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NAISA's 20th anniversary edition of its SOUNDplay festival continues to serve artists and audiences alike with an experimental platform for encouraging new avenues of exploration between sound and new media.  Featured this year is programming on this year's theme Digital in Nature with an in-person exhibition by Julia White, as well as online screenings, performances and artist talks with Laurel MacDonald, Phil Strong, Véro Marengère, Tansy Xiao and Ben Donoghue.


"NAISA's programming theme of Digital in Nature is explored and expanded upon by the artists in this year's SOUNDplay Festival with works that examine relations between human and non-human worlds, perceived and invented reality, as well as human-made and organic phenomena. Like last year, all of the works presented this year include an online element in one form or another, allowing for audiences to attend from wherever they happen to be." — Darren Copeland, Artistic Director, New Adventures in Sound Art 


WATER Shadows Exhibition by Julia White opens SOUNDplay Festival Sept 26th


SOUNDplay opens with WATER Shadows, an in-person exhibition at the NAISA North Media Arts Centre in South River of sound sculptures by Julia White that celebrates water.  White refers to the audience experience of her exhibitions, "as a 'water temple' complex of steel sculptures wrapped in discarded bicycle inner tubes that one moves through, (while) a unique sound mix is made blending water-recordings." 


Visitors to the exhibition are invited to participate in WATER Shadows by recording a personal celebration of water that will be shared online as audio in the Web Water Portal:


SOUNDplay Festival 2021 includes online screenings, performances and artist talks 


Starting October 7 on NAISAtube ( explore a new collection of videos from past NAISA performances from different periods of NAISA's 20 year history.  A highlight among these is Laurel MacDonald's and Phil Strong's impassioned Videovoce performance from 2012, which is also featured on a November 6th online screening along with a new livestream performance by MacDonald called I Eat the Stars, inspired by poems by Rebecca Elson.  To attend the screening register in advance at The $10 admission fee is optional.


On November 20 a screening of new media artworks by Tansy Xiao from New York and Véro Marengère from Montréal explores relationships between humans and nature. Tansy Xiao's Bone and Air is inspired by juxtaposing sounds of bone conduction (within the human body) and air conduction (receiving sounds via the ears). The video also invites audience members to add vocal sounds conducted by specific images in the video. Roserade by Véro Marengère is a videomusic work that in Marengère's words, "is sometimes frenetic and sometimes contemplative, and it proposes a world that deforms without ever completely destroying or building itself." Like the Nov 6th screening, advance registration is required (, admission fee is optional.


From December 6 to 20th, SOUNDplay audiences will have exclusive access to a special online adaptation of the 16mm feature-length film from 2017 by Ben Donoghue called Pierre Radisson: Fjord and Gulf. The slow observational style of Donoghue's film places the viewer inside the daily activity and environment of a Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker, providing a window into the invisible labour underpinning the Canadian economy. As Donoghue describes it, "the film brings the deep winter landscapes of coastal Quebec into dialogue with intensive industrial activity of ore shipments from the mines of the Saguenay – Lac Saint-Jean. The film embraces context, giving duration and breath to the images and sounds of the journey."  On December 11th, join Ben Donoghue for an online artist talk to learn more about the film.


New Adventures in Sound Art is a non-profit sound art organization in South River Ontario that is funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage. 


What:    SOUNDplay Festival 

Where:  NAISA North Media Arts Centre or online at 

When:   September 26 to December 20, 2021 

Cost:     Pay-What-You-Can Donation for in-person exhibition

  $10 admission for online programming is optional 

WATER Shadows by Julia White
Water Shadows Image
Sunday, September 26, 2021 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

WATER Shadows
By Julia White
September 26 to December 13, 2021 Thursday to Monday, 10am – 4pm
NAISA North Media Arts Centre, 106 Ottawa Ave, South River
Pay by Donation

WATER Shadows is an installation of sound sculptures that celebrates water, featuring field recordings of watery soundscapes in the artist’s community. As one moves through the ‘water temple’ complex of steel sculptures wrapped in discarded bicycle inner tubes, the unique sound ecology of each water-recording site is experienced as one continuous flow. Boundaries are dissolved as the raw recordings of both natural and machine-made sounds blend together.

Using Arduino micro-controllers and speakers inside the works, the voice of water is amplified, allowing it to speak for itself. In this way, WATER Shadows opens a dialogue that encourages the benign and beautiful symbiotic relationship between nature and society.

WATER Shadows in essence, is a sanctuary of sorts, a sculptural landscape in which to tune to the wild currents within ourselves and our world. Deep listening is encouraged here, as Hermann Hesse writes, “They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”

An Invitation: Julia White invites you to participate in WATER Shadows. Share your own personal celebration of water- sound it out, sing it, tell a story, recount a dream, offer an idea, poem, name of a special watery place, anything to do with water! The zoom recorder on the mic stand is the gathering vessel, all ready to receive your sonic water offering. All contributions are welcome, no matter how big or how small. Each one will be collected as an essential part of the exhibit, digitally archived and made available online in the Web Water Portal:

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Water Shadows Image
WATER Shadows by Julia White

Monday, October 25, 2021 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
By Donation

WATER Shadows Installation at the NAISA North Media Arts Centre, 106 Ottawa Ave. South River

Councilors around watermain funding sign
Watermain Rehabilitation Public Meeting

Thursday, October 28, 2021 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

A public meeting to provide an update on the watermain rehabilitation project

SoundPlay Logo
I Eat the Stars by Laurel MacDonald & Phil Strong

Saturday, November 6, 2021 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General $10, Admission fee is optional

An online performance in celebration of NAISA's 20th Anniversary

SoundPlay Logo
SOUNDplay Screening by Vero Marengere and Tansy Ziao

Saturday, November 20, 2021 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General $10, Admission fee is optional

New media artworks exploring the relationships between humans and nature