Cluster Program 2019

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AETHER*ECLIPSE: BEAST NEST (OAKLAND, CA) + MIRROR FRAME (WINNIPEG, MB) Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019, 10:00pm The Output—Video Pool Media Arts Centre (Co-presenters), 218-100 Arthur St. BEAST NEST and MIRROR FRAME both perform solo experimental electronic works that take a decidedly spiritual approach to politics and sound. From conjuring noisy spirits to enacting ritual magic, BEAST NEST + MIRROR FRAME aim in different ways to transform the gendered and racialized experiences of trauma and systemic violence. Directly embracing the decolonization of musical languages BEAST NEST channels the echoes of depression and the horror of structural oppression into ethereal compositions that function equally as balm and alarm. MIRROR FRAME’S textured generative compositions alchemically pull at the fraughtness of technology and the body through sonic explorations of the possibilities of healing. * Event programmed by Cluster 2019 Guest Curator ANDREA ROBERTS **The Output is wheelchair-accessible from the King St. doors

MACHINE UNLEARNING Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019, 3:00pm Cinematheque, 304-100 Arthur St. A dreamy afternoon double bill: In DAVIS PLETT’S Etudes for Keyboard, Plett uses a simple QWERTY keyboard to spin an elaborate text and sonic fantasy that imagines a utopian office space where power structures are dismantled and everything isn’t “so sad and terrible” (Plett’s own words). Expect poetry, typing exercises, and glitchy beats. In ERIN GEE’S Machine Unlearning, Gee uses ASMR techniques (the kind that make some people feel tingly when they hear things like whispers, soda cans opening, and hair being brushed) to perform a gently unravelling rendition of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. The text comes as a result of collaboration with media artist Sofian Audrey and the use of a deep recurrent network agent. Each member of the audience will receive a pair of headphones to bring the sound directly to to them. Toronto composer and sound artist MAKSYM CHUPOV-RYABTSEV opens the show with a solo electronic set.

CANADIAN NEW MUSIC NETWORK (CNMN) CONVERSATION ON DIVERSITY Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019, 10:00am–4:00pm Creative Manitoba, 300-245 McDermot Ave. A day of activities, presentations and a discussion about equity and diversity in Canadian new music and beyond with featured guests Erin Gee, Melody McKiver, Jeff Morton, Remy Siu and Vicki Young. More info at

PUBLIC LECTURES Friday, Mar. 1, 2019, 5:00–6:00pm aceartinc., 290 McDermot Ave. Composers Erin Gee and William Kuo discuss their work in a free artist talk (part of First Fridays).

LIGHTNING TALKS Saturday, Mar. 3, 2019, 7:00pm aceartinc., 290 McDermot Ave. Guest artists from the 2019 Cluster Festival discuss what inspires them to create in a playful quickfire format.


FREE WORKSHOP DECOLONIZING SOUND: PRESENCE AND LIBERATION Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019, 5:00-7:00pm The Output—Video Pool Media Arts Centre (Co-presenters), 218-100 Arthur St. SHARMI BASU will facilitate a workshop that aims to create intersectional conversations around resistance, music, race, gender, and spirituality. This workshop will work together to discuss what it means to create space for our selves with sound and ways that our art practices intersect with greater political movements and our own personal struggles. Ultimately this workshop will seek to redefine liberation through creativity and presence. We will shed light on ways in which improvisation and playing music can help marginalized people reclaim and create new identities and languages despite the distortion of and violence upon our cultures, work, and genders that have historically oppressed us. Decolonizing sound can mean decolonizing our given languages into ones we create for ourselves. What are the ways sound can be used to challenge capitalism, the police state, heteronormativity, racism, and gendered violence? *The Output is wheelchair-accessible from the King St. doors

C L U S T E R X New Music and Integrated Arts Festival

February 28–March 3, 2019


CLUSTER X: Cluster celebrates its 10th festival with a dazzling array of experimental sound and art. Cluster X explores the idea of the challenge: near-impossible technical feats, daring new ideas, and epic cries of resistance. Highlights include three keyboard performers enduring skill-testing trials in a feat of “algorithmic theater” (FOXCONN FREQUENCY NO. 3), a celebration of the radical work of Manitoba media artist SUSAN BRITTON (UP DOWN STRANGE), a performance by BEAST NEST (AETHER*ECLIPSE) that utilizes “unwavering depression & restrained horror to channel left-eyed spirits”, and a new show by Winnipeg’s Davis Plett that explores trans identity, typing, and desire. Over the past 10 festivals, Cluster has produced over 40 EVENTS, presented over 200 ARTISTS from around the world, and invited THOUSANDS OF AUDIENCE-MEMBERS to embrace experimental thinking through the experience of boundary-pushing sound and art. What started as a single artistic seed has evolved into a complex ecology of relationships that is firmly rooted in Winnipeg’s artistic community. Join us as we celebrate the past 10 festivals and kick off the next 10! — Cluster co-directors Eliot Britton, Luke Nickel, and Heidi Ouellette

FOXCONN FREQUENCY (NO. 3) — FOR THREE VISIBLY CHINESE PERFORMERS Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 Doors/Show: 7:30/8:00pm Rachel Browne Theatre, 211 Bannatyne Ave. FOXCONN FREQUENCY (NO. 3) — FOR THREE VISIBLY CHINESE PERFORMERS is a work of “algorithmic theatre”. This is an energetic performance that is never the same twice, utilizing real-time game mechanics to challenge three keyboard performers in a series of testings and mini-games sourced from piano training. Hands become a blur, lights flash, and projections intertwine with music to create an edgy multimedia spectacular. The show even features a 3D printer! PROJECT LEAD Remy Siu CREATORS Hong Kong Exile (Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Milton Lim, Remy Siu), with Vicky Chow, Paul Paroczai, Matt Poon PERFORMERS Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Vicky Chow, Matt Poon TEXT Xu Lizhi (

) (1990–2014)

UP DOWN STRANGE Friday, Mar. 1, 2019 Doors/Show: 7:30/8:00pm aceartinc., 290 McDermot Ave. An evening celebrating the work of one of Canada’s most important media artists: Winnipeg’s own SUSAN BRITTON. Britton’s films, created between 1976 and 1984, feature provocative takes on an emerging information age and the beginning of the MTV generation.

Cluster will feature the first new installation work by Britton in over 30 years, created in collaboration with her nephew (and Cluster-co-director) ELIOT BRITTON! This evening will also feature the EXPERIMENTAL IMPROV ENSEMBLE playing live film soundtracks to highlights of Britton’s work. In the Flux Gallery, Winnipeg’s GRACE HRABI presents a new installation that asks us to reconsider the apparent relationship between relaxation and nature (with collaborators CALLEN FROESE and JOLENE KAMINSKI). ERIN GEE uses bio-sensors to create intimate music for just two audience members at a time. Finally, KRISTEN WACHNIAK presents a new dance performance that re-interprets the concepts of gesture and looping to explore identity in a dreamscape of sound—composed and performed by the artist herself. 10:00pm: after-show by CASATI



Co-presented by GroundSwell

Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019 Doors/Show: 7:00/7:30pm aceartinc., 290 McDermot Ave. In true Cluster style, this is chamber music as you’ve never heard it before.


TICKETS PWYC / $10 Student / $20 Adult $30 Student Pass $65 Adult Pass ONLINE CALL 204-223-9939 VISIT McNally Robinson Booksellers




New York’s TAK “impresses with the organicity of their sound, their dynamism and virtuosity — and, well, just a dash of IDGAF as they slay the thorniest material like it’s nothing” (Q2 Music). In this super charged concert you’ll hear works by ERIN E. GEE, KATE SOPER, ASHKAN BEHZADI, DAVID BIRD, and WILLIAM KUO. You’ll also hear premieres by Cluster co-directors LUKE NICKEL and ELIOT BRITTON. Instruments will combine with the elastic voice of CHARLOTTE MUNDY—as well as electronics, projections, and even roller coasters!—in a free-spirited and joyous exploration of contemporary chamber music.

With special thanks to Ether-level sponsor Kevin McPhillips

TAK is: LAURA COCKS (flute), CARLOS CORDEIRO (clarinet), CHARLOTTE MUNDY (voice), MARINA KIFFERSTEIN (violin), and ELLERY TRAFFORD (percussion).

Cluster would like to thank all the friends, family, volunteers, artists, and audience-members that made our first 10 editions possible. Special thanks to Lois Nickel, Cathie Ugrin, Pat Britton, and Pat McPhillips.

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