The work is inspired by individuals from the Firgrove Learning and Innovation Centre, Wheel It Studios, Black Creek Walks, Talks and Dances, to whom the project is dedicated
void * reflections :
The work In Silence. . . takes a selection of these anecdotal stories and abstracts them through actors on a screen limited to non-vocal expressions, and a reflecting pool that is activated by cymatic visualizations of their speech and a bone-conductance railing (that forces the visitor into a position reminiscent of pain or anguish). The entirety of these stories is accessible through a phone hotline. The stories center around three protagonists inspired by true life experiences of a group of community partners:
1. Andrea, a middle-aged youth worker who witnesses the struggles that her mother faced as a migrant from Guyana, entering Canada initially as an illegal immigrant before getting citizenship, setting up a family and leading her children in being an advocate for her community – to her current struggles with mobility issues and physical pain in a neighborhood where accessible supports are not always available.
2. Mrs O, a late-middle-aged woman who migrated to Canada from the Caribbean islands, became rose to become an important youth worker and leader with her own community center in the neighbourhood. During the Pandemic, her community center tragically burns down, and she is left in a moment of suspension and pain as she watches support networks around her get overtaxed and break down.
3. J, a middle-aged man who was a hip-hop dancer and pioneering member of an internationally acclaimed B-boy crew in the 80s, who was unable to dance anymore after a series of injuries. He had lost friends in gang violence in the neighbourhood where there were few opportunities for decent work. Driven to desperation during the Pandemic, he had tried many different jobs before learning to DJ and becoming a key partner in a mobile studio that enabled rival gang members to collaborate on music making together.
The patterns in the water and embedded sounds in the railings are made with the use of haptic speakers that work at specific frequency ranges between 10-40Hz and create vibrations in the structures rather than audible sound. The vocal performances of the stories are transformed into auditory notes in this range through a mix of onset detection, spectral filtering and pitch-shifting; and were aligned with the video by visually notating the emotional valences in the film.