Sound of Mind and Body

New Performance by Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan


The Avatar and Productions Recto-Verso teams are delighted to welcome artists Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan to a joint residency for the creation of a new version of Sound of Mind and Body, presented for the very first time at Mois Multi in February 2020.

This collaboration by Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan uses concepts of human-to-computer brainwave interfacing to manipulate and produce real-time music, sound and lighting, integrated with dance, body performance and slapstick. An EEG interface worn by dancer-choreographer Coleman sends data to several Max/MSP software patches in real-time. As Coleman shifts through various states of mental and physical concentration and movement, he is able to produce and control alpha-brainwaves while dancing. He uses these alpha waves in conjunction with Monahan’s software manipulations, to produce various responses in musical instruments such as piano and percussion, to control the fading of stage lights, and to control sound spatialization and audio processing, all in real-time. Monahan simultaneously controls several Max/MSP software patches on stage that harness Coleman’s brain signals to sculpt soundwaves, light, instrumental composition and kinetic actions into a progressively layered multi-media artwork. (Performance duration c. 1 hour)

Historical note:

This piece follows in the tradition of brainwave music composition pioneered by Alvin Lucier, David Rosenboom, Richard Teitelbaum, and others, beginning in the 1960s. In fact, the history of brainwaves and sound reproduction dates back to 1928, when the British scientist Edgar Adrian (1889–1977) was the first to successfully sonify human brainwaves (EEG) in laboratory experiments.

Residency from October 31 to November 14, 2023, in collaboration with Productions Recto-Verso.

end-of-residency event:

Bill Coleman

Bill Coleman is a choreographer and performer. His choreographic work has been presented at the Tramway in Glasgow, New York’s Dance Theatre Workshop, Place Des Arts, Montreal, Alexandrinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Coleman’s work has transcended traditional theatrical settings to include mountain tops, rainforests, prairies and urban construction sites. He has created a bold collection of large-scale, site-specific works, collaborating with diverse groups including WWII veterans, Aboriginal communities, fishing villages, ranching towns and urban neighbourhoods. In 2018 he was awarded the Walter Carsen Award for Artistic Achievement from the Canada Council. 

Gordon Monahan

Gordon Monahan‘s works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. Since 1978, he has performed and exhibited at the Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin), the Secession (Vienna), the Venice Bienale, The Kitchen (NY), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Merkin Hall (NY), and Massey Hall (Toronto). Monahan is the recipient of a 2013 Governor-General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. The renowned composer John Cage once said, “At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven’t heard before.” 

Press Quotes from Coleman-Monahan’s previous collaboration Dollhouse (2016):

“This unclassifiable and mesmerizing duet between a dancer and a sound artist created moving images of suffering and elation I won’t soon forget” – The Globe and Mail, Toronto

“The complexity of Monahan’s sonic landscape is astounding. In our high-tech world saturated by visual imagery, Monahan and Coleman succeed in blinding us with sound – no small feat.” – The Dance Current

“Coleman’s stage presence is mesmerizing, and the soundscape is intense, variable and generated before our eyes…” –

“It’s this element of risk that the Canadian dance-maker, and his onstage compadre, avant-garde composer Gordon Monahan, have painstakingly crafted into Dollhouse so as audiences are kept suspended between laughter and disaster.” – The Herald Scotland, Edinburgh

Booking contact: Gordon Monahan, [email protected]

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