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Documentation during an artist’s residency at the Studio d’Essai/Productions Recto-Verso,Québec, Qc, Canada, 2009



Visual and Sound Installation

2009- 2011


Sound spatialisation, video, large-scale prints, dynamic light system, mock-up, cloth, wood and smoke.

P.-A. Gauthier & T. St-Pierre


Action Art Actuel, artist-run center in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu

Concept and ideas at the origin of the project


If, during the last century, the development of transport largely participated to the city's space composition and function as we know it, the telecommunication techniques pursues the urban and social tissue transformation by accelerating the displacement process: by abolishing the idea of distance with the instant telecommunication. And so, by creating a new urbanity notion: one which is no more attached to the physical zone created by the city, but one which more associated to telecommunication tools and virtualization of exchanges.


Amid the virtualization techniques, new representation modes, we find the video games. Sometimes played alone, sometimes played in network, it becomes in the second case, a reduced form of communication between anonymous beings in visual and sound « mises en scènes » / staging evoking a second city's representation. More often, because of military games popularity, this fictitious representation imply a militarization of the urban space and of the gamers relations.


This project position is at the crossroad of history and thematic of these considerations which gathers military virtual game, the reality and the urban space representation and also the birth of stereotyped representation.


Télétoxie is an immersive installation that gathers: photomontages, generative video, dynamic light composition and spatialized sound. This installation is inspired by military video games soundscapes and which directly address the banalized “omnipresence” of death representation in these kinds of games.


Philippe-Aubert Gauthier : sound components


For the creation of the soundscape, sound effect synthesis techniques and algorithms used for Foley sound of video and interactive games were solicited and altered. The aim was to transform and combine these techniques to create a generative and spatialized sound composition. A composition that combined stereotyped sounds (fire, riffles, machines, robots, etc.) in an artificial sound constellation: loud and critic soundtrack of a popular mythology of video game and of the associated virtual representation.


The sound piece is generated in real time and was created such as a new sound symbolic or iconography, and as much in the choice of the primary sound materials, as in the generative composition method which reminds a progressive temporal construction of a sign system with hieratics evocations. The sound work oscillates between this symbolic dimension and a soundscape.


The soundscape is also spatialized in real time. P.-A. Gauthier worked on the sound spatialization with the intention of bringing the Foley sound of video games to a human scale, literally creating a complete militarized sound environment, as mysterious and poetic as disturbing, to accentuate the scale and the aberrations and inherent excess, such as a schizophrenic temple of video game.

Tanya St-Pierre : visual aspect


The anonymous notion present in some forms of virtual worlds, as in FPS (First Person Shooter) video games, implicates the disappearance of the first real person, ironically, to the profit of a first unique person: the principal character, unique, but shared by isolated players.


Presented at L'Écart art actuel, Rouyn-Noranda, Qc, 2011.

Right from the first proto-FPS, the camera becomes the players (character) eyes. Character often represented by a simple armed hand, bizarrely anonymous and simplified. An armed hand alone in a space and context which is constantly renewed from game to game but which, nonetheless, uniformize itself through apparition and proliferation of a mythological constellation of stereotypes.


This anonymous notion inspired the anonymous figure repeated and multiplied within the images of the installation, in the same way that the players of some video games share a unique avatar. The black drape which essentially constitutes the anonymous figure, is a direct reference to the grim reaper, occidental popular representation of death. Death evocation as for interest to open a reflection around extreme violence stereotyped representation banalized within the video game universe.


Physical description


In the exhibition space one can find a mock-up (replica of the installation). The photomontages used in the video are also presented as publicity panels mounted on wood structures. But here there is nothing to sell, except critical thinking.


The wood pieces displaced on the gallery floor along the walls and the sporadic smoke projected within the installation refers to the « faux-terrains » earlier created to augment panoramic fresco realistic effect, at an era where painting was the hi-tech media of the time to represent military and epic scenes. The later being also representations of combat, victory and death.

The project started thanks to a grant for research and creation in media art from the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec (CALQ) in 2009. First artist residency, for the sound aspect of the project at Diapason sound art gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA, 2009. Later the sound composition and spatialization was done at Oboro (an artists-run center in Montréal, Canada). Second artist residency at the Studio d'Essai / Les Productions Recto-Verso in Québec City supported by a grant from Sherbrooke's City.


Photo credits: T. St-Pierre

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