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Semblances
Semblances Alexandre St-Onge (2016)

A three hours and twenty one minutes and seven seconds sound work and a book. An original textual and sound work.

An audio artist, sonic performer, musician and improviser, Alexandre St-Onge attempts to grasp the ungraspable by drawing the outlines of reality through a process of automatic writing in which sounds create words and words produce sounds, exploring the ambiguous area between music and noise.

The artist has created an unprecedented 3h 7m 21s sound work, Semblances, which results from acoustic manipulations of objects and texts, improvisations and a performative process over the course of 8 months. It all took place between January and August 2015, with Quebec City artist-run center Avatar, one of the few organisations dedicated to audio and electronic arts in North America. 

All these actions, manipulations, improvisations and performances produced an apparatus that performs sound and phonetic processing and “translation”, altering the course of the work and its content as it unravels in time. Semblances is a work of metamorphosis. “Translating is about reincarnating and re-embodying the lost source, but mostly it is about showing its multiple potential and forthcoming faces” (Alexandre St-Onge). 

Semblances is also an 80-page bilingual illustrated publication. The text work with the eponymous title documents and questions both the creative process and Alexandre St-Onge’s singular, prolific practice in audio and electronic art. In a dialogue with the sound work, three texts by Nicole Gingras – who joined the creative process – and Christof Migone as well as an interview between Brandon LaBelle and Alexandre St-Onge punctuate the publication under the direction of Caroline Gagné. The texts have been translated from English and French by Daniel Canty with the contribution of Jeffrey Moore. The book is available for free download on Avatar’s website (avatarquebec.org/semblances). Its printed format is on sale at $45 at Avatar and at Formats Bookstore in Montreal.

Semblances is a form of dialogue created by the artist between different artistic processes through a sound work and a book which are both autonomous and inseparable. 

Alexandre St-Onge

"Alexandre St-Onge emerged fully formed on his first solo record, Image/Négation (1999), with the kind of new that already exists through its thorough knowledge of ancestors, antecedents and contemporaries alike. Matured by his omnivorous appetite—nothing petite about it: he perennially and wantonly consumes notes, words, images, sounds, thoughts, scenes, experiences—he embodies and epitomizes the pleasures of research over a lifetime, without goal or obligation. " Christof Migone, excerpt of his text With: Alexandre St-Onge’s Cosmo-Touch

An audio artist, musician/improviser (bass, voice, electronics) and sonic performer, Alexandre St-Onge is also a doctor (PhD) in artistic studies and practices (UQÀM, 2015). Fascinated by creativity as a pragmatic approach to the ungraspable, he has released ten solo albums including viorupeeeeihean (Oral), Entités (Oral) and Kasi Naigo (squintfuckerpress). He also plays in many bands with which he has recorded several albums: Klaxon Gueule, Shalabi Effect, Les esprits frappeurs, Pink Saliva, mineminemine, et sans, undo and K.A.N.T.N.A.G.A.N.O. As a composer, he has worked with the media arts and interdisciplinary group kondition pluriel as well as with artists Marie Brassard, Karine Denault, Lynda Gaudreau, Line Nault, Jérémie Niel, Maryse Poulin and Mariko Tanabe.

Publication price45$

Photo : Marion Gotti

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