Performing Foe involves the artist acting as conductor to a choir learning the accents and inflections of the artist’s own cultural backgrounds. Ian Skedd’s video Sign Singing: Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division, 1979, Deaf Choir, 2009, reconfigures silence and gesture as choral material, as a deaf choir emphatically signs an interpretation of the classic post-punk hit.
Alongside these sound and video installations, which will be on display from sundown to sunrise, ten Toronto-based choirs will perform hourly in Hart House’s East Common Room, showcasing the diverse talent and perspectives available within the Toronto choral community. A full schedule and description of each choir will be available shortly.