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Heart Band


by David Garneau Métis & Garnet Willis

performed by
Zab Maboungou 
Heart Band is an interactive sound installation. It consists of ten painted hand drums mounted on an array that forms a figure eight/infinity symbol/Métis flag. The arrangement is about three meters long, one meter across at the two widest points, and about 50 cm at the narrowest. One end of the array is 30 cm from the floor. The other end is 150 cm high. Each drum has a sensor and an electromagnetic driver that causes the drum skin to resonate. When a participant comes in a certain range, a drum beats. As you get closer, the beat becomes louder and faster. The sound is experienced as a drum seeming to play itself but is actually a recorded heartbeat (David's). As you move around the installation, your body activates each drum adding it to the already playing drums to create a layered and never to be repeated sound composition. Ideally, participants become interested enough to ‘play’ Heart Band through creative movement.

Heart Band is a Métis artwork. Our flag is evoked in the arrangement, the drum’s feature paintings in a Métis beaded style, and their content reflects Métis culture. These drums are not traditional Indigenous instruments. The skins are plastic rather than hide. They are common contemporary instruments played by many peoples. So, while the installation displays Métis culture it suggests that beneath this is a bond among peoples at the level of bodies, heart, music, relations with each other and with special things.

Heart Band and Zab Maboungou performed together at Nyata Nyata Dance Studio, Montréal, August 2020

Video credits
Cinematography and Editing: Agustina Isidori
Cameras: Agustina Isidori and Vjosana Shkurti
Sound Designer: Garnet WIllis
Project Coordinator & Video producer: Florencia Marchetti

This research-creation project is funded by an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) awarded to “Sensory Entanglements: New Cross Cultural and Cross-Creation and Evaluation of Multi-Sensorial Experience” (2014-2021).

Website design - Agustina Isidori & Sarah Barone