The sound in my head. A perfect moment for women in digital art – Monica Vlad

Discover how Monica Vlad overcame the fear of creating sound compositions and audiovisual live performances on stage, based on pure intuition and following the inner creative voices.

MiMi L.  |  Ed. Cristina Brooks  |  10 January 2021

Our Consumption of Sound Art is, in Itself, a Creative Process

As our mind processes a sound to make it relevant to us, this sound may be interpreted as music or noise. In our next Agora Talk, the audio-visual artist Monica Vlad shares how she incorporates noise in an aesthetic, imaginative and intuitive way during her live performances.

Sound art is ubiquitous and polymorphic: be it music, modern composition, experimental noise, sound design, multimedia, installation, performance, new media or audio-visual work. Although sound art is a more recent New Media phenomenon than traditional Painting or Sculpture, the “arts of sound” has a rich history that started back in the early years of recorded sound and was advanced by Futurism, Dada, Fluxus and Conceptual Art.

As David Hendy reminds us in his book Noise, a Human History of Sound and Listening, sound travels freely through the air. Therefore, the soundscapes floating through an audience act like a fluid. They overlap, they filter into one another in unpredictable ways that we may appreciate.

Some sounds might even have intrinsic benefits since they are used in music therapy, such as the wind in the trees, birds chirping or waterfalls. What happens when our internal moment is interrupted by a noise?

ASA (Auditory Scene Analysis) is the ability we have to unravel what we might otherwise dismiss as meaningless noise. And, ASA is built on our fundamental tendency to group similar things. In Western music, this means melodic lines with small step-wise intervals of few pitches, stand-out textures or timbres.

Here comes the moment Monica Vlad, our talk guest,  plays with the ASA rules to create an individual language through illusions in which each sound is treated as a resonant acoustic complex filled with rich textures.

 Vlad uses perceptual light illusions as musical devices in her immersive acoustical polyphony.  And vice versa, her sound still operates in an extremely visual way, especially when her mixing tables are visible. In our next Agora talk, Vlad will share with us the importance of trusting her intuition compared to her analytic reasoning when she performs live. The “live” response of the audience helps her to quickly alter or select another portion to compose. This is pure freedom of expression for an artist! Don’t be mistaken, all the performances are scored for visuals and sounds, but the live interaction with the public allows Vlad to create infinite variations of her work by adding small details to her performance.  Her sound palette includes noise, ambient and experimental; from low to very high frequencies that no one can barely hear; from minimal to glitch, from analogue to digital.Can a performance concert radically change our mood?

Agora Talk 14

MiMi L.  | 13 January 2021

Why did we learn?

  1. Why women should trust their intuition and creative voice.
  2. Why going out of your comfort zone can bring amazing projects and collaborations
  3. Why VR offers a multitude of possibilities, not only visually but also acoustically.

Speaker’s Portfolio

Monica Vlad © Courtesy of the artist.
Monica Vlad, La Fille Malgardée(2018) Cyland Sankt Petersburg, Russia © Courtesy of the artist.

Speaker’s Biography

Monica Vlad designs and develops new media installations and sound spaces. She uses new and old technology as an artistic medium of expression and as a medium for audiovisual communication. She explores their potential for spatial communication and art.

She designs audio-video performances, media sculptures, installations that have an effect on their respective locations, giving them an identity — beyond their function and architecture.

With her work, she likes to create new experiences and immerse the participant in the piece. The sound of her performances is mainly based on noise, ambient, experimental, from low to very high frequencies that one can barely hear; from minimal to glitch, from analogue to digital. Part of her artistic research is also the sound localization attributes, surround – sound psychoacoustics, acousmatic and quadrophonic sound, sound image. The best way of participating as a viewer is to walk around through the room – as any new location has different characteristics – at the same time, regarding the sound but also the visuals.

For her visuals, Monica creates new media of projection, coupled with the sound, which creates new immersive exposure to “reality”. For her light installations, she works with solid light that can easily be perceived. The viewer is invited to directly engage and experience with the sculptural characteristics of light. The installations carry performative and participatory qualities: while walking through space, as the viewer morphs into the landscape which disrupts the autonomy of the exhibition space and imposes its own spatial and temporal identity.

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