Instant Places is a series of audio/video environments created on site using software tools built with MAX/MSP/Jitter. Audio samples and digital images are gathered in the vicinity of the exhibition venue. Using this material, an environment for surround sound and projected video is created during daily sessions. This work takes place in the exhibition venue and is open to the public, providing opportunities for visits by school groups and individuals. Each project ends with a performance event in the created environment. The form of the final performance is influenced by the material gathered, the exhibition space, generative processes built into the audio and video programs, and gestural responses from the two performers. Instant Places are unique to the place and time of creation—visual/sonic portraits which remain specific to surrounding conditions, while allowing indeterminate and personal forces a role in the outcome.
Instant Places projects have been realized across Canada; in Victoria, Guelph, Toronto, Chicoutimi, and Halifax — and most recently in Kellerberrin Australia. Three projects were important in the development of the Instant Places concept: SPLICE (Kassel Documentary Film Festival), FUNCTION ROOM (Open ears Festival, Kitchener), and AIRPORT (LEM Festival, Barcelona).
Laura Kavanaugh and Ian Birse have been collaborating since 1997 on projects involving improvised and composed audio/video environments. Their performance and installation work integrates live and automated processing of acoustic and electronic sounds with the creation of video sequences in real time.
In 1998 a tour was organized that took them to eastern Canada and New York, and in 2000 they travelled to England for performances and collaborative work. The fall of 2001 was spent presenting performances in Canada and eastern Europe. In late 2002 they performed at festivals in Montreal, Spain, and Hungary, and were a part of a team of 18 international artists exploring the theme ‘open source, open art’ at the _backup festival in Weimar, Germany. Highlights of the tour were an audio/video performance at the LEM festival in Barcelona, and a netart project entitled SPLICE created for the Interfiction colloquim at the Kassel Documentary Festival of Film and New Media.
In 2002 Laura and Ian began Instant Places, a series of residencies in which local materials are transformed via systems constructed in MAX/MSP/Jitter. Since then Instant Places projects have been realized across Canada, and most recently in Australia.