Providing Space for Impromptu Artistic Collaborations

June 5, 2019

This summer, The Bentway is celebrating the spirit of community with a range of programs designed to bring people together. From our Communal Table series, which showcases a new cuisine each week, to free wellness & recreation classes like yoga and tai chi, to innovative artistic performances and presentations across the site, there’s a multitude of opportunities to collaborate, co-create and cohabitate at The Bentway this season. 

As we embark on this summer-long exploration of community, it’s fitting that two of our favourite artists have embarked on an organic collaboration of their own. Acclaimed Canadian choreographer, Noémie Lafrance, and Mitchell Akiyama, one half of our inaugural Artist Residency, have come together to amplify the live soundscape of Noémie’s upcoming site-specific performance Dérives.

Born out of a series of public workshops, Dérives engages a diverse group of 60 performers—some local residents, others professionally trained dancers—who will roam the full length of The Bentway site, responding to a series of choreographed instructions.

While developing Dérives on our site over the past year, Noémie became aware of the challenge of creating a soundscape for the performance that could stand up to The Bentway’s acoustic environment, where the ambient sounds of the city can’t be turned off.

Enter: Mitchell Akiyama, who along with fellow artist resident Brady Peters, is currently exploring the sounds of The Bentway—the  hum of the Gardiner above, the rush of passing trains to the north, the occasional cannon blasts from the Fort York grounds, and the general buzz from the surrounding city. Through our residency program, Mitchell & Brady hope to seek out ways that these forces can be re-purposed, much like the architecture that frames The Bentway. As much of the sound design in Dérives is live vocal scoring, designed in collaboration with Anaïs Maviel, Mitchell and Noémie are introducing creative solutions that will amplify the soundscape for outdoor audiences.

Come see (and hear!) the performance for yourself for free on June 7 & 8. And be sure to come back on June 9 to learn more about the sounds of the city with a sound-gathering workshop led by our artist residents Mitchell and Brady.

With love,
The Bentway

Image: SeeWhatIcy Media