Caroline Gagné spent the fall and winter of 2010–2011 at Avatar, working on a large-scale sound and visual commission from Avatar entitled Cargo.
She had spent October 1 to 9 on a gigantic seagoing warehouse—a merchant marine freighter—crossing the Atlantic. There, between her departure from Charleston and her arrival at Antwerp, she collected the sound and light to use for her work onsite.
Gagné’s aim was to communicate the experience of the freighter in motion. What interested her were the colour of time and textures of the vessel’s sounds, at sea or in port during transshipments. Entering the installation, audience members found themselves at the heart of a layered, stratified sound environment that brought home the freighter’s astonishing scale and essence. Other sonorities from the vessel’s hidden recesses could also be discerned at various locations in the installation—delicate creakings and groans. The installation included video footage shot onboard at night, seemingly abstract images of clustered lights moving like constellations in which the shapes of other vessels could perhaps be made out nearby or in the distance. (After Caroline Gagné.)
Caroline Gagné lives and works in Quebec City and Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. She has a bachelor’s in visual arts (1998) and graduated with distinction with an interdisciplinary master’s in art (2012) from Université Laval. Her work reveals a profound commitment to her practice, where network art, media art, installations, and sound art forge a multiform artistic path. She has taken part in the Biennale nationale de sculpture contemporaine (Trois-Rivières), the Manif d’art Biennial and Mois Multi (Quebec City), the Temps d’images festival (Montreal), FIMAV (Victoriaville), and Instants fertiles (Saint-Nazaire, France), as well as in the events the Périphéries Québec-Zagreb-Sarajevo (Zagreb, Croatia), Cités invisibles (Montreal), and C’est arrivé près de chez vous : L’art actuel à Québec (Quebec City). Her works have also been shown at Occurrence and the UQAM gallery (Montreal), the Stewart Hall Art Gallery (Pointe-Claire), Sporobole (Sherbrooke), Stryx Gallery (Birmingham, England), as well as Lieu and VU (Quebec City). She has participated in a number of residencies, including Est-Nord-Est (Saint-Jean-Port-Jolie, 2011), Daimon (Gatineau), La Chambre Blanche (Quebec City), and Rad’Art (San Romano, Italy). Gagné’s solo work is interspersed with collaborations with artists such as Christophe Havard (Rivages) and composer Patrice Coulombe, with whom she has worked on digital programming for media projects (…les sentiers battus, Les erres) and on works created as a duo (Ligne de flottaison, Écluse, Le jeu de l’oie). In 2011, she won a Prix d’excellence des arts et de la culture de la Ville de Québec for her sound installation CARGO. In 2020, the national collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal acquired her piece Le bruit des icebergs as part of its permanent collection. Gagné is an active member of the arts milieu, and between 2013 and 2019, was artistic director of artist-run centre Avatar.