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Instant Places
Carbon Sugar Air

streaming January 17 – February 21, 2018
http://instantplaces.ca/carbonsugarair/

Carbon Sugar Air is a generative music installation streaming live from January 17—February 21, 2018. The audio stream may be accessed here: http://instantplaces.ca/carbonsugarair/

Carbon Sugar Air is the latest in a series of generative artworks by Laura Kavanaugh and Ian Birse (AKA Instant Places). Kavanaugh and Birse make performances, generative installations, and telematic networks, instant places of imagination and connection. As a collaborative team they have travelled the world making Instant Places art on location, throughout the UK/Europe, Australia, Japan, in the USA/South America and from coast to coast in Canada. Documents from recent projects and an extensive archive of works dating to 2001 may be found here: http://instantplaces.ca/


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Critical responses

Elastic Planets : Generative audiovisual installation, single-channel projection, 12-channel 3D audio
June 11—22, 2013 :: New Adventures in Sound Art/NXNE Festival, Toronto
Review in Musicworks #117, Jason Van Eyck

Stepping into this black cube is like entering an intergalactic observation deck. Enveloped by mechanical whirs, buzzes and clicks, a parade of heavenly bodies is presented for inspection. This particular set is kaleidoscopic in colour, malleable in shape, kinetic in nature, frenetic in texture, as if the Painters Eleven had created their own solar system. Somewhere, alien voices whisper their own interpretations. The ear strains, until the eye is drawn back to explore the next colour- saturated asteroid. Now the vessel is rumbling with a purring bass. We must be thrusting forward to a new star field... Elastic Planets is the latest work of Ian Birse and Laura Kavanaugh, who have worked together as the intermedia-art operation Instant Places since 1997...

InstantPlaces/Peterborough 2010 : Generative audiovisual installation, widescreen linked projections, eight-channel sound
September 17— October 31, 2010 :: Art Gallery of Peterborough
Akimblog review, Gil McElroy

Begin with the marvelous. Start in southeastern Ontario in the main exhibition space of the Art Gallery of Peterborough where artists Laura Kavanaugh and Ian Birse have just installed the latest incarnation of their Instant Places. It’s an audio-visual structure that uses a long, high wall in the gallery space as a video projection screen before which are situated several benches surrounded by a complex speaker system. Back in June, Kavanaugh and Birse spent some time in Peterborough photographing the city. These digital images, cropped and recontextualized into stills, are the source material for their manipulations. A computer programmed with algorithmic instructions takes a detail of a group of performers on a waterside stage in downtown Peterborough or even something as mundane as the crank-down foot of a parked tractor trailer, and breaks them down into, say, isolated blocks of colour before stretching and deforming them into abstract skeins and whorls of line and colour on the wall. They intertwine, ever restlessly shifting and changing until, six minutes into work, they reassemble back into yet another image (or, more accurately, a row of seven identical images) and the entire process of decay and reassembly begins again. There’s nothing flashy about any of it, just fine variations on the abstraction and reconstruction of the representational that are utterly compelling. The audio component fills the gallery during this process-oriented work with something acoustically akin to a rumbling that, mirroring the transformative nature of the structures visually wrought and then dissembled upon the gallery wall, swells and diminishes in intensity like waves.

Removable Room, Mobile artlab projects
September 25—27, 2007 :: The Guild Inn, Scarborough ON / May 8—12, 2007 :: Send + Receive Festival, Winnipeg MB / January 16—20, 2007 :: Neutral Ground, Regina SK / October 25—28, 2006 :: Pen Centre, St. Catharines ON / October 9—14, 2006 :: Tone Deaf Festival, Kingston ON.

Excerpted from Waterman, Ellen. “Send and Receive: Technology, Embodiment, and the Social in Digital Audio/Visual Art.” The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, ed. Pauline Minevich, Ellen Waterman. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013.

Performance Practice in Removable Room

Removable Room is one element within Ian Birse and Laura Kavanaugh’s Instant Places, a project they began in 2003 and which they describe as “an ongoing series of researches into Place as a field of possibilities from which singularities emerge, moment by moment.” The artists explain that:

“Instant” also points to the transformative power of the moment of performance, a time-world of infinitely short duration that may serve as an opening to motion at right angles to history and clock time. During performance we invite visitors to step with us into a space in which time is suspended. The immediacy of physical presence is vital: it is clear to us that the possible value of a performance lies in the consciousness of every person in the room.

With this artists’ statement, Birse and Kavanaugh confirm both the social nature of performance (involving “every person in the room”) and the specificity of time and place that lends it “immediacy.” The following analysis of Removable Room draws both these threads together with a consideration of the role of technology in their work...


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