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Playing Our City” is a multi-site, participatory, inter-active, semi-composed/semi-spontaneous performance that was held in a variety of locations throughout the city on March 12th, 2016. Site selection was based on a range of criteria, representing a broad cross-section of the city’s cultures, geographic and geomorphic features, economic levels and other demographic considerations, architectural features, and environmental textures. Calgary citizens collaborated with trained musicians in each location to create music by percussively ‘playing’ the material features of their locations. The focus was on the traditionally non-musical aspects of the landscape and architecture of the sites as both instruments and playing surfaces: earth, vegetation, stone, concrete, steel and other metals, glass, human and animal bodies, wind, etc. The locations were connected by high-speed internet, so that the performers and audience members in one location could see and hear the participants in the other locations in a simultaneous performance. The overall event is available online to national and international audiences in an archived recording here.

In advance of the March 12th event, we invited youth across Calgary to submit video clips of themselves playing their schoolyards, playgrounds, and communities to be woven into a video “city symphony” that was shown at the Playing Our City event and again at a large “Listen to Your City” concert held on March 14th. A “How To” video is available here. And here is the final video montage.

Conceived and directed by Bruce Barton
Composed by Allan Bell and Laurie Radford
Performance Transmission Design and Lead Site Animation by Eric Bumstead
Site Animation by Adam Johnson, Bob Fenske, and Kyle Eustace
Event Realization by Aura Pon, Nathan Bosse, and Lawrence Fyfe
Dramaturgy by Pil Hansen
Technical Direction by Graham Frampton

Check out the Playing Our City Facebook page for details.

Playing Our City was a JUNOS Host Committee initiative. Visit the official JUNOS Calgary website for more information about the full awards festivities.