The opening night of the sound-art exhibition Les Transformables (V) featured two live performances. Adorned with a sound-generating mask, Diana Burgoyne was a constant, awesome presence as she marched mechanically throughout the space. Alexandre St-Onge, meanwhile, was in constant motion back and forth into the storeroom of the art centre, creating an exciting barrage of sounds by putting a microphone into contact with a range of objects, including his teeth.
Events at exhibition openings can overshadow the works themselves, so I paid a visit to Latitude 53 later, on a Friday evening, when I could be alone in the gallery. This concentrated, undisturbed time in the company of the seven works proved revealing and an excellent late-week restorative.
The air system and open plan of Latitude 53 mean that some sounds permeate the space and others require close listening to be heard at all. I’m okay with such conditions, and the three large, resonant galleries give space to the pieces, and give visitors scope to enjoy the works from different visual and aural perspectives.
Connections between some of the works are apparent. Diane Burgoyne’s Stuck On The Wall and Latency by Marc-Alexandre Reinhardt both require intervention to make sound. In Burgoyne’s case, irresistible buttons activate electronic sounds when depressed. Reinhardt’s piece—a stunning set of graphic scores—requires interpretation, and I did my best to give a solo performance.
Prerecorded audio and video loops unite Chairs Falling by Steve Bates and Variations for Obstructed Camera by Nikki Forrest. Both works question, to great effect, our understanding of the relationship between the visual and the sonic. Sharing a room as they do, the complete abstraction of shape, colour, and electronic sound in Forrest’s piece are an inspired counterpoint to the concrete “fake foley” of recorded drums for Bates’ video of tumbling chairs.
The remaining three works all feature multiple components and ever-varying kinetic-sonic results. As such, they deliver a super payoff for visitors with a more exploratory disposition.
Alexandre St-Onge’s BTEBETB220525202 uses a trail of live performance debris to help you discover a small speaker in the storeroom. Abstract sounds excite paper taped to the speaker in an oddly compelling, slightly disturbing duo. Meanwhile, Anne-F Jacques’ Levitation Exercises is like a wooden city in which structures of varying heights use motors to drag, lift, and drop materials, creating a constantly varying array of sound combinations.
Ellen Moffat’s A Stand Where It Did Shake compels one to explore in and around the various elements of which it is built. Tiny speakers set surfaces in motion and cause the vibration of small objects positioned on or around the speakers. Fascinating sounds result, magnificent in their minute presence.
I couldn’t resist these three works and became really absorbed in being in them while listening and watching for new combinations.
Overall, Les Transformables is an engrossing and deeply rewarding show. If you are able to visit, try to find a quiet time and enjoy the freedom that the Latitude 53 galleries allow for getting close to the works. If you can’t attend this exhibit, which ends May 26, seek out the artists’ works elsewhere! 
Curated by: Eric Mattson. Artists: Steve Bates (Montreal), Diana Burgoyne (Vancouver), Nikki Forrest (Montreal), Anne-F Jacques (Montreal), Ellen Moffat (Saskatoon), Marc-Alexandre Reinhardt (Montreal), and Alexandre St-Onge (Montreal).

Photo: Diana Burgoyne's Stuck On The Wall (2016); performance by the artist during the opening weekend of Les Transformables.
Photo by: Adam Waldron-Blain for Latitude 53, Edmonton.