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24 Hour Family Portraits

New Maternalisms: Redux exhibition and colloquium
The FAB Gallery, University of Alberta
May 12, 2016 - June 4, 2016

24 Hour Family Portraits are conceptual in nature. For one day, participants keep a log of the acoustic events in the family atmosphere: squeaks, yawps, bellows and bawls, and any significant auditory event in between. (Note: all sounds are fair game - joyful, angry, romantic, and so on.) The artist creates a snapshot of the family informed by their phonic events in a 24 hour period. No photographs or other visual cues to determine the portrait, only the tallies of each person's shouting contribution to the family soundscape.

The artist consults the shouting log and assigns each family member a color. Each individual is represented as a series of spheres depicting that person's audible outbursts. Louder and longer shouts result in large balls, while minor exclamations are represented by smaller balls. The orb clusters are playfully piled in front of a traditional portrait backdrop and then photographed. (It's like going to a portrait studio without having to do your hair.)

Historically, portrait painters were charged with conveying the very life-force of the sitter by means of a realistic depiction of the individual. Using sound as the foundation for these images, the work playfully uproots traditional portraiture's focus on a subject's visual form and reveals not just the emotional essence of each individual sitter but the collective dynamics of the entire family. The result is a humorous photograph that documents a family's collective, 24-hour soundscape. 24 Hour Family Portraits is a series of humorous portraits based on the soundscape in the family home. Unlike a traditional portrait, this one is based on each family members' audio contributions, rather than visual characteristics. This work is being made onsite at the New Maternalisms: Redux exhibition and colloquium at the FAB Gallery, University of Alberta, and will continue until 50 family portraits have been made. Curated by esteemed feminist scholar Natalie Loveless.

The full project website can be found at: