Editor : Est-Nord-Est, résidence d'artistes
Location : Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Year : 2023
Language : French / English
Author : Edith Brunette

Artist and author

Lina Choi
Four or five years ago, Lina Choi bought a tape recorder. “What will I record,” she asked herself. And she answered: the sound of water. She grew up by a river in Korea, and for her water is both attractive and frightening. Armed with her tape recorder, she makes it the main subject of her approach, situated at the intersection of sound, installation, and performance – the last offering her a valuable opportunity to communicate directly with the public.

Unsurprisingly, Choi’s stay at Est-Nord-Est offered her a chance to spend time beside the changing waters of the river, which she visited every day. She recorded its sounds, photographed its surfaces, and filmed its movements. The tides, she said, are never the same: they might be muddy or clear, high or low, agitated or calm, and are lit by a sky that also is constantly changing. The power of the river’s waters gave her the feeling of being submerged – a feeling that she also had on some nights as she listened to the rain battering the skylight above her studio. Unlike other residency spaces, she notes, ENE’s facilities are exposed to the natural environment, near the St. Lawrence River, with large windows looking out at woodlands.

It was in fact the sound of the rain, which she described as enveloping and surreal, that inspired her hypnotic aural performance presented at the end of the residency. The audience found Choi sitting on the floor of her studio, surrounded by a panoply of instruments: everyday objects, a laptop computer, and microphones of all sorts; in the background was a video showing images of the river. In a circuit composed of bowls, a cooktop, a watering can, and an aquarium, she poured or stirred water, creating sounds that she manipulated to produce music as peaceful as the sound of rain or a brook.