Sewing Machine Orchestra (CA)



Sound installation: sewing machines, speakers, audio cables, power cables, piezo, sound card, electronics, and a computer

Martin Messier (CA)


Sewing Machine Orchestra is orchestrated entirely from the acoustic noise produced by 1940s sewing machines; a noise which is amplified with contact microphones and digitally processed. The work captures listeners’s imaginations primarily through the evocative power of these old industrial marvels. They recall particular experiences or relationships associated with these objects and viewers are rarely left unmoved when they see/hear them.
Messier doesn’t sew: he resuscitates old Singer machines—put to sleep years ago—in order to release, in some magical way, the luminous and sonorous presence of the past. He takes the public into a dreamlike world where each machine, as singular subject, is magnified. After years of silence, Sewing Machine Orchestra is giving a voice back to these industrial era objects that are still among us.

Sewing Machine Orchestra is a collaboration with Martin Messier (audio, programing and performance), Samuel St-Aubin (electronics), Jean-François Piché (electronics), and 14 lieux, perte de signal (production). This work was made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and la Maison des arts de Créteil and Exit Festival (Paris).


Artist Bio:

Martin Messier is a composer, performer, and videomaker. Though sound is the driving force of his work, Messier also quickly took an interest in the clash between electroacoustic music and other art forms, as well as in artistic collaboration. It is through the relationship between sound and material (objects or bodies) that Messier’s work takes shape. He gives life to sound through different objects such as alarm clocks, pens, and self-conceived machines. At the heart of this encounter between sounds and objects is the idea of pushing the envelope of the everyday imaginary, of magnifying these objects by giving them a voice and by reinventing their function. In 2010, Messier founded 14 lieux, a sound production company for the performing arts, in order to provide a platform for this kind of sound work in the art scene. Messier is represented by Marc Langlois – La Chasse Galerie.