In Re-Sound Paint & Play, the Desautels faculty of music and the school of art come together to present an exhibit unlike any other.
Victoria Sparks, instructor of percussion at the Desautels faculty of music, told the Manitoban that the event is a series of concerts. Last year, Re-Sound was done by the faculty in connection with the Winnipeg New Music Festival as a way to provide free concerts that allowed people to see what students at the U of M and the faculty of music were doing.
This time, the program and school brought together students from both disciplines to create a live visual and aural experience, separated into three parts that only build one upon the other.
In the first part, the musicians started playing their music to inspire the painters, who then began creating their work collaboratively on a large white piece of paper taped to one end of the art room.
The musicians played sounds directly to one side and in front of the event space, which mimicked a sort of surround sound, connecting with the title of the performance.
The sounds were surreal and something akin to a fantasy anime, like I was a character transported into a different dimension of my own, despite being in a crowded room.
They had a mystical and beckoning feel that produced an odd sensation, like being in a trance. Painters used rollers, paint brushes and even a rake to make their strokes on the paper, sticking to blacks, greys and whites with a dappling of blue.
The musical piece had its light and airy notes that drew listeners toward those feelings.
However, there were strong elements of warning and foreboding laced in the music that reminded audience members that not everything was as it seemed.
The less traditional ways of creating sound were the most striking. For example, some musicians had cymbal-like instruments which they spun on the floor until they came to a resounding stop.
The sound they created got more and more intense as it spun itself closer and closer to the ground and nearly left me wracked with heart palpitations.
The second part of the event, which saw the musicians creating a new piece based on the finished artwork, was no less panic-inducing.
The sounds in the second part were very ominous, destitute and animalistic. There were sounds of screeching birds and elephant calls.
Then came a signal, lost on the radio. Again, it sounded almost as if I was in another dimension where something was very, very wrong.
Contrastingly, towards the end of this second piece of the performance, attendees were guided towards something calmer and more uplifting, which was a nice break but also strange, considering the amount of time we’d spent in a state of panic and surrealism.
Finally coming to the third part of the performance, things essentially turned into a sensory overload.
Musicians and painters worked at the same time to draw upon one another’s work and the result was a cacophony of everything happening everywhere, all at once.
This wasn’t a bad thing in itself, it was just intense. It gets in viewers’ heads and makes your heart and mind race.
Like the second piece of the performance, there are parts later on where it settled down a bit, with a remnant of dread that felt like the calm before the storm.
Chanson Lussier and Kelsen Hadder, two of the musicians playing at the show and both students from the faculty of music, told the Manitoban their own experiences with the performance after the show.
“You’re kind of building the plane as it’s taking off, is the feeling,” said Hadder. “Laying down the train tracks as you’re going there.”
This interpretation of the music resonates with my own: a little bit alarming, a little bit panicked, but definitely an experience.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens and so that freedom is fun but also scary,” said Lussier.
Despite still recovering from the experience, all in all, Re-Sound Paint & Play was an event that I would lend my ear again in a heartbeat, palpitations and all.