Jean-Pierre Gauthier - Asservissements & Générateur stochastique

Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Générateur stochastique, 2020
Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Générateur stochastique, 2020

Date and Location

May 29, 2021 — Jun 19, 2021,
Montréal, Canada


The Générateur stochastique and Asservissements installations share an approach that shifts between the desire to control a system and the desire to relinquish control. While a sound event would normally unfold in linear time, interactivity short-circuits the way the sound is received, and despite their degree of autonomy, the works serve the will of their viewers. The elements of randomness in Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s sound installations spark interactions, echoes, variations, and arrangements—dynamics similar to improvisation, itself an important part of the artist’smusical practice per se. Indeed, the freedom to be inspired by and respond to the immediate is a precious kind of servitude.

Originally scheduled to take place in April and May 2020, Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s exhibition Asservissements & Générateur stochastique had to be postponed due to the physical distanciation measures related to COVID-19. In order to whet your curiosity until its presentation, the artist and OBORO offer you a video preview of his installation Générateur stochastique, which Gauthier redesigned so that visitors can activate it without any hand contact.

In mathematics as in music, a stochastic process involves at least one random variable. Générateur stochastique is akin to a music box in the form of an interactive game-of-chance console; its randomness lies in the composition being partially in the hands of the public. Turning the machine’s handles produces analog sounds that are transmitted to, then modulated by digital audio programming inspired by generative music. Three distinct tracks start to drift, overlap, and intertwine in an acousmonium of ABS tubes. In the small gallery, high frequencies dangle from the ceiling, while the low frequencies are built up from the floor in a spatialized intimacy. By activating handles, kinetic sensors, and coloured buttons, the viewer takes an active part in the random nature of the arrangement, subverts the system, produces accidents, and becomes a performer. As sound waves become increasingly abstracted from their source, the gallery fills with the murmurings of otherworldly sparrows and whistles of mysterious blackbirds.

— Charlotte Lalou Rousseau, excerpt from the Asservissements & Générateur stochastique exhibition essay

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