The Sights of Sounds // Stevie Gregg

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Stevie Gregg works in Human Resources at Equitable Bank. He holds two business degrees and a graduate certificate in HR. He has lived in four Canadian provinces, but now calls Toronto home.

At first, the piece reminds me of a children’s TV show – bright colours, cartoony figures, and lots of flashing words and movement. Though these elements give it an upbeat and carefree feel, at the same time, the animation is underlined by a sense of darkness. While it doesn’t immediately give away the story, or the meaning behind the seemingly mundane conversations happening on-screen, the piece does convey a sense of dread about the direction that society is going.

The figures or characters are identified as numbers; they talk to each other and interact at superficial levels, mimicking the surface-level interactions that most people encounter daily. To me, these characters foreshadow the people we are becoming – just numbers, falling deeper into the grasps of our devices (or the companies that control them), and finding ourselves in lonely places as we seek connection. Yet, I was still able to feel the artist’s playfulness and humour come through. These contrasts between lightness and darkness are prevalent throughout the whole piece and reinforced by its graphic style, with dark silhouettes, bold geometric shapes, primary colours, and dialogue.

My favourite part of this artwork is its silence, which, ironically, is what allows it to make a loud statement. Of all the digital art pieces in our collection that I watched in preparation to write this, I would describe this one as the most indebted to narrative. Not only does it have actual written-out dialogue – which the other pieces in the collection don’t – but it also allows you to hear your own sounds, and the sounds around you, by just watching along. As the piece plays through, the animated movements and dialogue are made to evoke what you should be hearing, which I can only imagine would be heard differently by every viewer.

In silence, we are left with the workings of our own unique imaginations, rather than passively hearing what is given to us. By taking out the sound altogether, it forces us to work harder to truly listen.

 

“The Sights of Sounds” is a response to the winner of the 2017 EDAA, an animation titled AEIUO by Fanny Huard. You can learn more about the artwork here and meet Fanny here