Vocales Digitales: Erin Gee

Erin Gee
Vocales Digitales
March 26 – May 14

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 26, 2:00-4:00pm

Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to present Vocales Digitales, a solo exhibition by new media artist and composer Erin Gee, featuring installations exploring the potentials of human voices in electronic bodies as well as electronic voices in human bodies. Based on a robust research practice, Gee draws from neuroaesthetics, a field that investigates the potentials of neurological and physiological data, as both the basis of, and inspiration for, her technologically complex installations. Turning the inside out, Gee culls data from physiological sources such as the human larynx as well as intangible sources such as human emotions, and transforms them into highly realized aesthetic and musical compositions. Using languages of notation, code, and data, Gee explores the flesh and experience of human bodies, seeking out poetic languages of machine visualization to return the quantitative once more into a space of aesthetics through the experience of music.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual publication featuring essays by Maiko Tanaka and Eric Lewis. The catalogue launch will be accompanied by an artist talk and will take place April 23, at 2:00 pm. The catalogue can be downloaded HERE (4.5mb).

 Auxiliary Programming:
Artist Talk and Catalogue Launch: April 23, 2:00pm
Biosensor/Arduino Workshop: April 24, 10 am (full day) $25 registration required
Original Performance with Daniel Anez and the Hamilton Children’s Choir: June 25, 2:00 pm at McMaster LIVElab

In partnership with the Hamilton Children’s Choir and McMaster University’s LIVElab, Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to present Song of Seven: Biochoir, an improvisational, interdisciplinary performance by Montreal based artist, Erin Gee created specifically for the Hamilton Children’s Choir and acclaimed pianist, Daniel Áñez.

Documentation: Song of Seven: Biochoir, Erin Gee, 2016

Song of Seven: Biochoir
Erin Gee, Daniel Áñez and the Hamilton Children’s Choir

When: Saturday, June 25, 2:00 pm

Where: McMaster University’s LIVElab
(1280 Main Street W., Hamilton. Located in the Psychology Building [#34] on the McMaster University Campus. Detailed directions, including parking can be found here: http://livelab.mcmaster.ca/contact/directions/)

In this work, the seven young performers were asked to contemplate an emotional time in their lives, and recount this memory as an improvised vocal solo. The stories you hear in the song are real tales of childhood emotion specific to the singers in this song.

During these solos, the other choir members are instructed to enter into a meditative state, deeply listening to the tale and empathizing with the soloist, using imagination to recreate the scene. You may also hear synthesized sounds enter the musical fabric, lightly peppered by percussive marks. These synths are controlled by each choir member’s physiological markers of emotion. Composer Erin Gee created small synthesizers for the choir to control with their heartbeats and sweat release. As sweat is a robust measure of emotional engagement, the sounds are direct sonifications of GSR (galvanic skin response) data, picked up by sensors on the fingers; meanwhile the heartbeats of each chorister provide a light percussion.

The score of this work consists of many visual and improvisational elements that combine traditional scoring with vocal games and rhythms determined not necessarily by the conductor or score but by beatings of the heart and bursts of sweat. These heartbeats and sweat are made visual to the choir members as discreet flashing lights on the synthesizer boxes in front of them, in order to incorporate the rhythms of the body into the final work.

The result is a contemporary work for children’s choir that employs both scientific instruments and personal narrative to explore form, melody and storytelling.

Piano accompanist: Daniel Àñez

This song was workshopped over a one-week residency at the LIVELab (McMaster University) with selected members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir. The project was facilitated by Hamilton Artists Inc. with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.


The program was comprised of two components:

Part one:
Pianist Daniel Àñez will perform a Solo presentation of works by Viva Voce (2016) by Graciela Paraskevaídis (Argentina/ Uruguay, 1940).  Àñez specifically selected works by this composer for their meditative, contemplative qualities that have a particular emotional resonance.
Part two:
Song of Seven: Biochoir: A presentation of new improvisational, interdisciplinary performance created specifically for the Hamilton Children’s Choir, directed by Erin Gee. Piano accompaniment by Daniel Àñez and custom synthesizers by Erin Gee.


Biosensor/ Arduino Workshop
April 24, 10 am (full-day)
$25 (includes arduino and all equipment/ components)

This workshop is presented in partnership with Centre[3] for print and media arts. Pre-registration required. Please email programming@theinc.ca

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how biosensors can be used in your Arduino projects?  Would you like a refresher on basic circuitry in general?  Using basic electronic principles, Erin Gee will guide workshop participants in how to use the Pulse sensor (for data related to blood flow and heartbeat), DIY respiration sensors, and how to globally make sense of biosensors and emotional data.  Participants will bring home their very own Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor with knobs that affect offset and amplitude of the signal.  The GSR sensor is a tried-and-true sensor that is often used to gauge overall emotional arousal.  Open to all experience levels, this workshop will also demonstrate the basics of reading the sensor in the Arduino/Teensy environment to control surprising sounds using the Mozzi library.

Erin Gee is a Canadian artist whose work primarily explores digital culture through the metaphors of human voices in electronic bodies. Working in video, performance, robotics and audio art, Gee has exhibited most recently at University of Toronto Art Center (2015), Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2015), Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal (2015), Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters, Montreal (2014), and Nuit Blanche Calgary (2014).


Hamilton Artists Inc. would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts with this project.


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