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2008: nikamon ohci askiy : songs because of the land


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Closeup of Cheryl L'Hirondelle singing 'Giveaway' on the sidewalk, her reflection framed by the city skyline in the window of a store behind her

Cheryl L'Hirondelle: Giveaway - Love One More Chance
A music video featuring L'Hirondelle walking through the streets of Vancouver, with emphasis on the Downtown Eastside, many extreme closeup shots of people on the street, and homeless people's temporary dwellings.

Video for hi speed connections - 35MB

Video for slow connections - 1.8MB

nikamon ohci askiy : songs because of the land took as a starting point the Australian Aboriginal idea of songlines, in which Aboriginal people believe the landscape has been ‘sung’ into existence and the songs allow them to traverse the territory. As well Cheryl L'Hirondelle had just moved to Vancouver and wanted to do a piece that responded to this place. The work developed over several years, allowing for a long development period.

The project had L’Hirondelle walking the city and recording audio responding to the landscape and then uploading them live to a website that documented her activities, The audio included songs by her, by others and sounds of the urban environment. Engagement included the people she met on her travels and viewers who participated through the website creating their own maps. The project started from a series of walks Alteen and L’Hirondelle took through the city and eventually a format was developed. L’Hirondelle decided she would walk the city and create sounds to respond to the landscape. She also wrote a song series that spoke to the issues of the project, the landscape and the people living on the land. Cheryl chose December as the month in which she would do the project.

The final project consisted of a performance of Cheryl's month-long Vancouver wandering that coincided with the worst winter weather that the city had seen in several decades. And, while the homeless were a focus from the beginning, that December they were almost the only people on the streets. The website was the main focus of the project with the uploaded sound bytes that users could manipulate into their own compositions or add new sound bytes to. There was a concert during the 2009 Olympiad Festival at the Celebration Hall at Mountainview Cemetery of the song cycle she created. Later a CD/DVD was released with videos, curatorial information and audio documenting the project.


Glenn Alteen


Cheryl L'Hirondelle
Interactive Producer: Sandra Dametto
Programmer: Danyul Carmichael
Designer: Myron Campbell - on behalf of Switch Interactive
Video: Elisha Burrows

Related Links

Vancouver Songlines