Guerilla Sound Events

(2004) n/a

Various people with various instruments


Peter Hatch's Guerilla Sound Events are short,spontaneous performance art pieces intended to draw attention to urban soundscapes through unannounced sonic interventions. While often humorous in nature, they also call for a more active role in shaping our urban soundscapes. These works were first presented in Regina in 2004 as part of the Immersive Soundscapes festival. They have since been repeated at the 2005 Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound in Kitchener, Ontario, the 2006 New Adventures in Sound Art Sound Travels festival on Toronto Island, the Junction Arts Festival (Toronto), Escales Improbable (Montreal) and the Stratford Summer Music Festival.

Are you interested in what you are hearing?

The Foggiest Idea (Guerilla Sound Event #1)
for solo tuba

In seaside settings, the fog horn is used in dense fog to warn ships of nearby land. Their lonesome call also serves to remind people of the nearby wide-open ocean and can provide an eerie presence to a fog-ensconsced city. This short work for tuba, with its fog horn call repeated at 30 second intervals, provides a mournful song which seems echoes the often lonesome, isolating aspects of city life.

Car-la-la (Guerilla Sound Event #2)
for five cars in motion sounding horns

Traffic is easily the defining sonic ingredient of urban life. Daily, multitudes of metal boxes carry people from place to place. Their encased inhabitants are isolated from the environment and connected only by traffic rituals, one of which is the expressive cry of the car horn. Lately, the use of the car horn as personal expression has been usurped by a more ubiquitous use of its sound - the car alarm. 'Car-la-la' takes the rhythmic beeping of the car alarm as its starting point, building a short, rhythmic piece which challenges normal assumptions about cars and their horns.

Sunglasses for the Ears (Guerilla Sound Event #3)
For any number of people dispensing ear-plugs

As a society our ears are subjected to ever increasing amounts of noise pollution.
An insidious effect of this noise is the stress it adds to our lives, which can lead to numerous ailments and partial deafness. It is in the interest of both protecting your hearing and decreasing your stress levels that these ear-plugs are offered to you as 'sunglasses for the ears'. In the same way sunglasses are used to to protect your eyes, ear-plugs can be used to reduce the 'harsh glare' of noisy environments - in airplanes, on the highway, near loud machinery (including lawn mowers and leaf blowers), at large sports events, rock concerts and in clubs.

Hyper(retro)action (Guerilla Sound Event #4)
For a highly distracted individual sounding a 'backup beep'.

iPods and MP3 players are a regular fixture amongst increasing numbers of urbanites. While empowering individuals with some degree of control over their sound worlds, they can also disconnect them from their surroundings and from one another. Often 'turned up to 11', they can produce highly charged and distracted individuals whose presence perhaps heeds a warning.

Cell Life (Guerilla Sound Event #5)
for four operatic singers with cell phones

Within public settings, cell phones and their users can produce curious situations. Cell phone users are aurally connected in an intimate way to someone completely removed from the caller's immediate environment; this environment may consist of a large crowd of people, which the caller often ignores. The combination of aural and social connection/disconnection can create interesting and often strange juxtapositions, as intimate details are announced publicly but obliviously.

Tandemtwo (Guerilla Sound Event #6)
For a singing couple riding a bicycle built for two

Refuges within the harsh environment of cities, city parks, with their more open and relatively quiet aural and visual environments, allow for more contemplative thought and the chance for more intimate human contact. Nevertheless, the incessant din of the city is never far away. Building on this theme, 'Tandemtwo' presents a short operatic 'park scene' humourously dealing with love's passions and toils, drawing on the Harry Dacre's well known tune 'Bicycle Built for Two'.

Car(ry)ing Play (Guerilla Sound Event #7)
For a woman pushing a baby carriage

For children, a park playground symbolizes freedom, a place to make noise. This freedom, however, relies on the nearby and ever watchful parent/guardian, who ensures their safety and protection in a context fraught with potential danger. This moving 'performance installation' features a mother 'tuned in' to the sounds of children emanating from her baby carriage.

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