Alternative Energies - Sound and Sustainability Events in the Community

Alternative Energies

Taking place throughout September and October 2014, Alternative Energies offers a series of events that explore the intersection of art and sustainability presented by an exciting variety of arts, educational, and community organizations in Vancouver.

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Canadian Music Centre – BC Region and Vancouver New Music present
At the Edge of Wilderness
A video installation about ghost towns in British Columbia created by composer Hildegard Westerkamp and photographer Florence Debeugny
Opening reception September 26, 2014; 5-7PM; special performance by Peggy Lee
September 29 – October 17, 2014; Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM

Canadian Music Centre (837 Davie Street)

When resource industry moves into British Columbia’s landscapes, industrial sites and company towns are cut into the wilderness. The edge between wilderness and such a new place is traditionally knife sharp like the edge between life and a stabbing death. Natural rhythms and movements eventually soften the edges, transforming an abandoned industrial site into mysterious rusty shapes and collapsed wooden structures overgrown by moss, weeds, shrubs, and trees. Through images and sounds gathered in various ghost towns of the Canadian province British Columbia during Spring and Summer of 2000, At the Edge of Wilderness explores a strange moment of excitement and magic, discovery and adventure, the moment when the contemporary visitor encounters an abandoned industrial site.

For the opening reception, cellist Peggy Lee will perform excerpts of Hildegard Westerkamp’s Liebes-Lied/Love Song. Hear the full piece at Sonic Topographies on October 16.

Originally commissioned by the Western Front Society in Vancouver for the group show Industrial Ear, September 8-16, 2000.

Culture Days 2014   CMC BC Region

Vancouver New Music presents
Vancouver Electronic Ensemble plays music by David Dunn
Saturdays, October 4 and 11, 2014; 8PM

Vancouver Community College Atrium (1155 East Broadway, entrance on BC Parkway just east of Glen Drive) [map]
By donation

Members of the Vancouver Electronic Ensemble (VEE) perform works based on the music of composer and sound ecologist David Dunn. Currently based in New Mexico, Dunn’s music and sound work uses environmental and field recordings to explore intersections of art and nature.

Vancouver Community College

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents
Vancouver Electronic Ensemble at the CAG
Monday, October 6, 2014; 7PM

Contemporary Art Gallery (555 Nelson Street)

An sound performance inspired by the recent works of German artist Jürgen Partenheimer whose exhibition, The Archive – The Raven Diaries, runs from September 12 to November 9, 2014 at the CAG.


Vancouver New Music presents
Sound and Sustainability Soundwalks
Sundays, October 5 & 12, 2014; 2PM

Take some time to listen to the underlying sounds and rhythms of the city on a soundwalk. Members of the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective lead two, free guided walks through the urban environment.

Old Stream Soundwalk
Sunday October 5, 2014; 2PM

Led by David Leith
Meeting location: Sasamat and 4th Avenue by the #4 bus stop

A soundwalk is a way to listen to the environment and experience the world of sound in an often extraordinary and meditative way. This soundwalk will follow what was the path of an old stream that was buried over 100 years ago. The stream ran through what are now urban areas, past what is now Aberthau mansion, through Jericho Park, ending in Jerry’s Cove. Special guest performances by Yuuko Konishi and Victor Manuel Del Castillo.

Music-as-Environment ⇄ Environment-as-Music
Sunday, October 12, 2014; 2PM

Created by Elisa Ferrari, Igor Santizo and Hildegard Westerkamp
Meeting location: Playground in Emory Barnes Park (downtown at Davie, between Seymour and Richards)

Soundwalks – like silence – are ‘useless’ in a profit-driven world. They are a listening practice, which reveals the environment to our ears and opens inner space for noticing. Beyond exploring the use of music in downtown Vancouver, this soundwalk offers an opportunity for participant listeners to sense the moments when music is perceived as environmental sound and the soundscape is experienced as music.


DOXA and The Cinematheque present
A selection of films by Bill Morrison
Tuesday, October 14, 2014; 7PM
The Cinematheque (1131 Howe Street)
Tickets $12

Bill Morrison’s collaborations with composers and musicians as diverse and varied as Bill Frisell (The Great Flood), Jóhann Jóhannsson (Miner’s Hymns), and Simon Christensen (Tributes: Pulse — conceived as a tribute to Charles Ives, Conlon Nancarrow, Steve Reich, and Trent Reznor) have explored the marriage of sound and image in entirely new ways.Decasia, a collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, was described by the Village Voice as “the most widely acclaimed American avant-garde film of the fin-de-siècle.” Director Errol Morris puts it more succinctly, stating: “this may be the greatest movie ever made.” The first film from the 21st century to be selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, Decasia is raw and bubbling with scratches, damage, and acidulous drips, but possessive of a singular and melancholy beauty. DOXA is extremely proud to present Bill Morrison’s masterwork, in partnership with Vancouver New Music and The CinemathequeDecasia will be preceded by Morrison’s The Film of Her, a docu-dramatic retelling of the fight to preserve film history and the world it contains.

Screened as part of Motion Pictures, DOXA’s monthly film series.

Cinematheque   DOXA

Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Vancouver New Music present
Raven Chacon: Artist Talk
Thursday October 16, 2014; 11:30AM

Aboriginal Gathering Place, Emily Carr University (1399 Johnston Street)
This event is free and open to the public. Please note space is limited.

Join us for a talk by composer, experimental noise musician, and installation artist Raven Chacon. Chacon’s work explores sounds of acoustic handmade instruments overdriven through electric systems and the direct and indirect audio feedback responses from their interactions.  Recent and ongoing collaborations include projects with Bob Bellerue (Kilt), William Fowler Collins (Mesa Ritual), John Dieterich (Summer Assassins), Robert Henke, Thollem McDonas, and the ETHEL quartet (Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project). Chacon has presented his work in different contexts at Vancouver Art Gallery, ABC No Rio, REDCAT, Biennale of Sydney, Canyon DeChelly, Adelaide Festival, Ende Tymes Festival and The Kennedy Center.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Vancouver New Music Festival 2014
Sonic Topographies
Sound, music, and sustainability
October 16 – 19, 2014
Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour Street, 2nd Floor) and Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability at UBC (2260 West Mall, UBC, Point Grey Campus)

Composers and sound artists all over the world are turning their ears to the music of the earth and its people to reconsider what artistic creation means in a context that fosters sustainable ideas about creativity, culture, and tradition. The festival showcases composers, musicians and sound artists who are fostering new, sound-based explorations of ideas that emerge from natural, interlocking cycles and alternative systems of thought.

John Luther Adams • Raven Chacon • Leslie García • GF Haas • Annea Lockwood • Tristan Murail • Michael O’Neill • Akio Suzuki • Hildegard Westerkamp

Find the full schedule here.


Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and Vancouver New Music present
Panel discussion on Arts and Sustainability
Sunday, October 19, 2014; 2PM

Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability at UBC (2260 West Mall)

Join UBC’s Associate Provost, Sustainability John Robinson, the Suzuki Foundation’s Jay Ritchlin, and artists Leslie García, Annea Lockwood, David Maggs, and Hildegard Westerkamp for a discussion about intersections of art and sustainability. Moderated by Giorgio Magnanensi.

Leslie Garcia –  Artist
Leslie Garcia creates electronic art and digital media projects. Her work explores the fusion of art and technology through the use of virtual tools, electronic prototypes, sound production, net-art design and visual generative codes. She is a co-founder of the electronic media collective DreamAddictive (based in Tijuana from 2003-2010) and is a member of the Astrovandalistas collective (based in Mexico City). She has presented her work in solo and group exhibitions and at a variety of festivals, including Media Lab Pradio, Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Eyebeam, O1SJ, the Museum of Latin American Arts, Piksel Festival, Centro Cultural de España, Public Art Lab Berlin, NOMAD Center for Media Research, Museum of Contemporary Art in Szczecin, Transitio_MX, LabSurLab2, Transmediale, Hiperorganicos, and Mutek.MX.

She was the recipient of the FONCA fellowship for young multimedia artists in both 2009 and 2011 as well as a fellowship from the Centro Multimedia in 2010. She has collaborated with the NANO (Nucelo Laboratorial Nano de la Escola de Belas Artes – URFJ) in Rio de Janiero, and has run workshops at the Protolab Media Lab at the University of Tijuana, Maker Space (Santiago de Chile), UNAM Botanical Garden, Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro , MUAC University Museum of Contemporary Art (Mexico City), Media Lab Prado (Madrid), and Centro Multimedia (Mexico City), among others.

Annea Lockwood – Composer
Annea Lockwood is known for her explorations of natural acoustic sounds and environments, in works ranging from sound installations to concert work. Her music has been presented in many venues, including the Whitney Museum, MACBA Barcelona, the Sonic Acts Festival Amsterdam, Roulette, the Kitchen, NY.

Her most recent work is a collaboration with Bob Bielecki – a multi-channel site-specific sound installation, Wild Energy, commissioned for In the garden of sonic delights, an exhibition of new sound art at the Caramoor Center, Katonah, New York ( She is a recipient of the American Music Center’s Henry Cowell Award for composers exemplifying “Henry Cowell’s spirit of innovation and experimentation…” and a professor emerita of Vassar College.

David Maggs – Pianist; post-doctoral researcher at UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability

David Maggs grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and has spent much of his developmental years cultivating his talent as a classical pianist. His primary teachers include Gary Graham, Jane Coop, Rena Sharon, Andre Laplante and Marc Durand. As a pianist he has performed in many places across Canada, the U.S. and in Europe, appeared frequently on CBC Radio, and been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of the most exciting players of his generation. In 2002 David founded Gros Morne Summer Music, a classical chamber music festival that has now grown into a year-round interdisciplinary arts festival dedicated to cultivating the value of artistic activities in community life. Over the past twelve years it has hosted artists from a dozen different countries and developed exciting original work that blends the worlds of concert music, theatre, dance, and new media. David is now leading the renovation of an 1875 neogothic outport church into a high-tech arts facility in the heart of Gros Morne National Park.

David’s efforts to wed his artistic activities to environmental concern led to the creation of Earth to Human, an enrichment experience exploring the links between art and science, culture and nature, self and world. In 2007 David launched a major initiative to coordinate culture and sustainability in Western Newfoundland with the help of renowned environmentalist David Suzuki. David’s work has been featured on the cover of Canadian Geographic’s Traveler magazine, Atlantic Progress, CBC’s Sounds Like Canada, CBC Newsworld, the Toronto Star, and sustainability blogs from Sweden to the Philippines. Granville Magazine named David one of three ‘emerging stars’ of the environmental movement. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, working with John Robinson.

Jay Ritchlin, B.A. Biology – Director, Western Region, David Suzuki Foundation

Jay leads the Western Region team in its efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquatic management in Canada. He oversees our sustainable seafood project and provides additional support for the identification of sustainable aquaculture producers and the assessment of emerging seafood certification schemes. Jay is on the steering committee of the WWF Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues and the technical advisory board of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. He has a degree in biology from Kenyon College and has worked in environmental science, advocacy and education for 15 years. He brings expertise in grassroots education, legislative lobbying, governmental processes and negotiation with industry. His current work includes sustainable aquaculture, fisheries and marine resource use.

John Robinson – Associate Provost, Sustainability at The University of British Columbia (UBC)

John Robinson is the Associate Provost, Sustainability at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and is a professor with the UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability and Department of Geography.

Dr. Robinson is responsible for leading the integration of academic and operational sustainability on UBC’s Vancouver campus. In that capacity, he directs the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) and provides leadership for UBC’s academic, research and operational activities and programs in sustainability. He also represents UBC’s sustainability activities to the broader local and international community.

Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability; sustainable buildings and urban design; the use of visualization, modeling , and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures; creating partnerships for sustainability with the private, public, non-governmental and research sectors; and, generally, the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behaviour change, and community engagement processes.

Previously a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, he has been a Lead Author in the last three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007. Last year, Canadian Geographic magazine named Professor Robinson Canada’s Environmental Scientist of the Year and he was the recipient of the Metro Vancouver Architecture Canada Architecture Advocacy Award. |

Hildegard Westerkamp – Composer
Hildegard Westerkamp was born in Osnabrück, Germany in 1946 and emigrated to Canada in 1968. Her work’s focus—as composer, educator, editor or radio artist—is on listening, environmental sound and acoustic ecology. She was a member of the original World Soundscape Project, working with R. Murray Schafer; has taught courses in Acoustic Communication at Simon Fraser University with Barry Truax; has worked with writers Norbert Ruebsaat and Sharon Thesen, with photographer Florence Debeugny and is conducting soundscape workshops and giving concerts and lectures internationally. Some of her compositional work appears in US filmmaker Gus van Sants newest films Elephant and Last Days.

She is a founding and board member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE). Until recently she was co-editor of SoundscapeThe Journal of Acoustic Ecology, a publication of the WFAE (see: An extensive exploration into her compositional work can be found in Andra McCartney’s Sounding Places: Situated Conversations through the Soundscape Work of Hildegard Westerkamp York University, Toronto, 1999, and in the internet at:

Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability     David Suzuki Foundation

SFU Woodwards presents
Art Music’s Indigenous Inclusions and the Politics of Form
With Dylan Robinson

Monday, October 20, 2014; 7PM

Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings

Concerti for throat singers, operas on Indigenous subjects, and powwow symphonies. Despite an increasing number of collaborations between Indigenous artists and classical music ensembles, the political exigencies of First Nations communities across Canada are scarcely referenced in such work. As Cherokee scholar Craig Womack has noted, while “America loves Native American Culture[,] America is much less enthusiastic about Native American land claims”. This talk examines the space between classical and Indigenous musical forms, and the attendant politics of recognition in such collaborative processes that often celebrate Indigenous inclusion at the cost of political engagement.


SFU Woodward's

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in collaboration with the UBC School of Music present

Soundwalk with Tyler Kinnear
Wednesday, October 22, 2014; 2 – 3:30PM

Meet at Belkin Art Gallery (1825 Main Mall, UBC Point Grey Campus)

Join Tyler Kinnear for a guided soundwalk on the campus of the University of British Columbia. During this excursion we will give our ears priority, paying attention to the sounds around us as well as to our own listening.  In what ways do we interpret the sonic environment?  In what ways do we contribute to its composition?

This event will happen rain or shine.  Participants should wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

Workshop series – Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Meditations” with David Metzer and Hedy Law – POSTPONED!
Belkin Art Gallery (1825 Main Mall, UBC Point Grey Campus)
Free – registration required. For more information visit

UBC Professors of Musicology David Metzer and Hedy Law will be leading a workshop exploring the pioneering work of Pauline Oliveros. In her seminal 1974 Sonic Meditations Oliveros expanded the characteristics of the “new sensibility” by bringing her fascination with long continuous sounds (motors, fluorescent lights, freeway noise) to bear on her deep involvement with meditations. We will revisit this revolutionary exploration of expanded consciousness through practice and discussion.



Alternative Energies takes place in conjunction with Sonic Topographies, the Vancouver New Music 2014 Festival.