Photos by Winona Rae (https://winonarae.ca/)
Migration Parade. First exhibited at Island Mountain Arts Gallery, 2019
Born in the fall of 2018, “Migration Parade” is an evolving, collaborative body of work and multimedia gallery installation by electroacoustic sound artist, Danielle Savage and sculptural textile artist, Alexandra Goodall.
This work is an act of earnest research into the phenomena of hive-mind, relational space, and collective intelligence, from the micro to the macro, starting with ourselves. Through multiple research streams and creation methods, we are using the artistic disciplines of sculptural textile and electroacoustic composition to explore the movements of personal and collective bodies. We have drawn on the field of phenomenology, philosophically and through application, and rely on direct engagement with materials (cloth/fibre and raw sonic experimentation) to guide much of our studio practice. Simultaneously, we continue to follow and nurture the conceptual dimensions of our work, tracking how this evolves and how it provides further context, shaping and insight to our inquiry.
Migration Parade exists in the context of a world where bodies, collectives, and swarms take on new meanings daily. While we are able to immerse ourselves in the humorous serenity of a chorus of frogs, we are concurrently aware of the intersecting challenges facing our collective, such as the mass extinction of the honey bee. Politically, walls – both conceptual and material – hinder and shape migration patterns for all: plants, animals and humans. Collective movements have the capacity for great beauty in their attunement and responsiveness, and great destruction in their unconscious momentum.
PAINTING A PICTURE OF THE FINAL INSTALLATION:
When visitors enter the exhibition space, they are met with nine large-scale white sculptures, hanging from the ceiling, arranged in a circle. The room is dark except for the sculptural pieces, which are subtly lit from above and below. Each piece is made of many hand-made, felted components. The color-palette of the exhibition is taken from the natural white wool used for the felt which imparts a soft, warm lustre indicative of bone, cocoons and animal hair. These sculptural pieces are intentionally ambiguous, leaning towards associations of eggs, cells, spindles, cicadas, seed pods and hives. The hope is that they are evocative, yet don’t instruct the participant how to feel. Rather, they invite engagement and inquiry.
Motion sensors embedded in the felt are triggered by the participants’ movement, setting off a multi-part sound work, which plays through speakers housed in the sculptures. This allows participants to feel how their presence impacts the space. The composed sounds swirl in hive-minded, primal patterns: swells, flocks, assembly and dispersal, on a spectrum from textural to gestural. The tone of the space implies a mass devotional conversation, at once alien and familiar, contemporary and primordial. It expresses the current milieu of human interventions with all their complicated outcomes and processes.
EVOLUTION OF THE WORK:
In the first iteration of this work, which was exhibited as three sonic/felted sculptures in 2019, we explored human and animal collectives: how they move, organize and express. In the second phase, we expanded the number of sculptures to 6 and challenged ourselves to focus on research of sonic technologies, shifting to a transdisciplinary approach. We looked at various diaspora and collective trauma, digging into our own relationship to living ancestry and culture and applying this to our work.
We now embark on our third phase, in which we shift our centre of gravity from the studio out into our community, entering into relationship with it as a living collective, inviting gallery visitors to communicate and co-create with the sculptures through interactive sound and bodily engagement.
Link to purchase the sounds of Migration Parade