Eric Létourneau

© Eric Létourneau, Quatre re-traités* tiré de ‘”ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron (work-in progress), 2013. Photo Jordan Tannahill.


Eric Létourneau has been active since the 1980s as an intermedia artist and a sono-temporal architect. He pursues an artistic practice based on the creation of situations within the social fabric. He has produced roughly 50 contextual works and has presented his work in more than 10 countries. He is particularly interested in the instrumentalization of collective memory by institutions.

From 1999 to 2001 he worked for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), producing concerts, recordings and radio programs about new music, sound poetry, audio art and radio art. Eric Létourneau is a frequent contributor to publications and catalogues about performance art, and has written for Inter, Parallelogramme and esse. He currently teaches art history at Collège André-Grasset and works as an independent curator.

Quatre re-traités* tiré de ‘”ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron (work-in progress) by André Éric Létourneau

Quatre re-traités* tiré de ‘”ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron (work-in progress) is a psychogeo(hörspiel) performance involving radio transmission, narration and action, with a simultaneous translation from French to English and/or Italian. Psychogeo(hörspiel) is a neologism created by combining ‘psychogeography’ meaning an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and drifting around urban environments; and the German word ‘hörspiel’ meaning radio-play or radio-drama.

This performance is part of a work-in-progress by Letourneau entitled, “ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron, which is a 3-hour site-specific text-based science-fiction conceptual performance that can be performed for any media.

This version includes the participation of Toronto performer claude wittmann, and on recorded media by Alice Lafontaine, Alexandre St-Onge, Marie Brassard and Jac Berrocal.

The audience is encouraged to bring portable radios or walkman radios so they can leave the gallery and move around the neighbourhood during the action, picking up snippets of the narrative remotely.

© Eric Létourneau, Quatre re-traités* tiré de ‘”ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron (work-in progress), 2013. Photo Jordan Tannahill.

Five Holes: Listen!

Curated by Paul Couillard

Erika DeFreitas
Linda Rae Dornan
Eric Létourneau
So-Yeon Park
Jed Speare

Five Holes: Listen! presents five unique performance ‘maneuvers’ dealing with the sense of hearing. Five Holes: Listen! is the fourth offering in the multi-year Five Holes series that seeks to examine the nature and importance of bodies (performer and audience) in performance art by focusing on individual senses.

This iteration in the series considers acts of “listening” as they are carried out by and impact upon physical, social, political and spiritual bodies. In OPEN, Linda Rae Dornan presents herself as a solitary figure, sitting quietly in the city, listening—encouraging us to also stop for a moment to hear what we normally ignore. Erika DeFreitas performance, entitled Untitled: Selective Hearing, offers her presence for a one-on-one exercise of listening as a way of locating the self. In A Quiet Zone II, Jed Speare lobbies the city for a quiet zone that would serve as an area of sound awareness. So-Yeon Park assembles chanters from various cultures to direct their voices toward individual participants’ wishes as a way of channeling transformative energy in Interfaith Chanting/Praying Ceremony. And in Standard III, Eric Létourneau evokes silence as a way of marking and remembering all of the world’s victims of political persecution in a multi-layered project that interrogates the role of the State and of mass media in silencing “silence” itself.


OPEN by Linda Rae Dornan
September 15, 2004 @ 8:00am–12:00pm | Queen’s Park, Toronto
September 16, 2004 @ 8:00am–12:00pm | University Avenue traffic island, south of Gerrard Street
Artist Talk: September 16, 2004 @ 8:00pm | WARC, 122–401 Richmond Street West

OPEN features Linda Rae Dornan in a durational tableau performance of listening, only listening, in an open space surrounded by non-functioning audio speakers. It is about slowing down, actually hearing the world breathe around oneself, and being part of that breath. Time slows down, and one is absorbed into the soundscape, into hearing oneself and the world.

Untitled: Selective Hearing by Erika DeFreitas
September 25–October 24, 2004
Saturdays & Sundays @ 9:00am–5:00pm | various locations
Presented in conjunction with the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art

Untitled: Selective Hearing explores the sense of hearing and more specifically the act of listening as an intimate act of inclusion, trust, and the location and dislocation of self amidst a variety of public venues in Toronto. Artist Erika DeFreitas will be offering her shared presence to those who are interested in taking the time to sit and listen to their surroundings. Participants sign up for a particular place and time to join the artist in a conscious act of listening to the surrounding space. DeFreitas notes about this piece: “Our society depends heavily on conscious auditory perception as being selective, and this perception has created a culture of selective hearing. Our ability to ‘block’ things out allows us to choose when we want to listen, what we listen to, and what we hear. Various components of our surrounding environment have perpetuated this practice of filtering sound and have dictated what is allowed to take root and what must be discarded. Such forms of selective hearing and escapism can alter our environment in a surreal way. In his writing about conceptual art, I believe that an awareness of the ways that a sense of space or environment can be established through sound, as well as an understanding of how we might unconsciously use sound to essentially make an environment transferable, can develop through a process of active listening.”

A Quiet Zone II by Jed Speare 
October 7, 2004
Artist Talk: October 7, 2004 @ 4:00pm | Rectory Café, Ward’s Island

In A Quiet Zone II, Jed Speare seeks to establish a zone of quiet through municipal channels in a neighbourhood of Toronto—not for the purpose of restricting noise, but for promoting sound awareness and contemplation. Under city by-laws, Quiet Zones regulating noise activity can be established around hospitals and retirement homes. Speare’s proposal seeks to overturn and expand the notion of the Quiet Zone philosophically and idealistically, creating an occasion and site for an aesthetic experience, listening to a particular urban environment. For the past several months, Speare has been seeking the appropriate agency to initiate a formal process to create a zone in the inner harbour at Ward’s Island. From late September, Speare will be working in Toronto to meet with community members and officials and continue this process, culminating in an event on October 7 that will present his progress to-date, at a site and time to be determined. A Quiet Zone II is supported in part by a residency at Do While Studio in Boston and a grant from the Nicholson Foundation. Download Jed Speare’s Quiet Zone (pdf)

Standard III by Eric Létourneau
Artist Talk: October 21, 2004 @ 9:00pm | XPACE, 303 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Presented with 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art

Eric Létourneau’s “manoeuvre” Standard III began as a two-hour uninterrupted nationwide radio broadcast on Radio-Canada on April 11, 2004 (Easter). The program featured 198 30-second periods of radio silence punctuated by an alphabetical listing of every country in the world. The same phrase introduced each silence: “Thirty seconds of silence for domestic and foreign political victims…” This broadcast was recorded live off the airwaves and remixed for publication on two CDs along with a text that considers the effects of administrative regulation and State control on mass media. Beginning in October 2004, copies of the publication will be sent through diplomatic channels to each country of the world. On the occasion of each country’s national celebration, its head of state will be contacted to verify the receipt and subsequent response to the CD.

Interfaith Chanting/Praying Ceremony by So-Yeon Park
January 27, 2005 @ 7:00pm
Alumni Hall of Victoria College, University of Toronto, 91 Charles Street, Toronto

Interfaith Chanting/Praying Ceremony is an interactive event organized by Korean artist So-Yeon Park. Park has assembled a circle of local volunteer chanters from a variety of religious traditions who will direct their voices toward participants’ wishes as a way of channeling transformative energy. Audience members are invited to walk around the circle and listen, as well as to enter the circle and hold a wish while the chanters surround them and pray for their wish to come true. Park explains, “This spontaneous multi-faith circle of chanting and prayer brings together people from many faiths. Religious/spiritual practitioners are invited to experience and share their own deep faith in an environment of diverse spiritual devotion. Viewers will have an opportunity to witness and feel the power of prayer.”

Pas de Traduction curated by Eric Létourneau

FADO is pleased to present Pas de Traduction, a series of street actions featuring Montréal- and Québec-based performance artists. The performances will take place in the Queen Street West and Alexandra Park area. A program detailing the exact locations and nature of the performances will be available on the day of the event from weewerk Gallery (located at 620-A Queen Street West) within walking distance of all of the activities.

Pas de Traduction is the first in a new series of events by FADO that examines the work of various Canadian performance art communities, defined culturally, regionally, ethnically, or aesthetically. This inaugural series focuses on the city of Montréal. Pas du Traduction focuses on the ways interaction between performer and public can take place in site-specific contexts. The title (“no translation”) refers light-heartedly to the traditional tensions between English and French Canada. More importantly, however, the title reflects how the practice of performance privileges direct action and shared presence as a way of expressing ideas and moments that are ephemeral and essentially untranslatable. Pas du Traduction dances among the ambiguities of what needs no translation, what cannot be translated, and what we refuse to translate, focusing on the interpretation process between artist, audience and location.

Pas de Traduction Round Table | Moderated by Sonia Pelletier & Johanna Householder
July 13, 2003 @ 11:00am
Metro Hall (meeting room 308), 55 John Street, Toronto

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer