(2013 Satellite Event) Vector at the X-Avant Music Festival

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Our satellite event for the X Avant Morton Feldman concert in mid-October worked out great. We’d like to thank the Music Gallery‘s David Dacks for inviting us to collaborate, pianist/conductor/producer extraordinaire Gregory Oh for getting the conversation going in the first place, and Caroline Macfarlane for hosting us so graciously at the OCAD Student Gallery.

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For those among you who couldn’t make it: we installed three indie games focused on open exploration, which were accompanied by a broadcast of a six hour live performance of Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2 by the Toronto-based FLUX Quartet. The live music replaced the existing soundtrack of the games, thus constantly changing the experience of being immersed in the three game worlds. The three pieces we showed were ProteusParadis Perdu, and Against the Wall. We had a steady trickle of visitors all the way until midnight, so that at least two out of the three games were being played at most times. Visitors ranged from X Avant concert-goers and OCAD faculty to art students, tourists from Germany and Detroit (!), and random folks out for drinks.

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The unorthodox game/music pairing made for many engaged conversations throughout the night. The music was fantastic and carried very well in the gallery space; the three videogame pieces are stunning, and the combination of sound and visuals couldn’t have turned out any better. Whichever way you looked at it, the game mechanics, visuals, and sound were both complementary and contrasting in beautiful, interesting, and unexpected ways. In fact, quite a few visitors were genuinely surprised to hear that the ethereal music that filled the space was NOT the actual soundtrack to the games, and that the slow modulations of the Feldman composition were NOT results of their own gameplay.

Overall, I think we proved a pretty unique point that may never before have been made quite like this: game art and avant-garde music go together very well!