Indexical’s year-long exhibition series Landscape & Life concludes with Alaska Variations, a multichannel audiovisual installation by Canadian artist Paul Walde. The 72-minute work includes videography of the Glen Alps in Anchorage Alaska, where the flora at high altitude is in flux due to climate change. These images of flora are translated into standard musical notation based on the distribution of the vegetation, with each species represented by a group of instruments. In Walde’s work, classical instrumentation is used as a cultural signifier in contrast to information found in nature. This juxtaposition of the “natural” world—as affected by human-created climate change—with an anthropocentric, constructed musical language complicates our assumptions about the separation between what is natural and what is built.
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The recorded performance of the score and related footage is assembled into three channels of video and four channels of audio, immersing the viewer in the landscape while drawing attention to the living beings under threat. Alaska Variations will be shown as a multichannel audiovisual installation at Indexical from April 1 through June 5, during open gallery hours unless otherwise noted.
Paul Walde is an award-winning artist, composer and curator who lives in Victoria, Canada on WSÁNEĆ territory. Originally trained as a painter, Walde’s music and sound compositions have been a prominent feature in his artwork for over 20 years. He is best known for his interdisciplinary performance works staged in the natural environment, often involving music and choreography. The documentation of these events is frequently used as the basis of Walde’s sound and video installations which have been the subject of exhibitions nationally and internationally.
Current and recent exhibitions of his work include: Weeks Feel Like Days, Months Feel Like Years at the Anchorage Museum, Alaska and One Mile Gallery, Kingston NY (2020); Tom Thomson Centennial Swim at Touchstones Museum in Nelson, BC (2020); Au Loin Une Île at Mains d’Œuvres in Paris, France (2018); Records and Wireframes at Dundee Contemporary Arts as part of the NEoN Festival of Digital Media in Dundee, Scotland (2017) and The View from Up Here at the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Tromsø, Norway (2017).
In 2012 he relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, where he is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Victoria, and in 2018, the recipient of the UVic REACH Award for Creativity and Artistic Expression. Walde is also a founding member of Audio Lodge, a Canadian sound art collective and EMU Experimental Music Unit a Victoria-based sound ensemble.
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