Darren Copeland

Sound Artist

Fishing for Sounds

“Fishing for sounds” is a transmission art installation created for the White Water Gallery in North Bay, Ontario, Canada during the Ice Follies winter festival in February 2016. The installation connected the familiar Northern Ontario activity of fishing to the much less known practice of sound art.

Eric Robillard created a video portrait of the installation that also introduced the practice of sound art and transmission art. The video includes an interview with Darren Copeland.

The audio content of the installation Fishing for Sounds was created in part from a community sound and radio workshop.  During which community members walked out on the frozen Lake Nipissing and went “fishing for sounds.” Afterwards they learned how to build micro-FM radio transmitters from Robert Cruickshank (following the design by Tetsuo Kogawa), then they edited the sounds they captured, and finally, experimented with ways to distribute sounds spatially in the gallery using multiple low power radio transmitters and small portable radio receivers.

The installation consisted of several radio transmitters and receivers along with a 5.1 channel audio track and a video projection on the gallery floor of an ice fishing hole. A sound fishing ‘trophy’ wall was installed in the gallery, showcasing community members in Polaroid photos with a written or visual representation of a sound they ‘caught’ in the gallery or out on the lake (e.g. an onomatopoeia).

Additional sounds and images were collected at the artist’s home in South River, Ontario. Thanks to Phil Weber for making an ice hole with a chainsaw which featured prominently in the audio track. Thanks also to Robert Cruickshank for leading the transmission workshop based on the simplest FM transmitter design by Tetsuo Kogawa. And special thanks to Serena Kataoka for her visual design, production coordination and creating the fishing ‘trophy’ wall.

The installation was supported from contributions by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.