When the ordinary becomes extraordinary

Everyday Life. | Photo courtesy of Navid Navab

In the upcoming concert performance, Practices of Everyday Life/Cooking at the Western Front, a group of performers gather together to create a multisensory evening of enchanted play. Boundaries blur between matter, sound and what we perceive to be inanimate, as vegetables and cooking implements come alive. 

We work with the idea that the mundane becomes extraordinary when we orchestrate the world and everyday life,” says Navid Navab, chief producer and composer of the AV Culinary Concert Performance.

Practices of Everyday Life/Cooking runs Feb. 23–24, with a post-concert talk-back session Feb. 23.

Culinary creators

Vancouver-born, Montreal-based Tony Chong, chef/performer and Jérôme Delapierre, visual artist/interactive designer, round out the collaborators for the performance.

“[Chong] assists in creating a highly scripted, yet, improvised performance as a virtuosic dancer,” says Navab.

Delapierre says that he designs the visual imagery dramatizing Chong’s “gestures by working with scenography to amplify and enchant the performers activities.”

The performance has been a four-year project that they have worked on together.

“[Practices of Everyday Life/Cooking] ends this season’s series emphasizing a new wave of people working with electronics,” says DB Boyko, New Music Director and Curator at Western Front.

The final performances give the audience a “full monty” of sensory experience, whereby they will see, smell and hear what is presented, Boyko says.

This performance has been a long time coming and in the beginning, people were still attempting to comprehend the complexity behind the composition. Navab eludes to the idea that his performances/compositions are trying to find the playfulness in everyday processes. It is important that people realize this is larger than just an electronic soundscape production.

“[ It is a creation of] a network of processes and performances by which sound emerges as one aspect of it; it is sounds, visuals, smells and gestures,” says Navab.

Steam. | Photo courtesy of Navid Navab

The ingredients

Navab has described himself as a media alchemist, composer/improviser, audiovisual sculptor, gesture bender, and multidisciplinary artist. More recently he decided to chase after a PhD after graduating in 2010 from Concordia with his BFA in Electroacoustic Studies. His doctorate thesis discusses how our everyday fibres of life could become more playful through the use of improvisation and responsive architecture. He says the artistic work drives his research and the research inspires the artistic work. “However, I try to keep them separate, but in essence they are entangled,” says Navab.

About the process of how he finds himself collaborating with the other performers in these environments, Navad describes a specific situation he found himself in during his previous residency at Western Front in 2012. It was part of an all-night event called Circle of Sleep. As the musicians were playing their instruments, he extracted the 1000 pieces of information or parameters from the emitted sounds. Then these were relayed through a constructed algorithmic software.

“I modified how this data could be shaped into something that a piano could play,” says Navab.

But this description still doesn’t quite encompass the philosophical and phenomenological aspects of what the performance strives to relate to the audience. Practices of Everyday Life/Cooking becomes more than any one performance – it is a process of recognizing the enchantment in everyday events, Navab believes.

“Navid’s work is all about the interactivity and the performer,” says Boyko. His approach invites the audience to partake in a smorgasbord of possibilities.

For more information: www.front.bc.ca.

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