May 8, 2013 - 2:58am

A quartet of faculty from VIU’s Art & Design and Media Studies Departments has been collaborating for more than a year on an innovative performance piece that involves electronic imaging, spoken word, ambient sound and improvised vocals and instrumentals.

The piece, entitled *Meridian*, immerses the audience in a visual and aural soundscape challenging them to give up their impulse to make sense of what they’re seeing and hearing and simply join the ride.

The foundation of the piece is the digitally generated images, bursting with colour and movement, created by Kevin Mazutinec, an instructor in the Art & Design program. These images are projected on to a screen that fills the back of the stage and inspires the electronic ambient soundscape performed live by Robin Davies, an instructor in the Media Studies department.

Layered onto that are improvised vocals and instrumentals courtesy of Marian van der Zon, also a Media Studies instructor. The final component is the spoken word poetry of Justin McGrail, an instructor in Art & Design, who provides a grounding element for the audience through the performance of five original spoken word poems.

“It’s a very fluid piece, so each performance is a little bit different,” says McGrail, “Marian and I improvise every time, working around and inspired by the images and sounds Kevin and Robin create.”

The group has found that the collaboration has fired up their artistic practice and they’re in the process of collaborating on a second show – a sequel of sorts, tentatively referred to as *Meridian 2*.

They recently performed *Meridian* at the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) Conference in Toronto and Mazutinec said it was an amazing experience.

“Bringing *Meridian* to Toronto really solidified that we when we work together, something magical happens. It reaffirmed that what we have, the actual artwork, the performance itself, is something very special.”

Their next performance is on May 11 at the Malaspina Theatre in partnership with Nanaimo’s [Crimson Coast Dance Society](http://www.crimsoncoastdance.org/).

For more information contact Kevin Mazutinec through the [*Meridian* website](http://wordpress.viu.ca/meridian).

Tags: In the Community

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email