Thursday, September 14, 1:30-3:30pm, $10/PWYC
Doors at 1pm
FILM AND MUSIC DAY
Silence, 46 Essex Street, Guelph
Mauricio Martinez dir.; Just Play: A History of Improvised Music in Toronto (documentary)
Nicholas Loess and Joe Sorbara dir.; Start Making Noises Now (documentary)
Followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers
Just Play: A History of Improvised Music in Toronto, directed by Mauricio Martinez, weaves together interviews and archival photographs to detail the history of Toronto’s improvised music scene from its beginnings to the present day. Martinez approaches the topic as a literary critic, using textual cues to frame a narrative that occupies an ambiguous zone at the nexus of documentary history, poesis, and mythopoesis. The film’s use of textual framing devices blurs the distinction between fact and metaphor, lending the history an epic quality—lives and stories told are highly individual yet lend themselves to analysis of theme and archetype. In Just Play, Martinez consciously works with the tension between what is said and unsaid in interview, what is present and absent in history, in the service of an archival poetics that opens something akin to a free improvisation of historical interpretation.
Mauricio Martinez is a Hamilton-based scholar, filmmaker, and writing instructor with a PhD in Literary/Theatre Studies in English from the University of Guelph. Since 2010, Martinez has produced a number of video projects for ICASP/IISCI beginning with a creative documentary about the project, The Improvising Eye (2010), and Ikons (2011), a video companion to the art installation by Eric Metcalfe and George Lewis. Martinez’s audiovisual work attempts to expose formalist assumptions about the commercial, the avant-garde, and the student through the cultivation of an authenticity and propriety inspired by free improvisation. His camera is preoccupied with banal movement and transit across landscape and through public space, using visual distortion to make explicit otherwise unstated ways in which consciousness constructs audiovisual perception.
Start Making Noises Now, directed by Nicholas Loess and Joe Sorbara, is an experimental documentary film about free improvised music in Toronto. In 2012, with the help of the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project, Nicholas Loess and Joe Sorbara began gathering upwards of 60 hours of interview and performance footage featuring many of the city’s creative improvising musicians. They then got to work constructing a film that would speak to the beauty and complexity of improvised music-making and the diverse ecology of approaches at play in an active community of improvisers. Start Making Noises Now looks at and listens to many of the struggles that make and sustain free improvised music in Toronto. The film asserts both the musicality of human speech and conversation and the dialogical nature of an often cacophonous music. Its lens is as much aural as it is visual. It asks you to listen as much as it asks you to watch. It also asks you to consider, to question, to laugh, to enjoy. And it asks you to improvise.
Nicholas Loess is a Guelph-based video artist and improvisation scholar. He is a PhD candidate in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph where he is exploring the creative linkages between experimental film and improvisation. His “ultra-short” one-minute silent film, 24Progressive, won first prize at the Toronto Urban Film Festival in 2012.
Joe Sorbara is a drummer and percussionist living and making music in Toronto. He is equally at home playing jazz standards, free improvised music, punk rock, and chamber music–but he prefers to play them all at the same time. As an educator, Sorbara works with young musicians through the School of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph and through the Regent Park School of Music in Toronto. He is also a member of the Somewhere There Collective and co-founded the Leftover Daylight Series and the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto.