Echoes of a Distance Conference Poster McGill Colloquium 2021

Echoes of a Distance: Music, Protest and Community in Confined Times

November 19-20, 2021

You can watch the livestream of this event at the Facebook Live Event page!

How can sound and music participate in protest without access to the streets and spaces of collective music creation? How does a collective sound when there is no actual gathering possible? Alternatively, when social movements take to the streets or occupy a territory despite public health regulations – as has happened on many occasions around the globe since the beginning of the pandemic (Black Lives Matter, Wet’suwet’en resistance, Belarus, Poland, Chile, Myanmar, The Netherlands, to mention only few) – what has changed on a sonic level? How can sound and music testify to the ways our current isolation has affected our capacity to collectively organize? And in this context, what can sound-based practices grounded in improvisation bring to the ongoing social and political struggles?

In order to understand the political impact of the potentialities opened up by music creation in times of curfews and restrictions on the assembly of physical bodies, the International Institute of Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at McGill University invites researchers and creators to contribute to two days of study November 19-20, 2021.

There is a growing interest in the relations between music, sound and social resistance in varied artistic, academic and activist milieus (Fischlin & Heble 2020, Gendron-Blais 2020, Labelle 2018, Rector & Ernest 2017, Born, Lewis & Straw 2017, DeLaurenti 2016). But the eruption of the pandemic has shaken many of the assumptions underlying these relations. This international event aims to address how our new global situation is affecting how sound and social resistance relate.

We conceive of music, protest and community very widely, and accordingly think of this event as a meeting point for artists, activists and academics to reflect and share perspectives on these issues. Following the interdisciplinary mission of IICSI, the event welcomes conventional text-based communications, research-creation projects, performances and artworks of various forms, and various hybrid propositions between these poles.


Friday November 19

10am: Welcome

10.30am: Eric Lewis & Hubert Gendron-Blais “Introductory Remarks”.

11am: Panel 1: Street Protests: The Chilean Experience

*Gabriel Vigliensoni
“Sharing a pulse: Long-distance participation in the Chilean uprising through a live gestural interface”.

*Gustavo Guzmán
“Chile O-18: On the migrations of noise, protest and discourse between the streets and digital media”.

12pm: Lunch Break

1.30pm: Workshop
Taiwo Afolabi, Richelle Dubois & Michelle Stewart
“From the Shallows and the Silence – Justice for Haven”.

2.30pm: Coffee Break

3pm: Keynote Presentation
Dont Rhine
“Discrepant Echoes: At the Crossroads of Electroacoustic Art and Militant Inquiry”.

4pm: Dinner Break

7.30pm: Performance Event

Geoff Mitchell & Kevin McNeilly, “Variants of Concern”.
Dont Rhine, “Discrepant Engagement: An Ultra-red Listening Session”. Marilou Craft & Elyze Venne Deshaies, “Veiller le souffle”.
Joseph Bohigian, “Lullaby for Stepanakert”.
Joseph Sannicandro, “Music for Insurrection”.


Saturday November 20

10.30 am: Welcome

11am: Panel 2: Forms of Resistance
*Winnie W. C. Lai
“Sonic Global Upheaval: The Atmospheric Sound Acts Against Authoritarianism”.

*Sara G. Ross
“Twitch, Femme House Fridays, and Community Building at a (Social) Distance”.

*Xenia Benivolski
“You Can’t Trust Music”.

12.30 pm: Lunch Break

2 pm: Panel 3: Art and Community

*Rikki Morrow-Spitzer & Katherine Rohwer
“Building Community through Music in Confinement: The Out of the Blue
Prison Outreach Choir”.

*Lauren Levesque
“Listening for Peace: Exploring Sound, Space, and the Everyday in Contemporary Peacebuilding”

3 pm: Closing Remarks and Discussion

4 pm: Closing Cocktail


This free event will take place in-person at Le Nombre 110 In Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal and will be livestreamed through the IICSI Facebook Live Event page.

Physical spaces are limited—RSVP by email to [email protected]. This event will be held in accordance with all mandate restrictions and sanitary guidelines that may be in place at the time, including the required Quebec vaccination passport.