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Gabriola artist in residence blends sounds of nature with dance music

Andrea Wong plays with sound and location as part of project
Throughout the spring, sound performer Andrea Wong is conducting a research-based project on Gabriola Island rooted in the natural sounds of the island. (Photo by Vincent Lim)

For the past two months, the Kasahara Gabriola Trust artist-in-residence has experimented with how sound is experienced and how it can be influenced.

Andrea Wong, a sound performer who finds herself in either Vancouver and Calgary more often than not, arrived on Gabriola in early April to conduct a research-based project rooted in the natural sounds of the island.

The residency on Gabriola is not Wong’s first visit, since she performed at the Phoenix Auditorium at the Haven last spring; it is, however, her first on-site residency where she gets to explore the land – an integral part of her project.

While on the island, the sound performer will look at spatialized interactive audio and use specialized software to create interactive location-triggered soundwalks across Gabriola.

“It can only be heard if you physically walk into an area that I determine. I figured this type of experience invites people to play – it’s not just going to a concert and hearing the music in a concert hall. But, here you can go into the forest or along the beach and hear this sound in a different space and play with those sounds … I walked around and recorded some of the birds and some of the different sounds I’ve heard on the island. And then, I’m hoping to mix it with trance and electronica [music],” Wong said, adding that she collected input from community members on their favourite sounds while researching a location.

Since the project is interactive, it leaves “a lot of wiggle room” for different encounters, based on how the listener walks though the area and can change depending on their pace or direction.

Wong said the locations will include a spot outside the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre on South Road for a workshop that took place in early May, and also at the Elder Cedar Nature Reserve on North Road. The interactive soundwalks will remain on Gabriola following her departure at the end of the month and can be accessed through the Echoes Interactive Sound Walks mobile app.

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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