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Babel On

Katherine Liberovskaya
February 25, 2005

Katherine Liberovskaya with Phill Niblock


Performance/Installation, Reception

Friday, February 25, 2005 | 8:00 pm

Live presentation also, Friday February 25

Katherine Liberovskaya, live video mixing

with music by o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi, NY)

from CD: “Two Novels: Gaze / In the Cochlea”

crnica 012, cronica label (Portugal)

Artist Talk and Demonstration with Katherine Liberovskaya

Saturday, February 26, 2005 3:00 pm



The first collaboration between New York intermedia artist/composer Phill Niblock and Montreal video/multimedia artist Katherine Liberovskaya, BABEL-ON is a sound-based audio-video work-in-progress exploring the melodic and rhythmical dimensions of human spoken languages as musical instruments of communication and concentrates on the sound of verbal expression rather than on its meaning.

The four simultaneous projections display different successions of video clips of a wide variety of very tight shots of the faces of women and men of different nationalities and/or origins speaking in their mother-tongues about the musical-rhythmical properties and idiosyncrasies of their respective languages as well as strive to remember tongue twisters or rhymes. In counterpoint to these video projections with their sync sound, concurrently plays a sound composition, derived from voices and languages, by Phill Niblock. Constructed from the actual utterances in the video footage, this thick, numerous track, composition forms an acoustic environment that interacts with the multilingual speech, at times accompanying it, at others overriding and replacing it, at still other times growing silent, thus creating a sonic conversation of sorts.

BABEL-ON is meant to create a very physical, living audio-video flow of variations of associations and dissociations, of different tensions, between image and sound, speech and music, words and significations, intention and chance, a constant flux of unstable, slipping, shifting meanings and perceptions. It is an experiential piece that evokes the non-verbal possibilities of vocal communication, suggesting various relationships between diverse geo-political regions, cultural traditions and civilizations.

Presented by Soil Digital Media Suite

as part of the Cache/Cachet series


Katherine Liberovskaya

Katherine Liberovskaya is a Montreal-born multidisciplinary artist who has been working predominantly in experimental video and digital media since the late eighties. Over the years, she has produced many single-channel videos and installation works, some of which have earned awards and mentions in Europe and North America. Her works have been presented at a wide variety of artistic events and venues around the world and she has held numerous grants and arts awards in Canada and in France where she studied media arts. Her articles have been published in ESSE-Arts + Opinions, la Revue lectronique du CIAC, the Banff Center’s HorizonZero and the Canadian Journal of Communication. Moreover, in addition to her art practice she has concurrently been involved in the programming and organization of diverse media art events, notably in recent years with Studio XX (of which she was programming coordinator from 1996-98 and president from 2001 to 2003) and Espace Vidographe. From 2002 to 2004 she was on the board of directors of the Independent Film and Video Alliance which during that time became the Independent Media Art Alliance. Her most recent artistic projects include: “Babel-On” (2003), a 5-channel video-audio installation/performance work-in-progress, produced with the collaboration of Phill Niblock, the preliminary version of which showed at Diapason in NY before touring a series of other venues in Canada, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Finland, Switzerland, etc., “Topolo: de Passato a Avvenire” (2004), a site-specific multi-channel video-audio installation created during the “Stazione di Topolo – Postaja Topolove” festival in the village of Topolo, in Italy on the Slovenian border ( in July 2004, as well as explorations in the field of interactive video and live video mixing using MAX/MSP and Jitter.


Phill Niblock

Phill Niblock is an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. He makes thick, loud drones of music, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres which generate many other tones in the performance space. Simultaneously, he presents films / videos which look at the movement of people working, or computer driven black and white abstract images floating through time. He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the mid-60’s he has been making music and intermedia performances which have been shown at numerous venues around the world. Since 1985, he has been the director of the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York () where he has been an artist/member since 1968. He is the producer of Music and Intermedia presentations at EI since 1973 (about 1000 performances) and the curator of EI’s XI Records label. In 1993 was formed an Experimental Intermedia organization in Gent, Belgium – EI v.z.w. Gent – to support the artist-in-residence house and installations there. Phill Niblock’s music is available on the XI, Moikai, Mode and Touch labels. A DVD of films and music is available on the Extreme label.


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