2009, video installation, 11:10
-in collaboration with Tom and Sugi
Aria shows the artist’s companion dogs, Sugi and Tom, exploring the natural world; a journey through an archetypal Canadian landscape culminating with Tom’s emotional vocalizations as an “aria.” Canine subjectivity is key in Aria that seeks to represent the dogs’ emotional connection to the natural world.
Aria, an operatic form with origins in 18th century Italian music, is defined as a long accompanied song by a solo voice. The form of the aria and the imagery and harmonic structure in Aria recall historical romanticism in art that emphasized personal inspiration and subjectivity. Aria uses the musical structure of “call and response” to depict the dogs relationship to the landscape. Interspecies collaborative methods were used to determine the narrative structure. The field cinematography was determined by negotiated with the dogs on what they wanted to do on site. The final visual narrative is based on the material generated from this negotiation. In the green screen studio, Tom sang a sequence of three musical phrases that were then used as the basis for the sound composition. The final soundscape consists of Tom’s vocalizations, along with field recordings of birds, insects, and wind.