Thomas Bégin  /  Byte by byte

Curator: Eric Mattson

Concert - performance on Thursday, April the 3rd at 7:30 pm.

BYTE BY BYTE is a sound installation that calls on the most basic features of the digital information concept. The work is composed of eight stations, like an archaic choir made up of recycled musical equipment (amplifiers, bass cabinets, guitars, resonance chambers, and cymbals), clusters of fluorescent tubes, and a computer. In this strange sound system Thomas Bégin has designed, the data code is directly transcribed as a musical score. The device literally produces digital music by reading one by one the octets drawn from various files, which are then turned into pulses of electricity and light. This transcoding gives rise to a composition that allows the most physical aspects of digital inscription (sequences, motifs, rhythms and textures) to appear. Singing a slow-motion flux of data, the set of sculptures performs an endless work whose music flows from its own decay.

BYTE BY BYTE may be viewed as a sound composition naively conceptualized by a sculptor. The artist is showing us collections of objects that have a formal coherence and is carrying out musical research by giving us an orchestration that plays with the specific acoustics of the site. This conflation of roles happens to provide a clue to reading the project. Where one might expect to hear music by a composer assisted by a computer, one is instead faced by the noise of the tool as dismantled and rearranged by a sculptor. All that remains of this self-undermining appropriation, shorn of primary functionalities, is the tool’s internal structure as highlighted and used in the crudest fashion. The artist will present an intervention in this installation in direct relation to this exhibition, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts aimed at projects by art organizations.