Black Seas

Steve Bates & Michaela Grill (Black Seas Duo)
August 23, 2019
Online recording for streaming

April 18 - June 15, 2019

June 11, 2019
Black Seas Large Ensemble
Suoni per il Popolo Festival. Montréal.
with Thierry Amar, Elizabeth Anka Vajagic, Mathieu Ball, Steve Bates, Michaela Grill, Timothy Herzog, Christof Kurzmann, Mark Molnar, Marc-Alexandre Reinhardt, Sophie Trudeau, Robin Wattie, and special guest, Sam Shalabi.

Black Seas (Radius)
Episode 87.
Originally broadcast once on the last day of 2018 on Monday December 31, 2018 at 12:00 AM CDT. Available for online streaming at the link above.
Radius is an experimental broadcast platform operating in Chicago, USA. Thank you to Jeff Kolar, Nick Ferreira, Meg T. Noe, and Nick Briz.

Black Seas is an ongoing project investigating historical and contemporary experiences of auditory hallucination through sound and music, film and video, installation, performance, broadcast, objects and materials. Drawing from horror literature and film, cognitive science, philosophy and sound studies, histories of nihilism and pessimism, religious studies, mysticism, and telecommunications. Black Seas considers experiences of auditory hallucination as creative and electro-chemical responses to existential and sensorial voids, hyper-stress, auditory and mental health conditions. Cognitive science and psychological study is quickly revealing the depth and breadth in which hallucination is experienced amongst general populations.

Black Seas takes into consideration the physical/material elements of hallucination, ideas of agency implicit in the experience, and the impact of forces such as colonialism, capitalism, state terror, and oppression on the phenomena.

Black Seas considers the vast and rich sonic experience of historical and contemporary hallucination as a fascinating study of sound and soundscape while acknowledging the experience can be full of terror, confusion, annoyance, humour, boredom, and banality, an intrusion and a welcome accompaniment.

Presentation History:

Solo performance. Oboro. As part of corps_sonores. 2016
Solo performance. Radio Revolten Festival. Halle, Germany. 2016.
Conference paper: “A Weird Listening: Auditory Hallucination and Silence”. Place of Silence: Experience, Environment and Affect. Edinburgh School of Architecture. Edinburgh, Scotland. 2016.
Trio performance with Connor Bennet and Aaron Hutchinson. Something Else Festival of Creative Music. Hamilton, ON. 2017.
Solo performance. Sounds Like...Festival. Saskatoon, SA. 2016
Exhibition and performance with Black Seas Ensemble. Sporobole. 2017.
Installation and trio performance with Nikos Veliotis and ILIOS. Tuned City-Ancient Messene. Greece. 2018.
Installation. As part of Buveurs de quintessences. Fonderie Darling. Montréal. 2018.
Solo performance and installation. bb15 Space for Contemporary Art. Linz, Austria. 2018.
Group performance, Black Seas Ensemble featuring Martin Brandlmayr, Angelica Castelló, Michaela Grill, Christof Kurzmann, Burkhard Stangl. Imago Dei Festival. Krems-an-der-donau, Austria. 2018.
Installation and performance. As part of Buveurs de quintessences. Casino Luxembourg. 2019.

To date research has taken place at the Elektronmusikstudion (EMS-Stockholm), John P. Robarts Research Library & Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (University of Toronto), Oboro artist-run centre, The Place of Silence: Experience, Environment, and Affect symposium at the Edinburgh School of Architecture, Radio Revolten (Halle, Germany), and Landscape Architecture and the Verdun forest and World War One battlefields (Verdun, France).

Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for financial support of this project, Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), Oboro, Mono-Mono, Mark Dorrian and Christos Kakalis, Sporobole Centre en Art Actuel.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.