Nomadic Noise Residency Collaborators

EQUΔLΔTERΔL - Artist Collective


Toronto, Canada


Founded in 2011 by Jacqui Arntfield, Emily DiCarlo and W.J. Wilson, EQUΔLΔTERΔL has produced and participated in numerous performances, exhibitions and screenings both locally and internationally. The focus of their practice is the activation of a transdisciplinary approach to art, emphasizing experimentation, reevaluation, contextualization and above all, participation. Drawing influence from unique backgrounds in fine art, music and philosophy, the collective engages in an exploration of diverse subject matter through various fluid mediums.

Twitter: @equalateral



Framed Ideas in Space (Jacqui Arntfield)Nomadic Residency Adventure #4

Pertinent question, everyone (excluding anyone that already has or alternatively doesn’t need a method): what is the ideal formula for or approach to making art for a thematic exhibition? A question as broad as it is precarious, no doubt. And a viable antecedent to the rehashing of other worse inquiries including and limited to defining what art is. Also, a potential precursor to the sort of abject and ineffectual introspection that can detract from and obscure the very issue which initiated the analysis. So, with that in mind, let’s explore the possibilities!

And let’s do that by translating them into equations loosely inspired by propositional calculus. This is an easy way to be both reductive and convoluted – an integral part of any artistic practice and therefore a comfortable jumping off point.

But before we begin interrogating our methodology, let us first clearly establish our goal and some of the more clinical and accessible components intrinsic to achieving that goal. These components are: ideas, framework, and space. The goal is to manifest an idea in a space in a way that is true to the original immaterial concept, the characteristics of the location, and the curatorial vision of the exhibition. And to do so in the most efficient and effective way possible. Sounds simple. Let’s try:

A Legend

F: framework
I : idea(s)
S : space
: and
: or
→ : then
: therefore
: there exists

Some Possible Approaches

1. Sequential Generation

F ∧  S → I
∴ I in F ∧ S

With Sequential Generation, we see the simple and fluid conjunction of our outlined components. First we import the specifics of the framework and location of the exhibition, then we interpret them cooperatively to create a successive idea. This method is equal parts straightforward, ideal and unrealistic.

2. Adaptation

(F ∴ I) ∧ S → F ∧ S +/- elements of I
∴ adequately modified I in F ∧ S

This one looks pretty complicated on the outset but it’s probably more familiar than you realize. Adaptation is when you internalize a curatorial vision and allow it to guide your perception of yourself and your environment and subsequently produce an idea which reflects the directed reevaluation. Then you encounter the space in which you will eventually materialize that reevaluation and are forced to examine plausibility of your idea in this particular physical context. Or whether your idea for art making ever had any form outside of a notional exposition on the subject which you emphatically wrote to yourself in your head.
This method works best  probably only works if you are a member of a collective.

3. Annotation

∃I ∧ ∃S → ∃(I in S)
∴ clever artist statement

Here is a direct linguistic translation of this method in case you are too lazy to refer back to the legend: If there exists an idea and there exists a space then there exists an idea in space. It takes a special kind of narcissist to exact this neglectful form of art making so be careful that you fit that qualification before you try this one at wherever (JK! That was didactic. We’re all at least latently narcissistic/Do You). In the case of Annotation, your idea was already solidified pre-F∧S so the majority of the workload will be centered around the justification of the piece’s presence in the physical and conceptual environment. This method is best executed with the aid of a thesaurus.

There is none. Above are only three out of infinity possible, mutable options for art making and this anxious exercise was designed to be reflective, not prescriptive. Systems are for engineers. Our only wrong answer is a definite one.

Calls to Action (Emily DiCarlo)Nomadic Residency Adventure #4

The more I think about what has led me here, the clearer it becomes. The tiny recorded escalator voice, from our second residency outing, has left a lasting impression on me. I keep reflecting on the directive voice and it’s the urgency for listeners to take heed of it’s instructions. The expectation of the listener is to act in accordance with the ask.

Sometimes though, these call-to-actions are void of language entirely. Rather, certain sounds like a recess bell, a fire alarm or a customer service desk bell, act as signifiers for language. We are conditioned to respond in a variety of ways depending on the type and tone of the bell we hear. Categorically, the bell seems to be the most widely used sound for call-to-actions and this is what I wish to explore further.

Recently, the fire alarm went off at my place of work and we were forced like ants to descend down the stairwell from the 10th floor. Everyone knew what the fire alarm bell meant and what actions to take in response.

Nine Stories (Jacqui Arntfield)Nomadic Residency Adventure #2

The architecture of Lower Union Station nullifies sound. There is lots of it, but no one part is distinct. The ceiling is low and the walls are always near, just enough that no sound dies but no sound flourishes. Everything reverberates until the distinguishing properties are compacted and lost. Assuming any thing had any place there to begin with. I suspect it may ultimately be the function and not the design (assuming those elements are divisible) of Lower Union that dictates the sonic vacuity.

It is an inherently transitional space, existing only as a purgatory between where you were and where you will be. (Almost) no one comes here to be here and it is (arguably) this temporary purposelessness that forms the core of the ominous and omnipresently languid noise.

And if it is the case that the noise unique to this space is mostly the result of a psychological response to its utility, it should follow that by altering the cognition and therefore the behaviour of its occupants, one could, in fact and perceptibility, alter the noise generated within it.

With these conditions and this hypothesis in mind, I conceived of an intervention which aims to indirectly modify the noise produced within the space by directly modifying the thoughts initiated by those producing it.

This indirect, hypothetical intervention is simple: distribute multiple copies of one book to everyone waiting in Lower Union in order to reduce the symptoms and expressions of desultory placelessness and to create a sense of harmony and passive connectedness between alienated and anxious strangers. To give everyone a collective object and focus to absorb individually  could mean they move less, talk less, eat less, touch less (etc) and subsequently create less sound. The intention would be to induce an external quiet by first establishing it internally.

Suggested book for hypothetical distribution: J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories because short stories require less commitment and there are choices. And because it is captivating and I love it and this is my limitless make believe project.

Please Hold The Handrail/Please Pick Yourself (Emily DiCarlo)Nomadic Residency Adventure #2

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Please hold the handrail Please Hold The Handrail/Please Pick Yourself

I don’t exactly know where I am, but I have found a clock. Now, I know what time it is and this sliver of data grounds me. Recurring feelings of being lost in space but connected in time… I can walk in circles, holding designated proximity. Still, this compensating act only supplements for my lacking sense of direction.

I begin to understand my route as I walk from marker to marker – I internalize durations and my judgment of time.

During my adventure, I arrive at a set of escalators in the departures terminal.

Side by side, all ascending, from tiny speakers in the walls of the handrail, the sound of a recorded voice reminds passengers to hold the handrail, attend to all children, and to use the elevator for strollers, excess luggage and carts. This little voice, a friendly reminder, a high level publicized message… why must it serve as a function of utility. The message possesses the potential to be transformative, conceptual, uplifting – yet punctuated with a stern wake up call.

“It is 3:48PM”

“Please pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone else.”

“It is 3:39PM”

“You are an agent of freedom and choice.”

“It is 3:40PM”


Sensory Binary (Jacqui Arntfield)Nomadic Residency Adventure #1

I have no idea how I got here.
I mean, I sort of do, in that I know where I am and I know where I was before I was where I am and I also know that a map of the city has been gradually branded into my parietal lobe so subsequently I have no doubt that I could easily navigate my way back to the starting line. But whether I would be taking the same route backwards as I did forwards, I have no idea. For maybe the first time, I have left no figurative breadcrumbs. For maybe the first time, I just wasn’t paying any attention.
But I was. I was paying lots and lots of attention. Attention paying was all I was doing. Was all I could do because my potential for expression had been markedly compartmentalized and limited and with the deprivation of one component came the absolute paralysis of them all. To my relief. If I could not talk, I could not adequately communicate and therefore, somehow, could not be responsible for any generation of meaningful or informative output, linguistic or otherwise (Ed. note: that argument was unsound, so LOL?). To my relief, all I was responsible for was input.
The problem was the kind of input I was focused on. The problem was and still is the tangible division between the primary visual cortex and the primary auditory cortex and an inherent biases toward one of them.
So let me rephrase: I have no idea how I got here because I was only paying attention to my auditory input instead of the visuospatial. And that is at best both backward and awkward for me, and at worst both backward and awkward and also completely debilitating in the loss of perceived agency kind of sense. Because making the primary secondary and the secondary primary necessitates an impolsive and disorientingly paradoxical condition of both deprivation and overload. And because, in case it wasn’t obvious already, I am a visual learner. And this was a sound based walk.
And sound, Gender and Gender, appears to be way less critical than sight. As evidenced by my prejudiced choice in vocabulary.
When I was in school I never went to class. That was hyperbolic, I did go to class. But only when it was categorically required. I bring this up not because I have a nostalgic preoccupation with recounting a time before any thing was of any consequence (which, I do), but because I need to grasp onto something generally relatable to make a point. The point being, I did not attend class because the process of hearing information, collectively, only served to thoroughly confuse the product of seeing information, independently. Hearing could not consolidate or even complement what I knew through looking. Hearing was secondary. Looking was primary. Mutually exclusive, times forever, plus ad infinitum, minus any awareness of such.
But both hearing and looking are fundamentally secondary. Only, of course to listening and seeing, if you’re hermeneutically inclined.
I have no idea how I got here because I was listening instead of only hearing, and only looking instead of seeing. And auditory stimuli is more transient and convertible than the immediate and immutable utility of visual stimuli.
I only have a visual map because it is the only sensory input consistent enough, translatable enough to chart. I can’t hear my way back because the sounds won’t be the same.