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Arts, Music

Osheaga Gets Its Art On

Posted by Amelia / August 3, 2009

osheaga.jpgWas this confetti part of Osheaga art? Well, not technically, but gawd wasn't it pretty?

Well, Osheaga is finished, and there were some crazy things to see at the weekend-long festival. Josh Ritter fell to his knees and howled on stage, Chris Martin skipped, frolicked, and who knows what else throughout Coldplay's set, and Alice Glass collapsed to the stage and remained there, unmoving, for - let's be honest - about a third of Crystal Castles' stage time. But don't be fooled into thinking that the only entertainment was on stage. It ain't called the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival for nothing, friends. There was a lot of art at Osheaga, and it was pretty great. Herewith, a rundown in case you missed it.

While in past years, the visual art component of Osheaga was condensed into an art tent, this year changed that. Instead, the art was dispersed around the festival grounds and worked into the natural landscape. All of the art was in the form of large, site-specific sculptural installations. And while each of the pieces were different, they all shared certain principles that tied them together.

Alexis O'Hara's Squeeeque: The Speakerbox Igloo might just have been my favourite installation. Half sculpture, half sound art experiment, it was a really interesting contribution to the festival. O'Hara collected tons of cast-off rectangular speakers and formed them into a huge igloo. The speakers faced inward, and passers-by could enter the igloo and create the sound that the speakers broadcast. It was entirely participant-guided; an exercise not only in the repurposing of junk into art, but also in community-building and improvisation.

The En Masse Collective created a piece that was likewise based in improvisation. They used sound in a different way, though: as inspiration for a large-scale mural created as the festival progressed. The En Masse piece featured twelve artists creating a huge work that was inspired by the sounds they heard at the festival; other than that, there were no restraints. It was really great to watch how the music moved the visual artists to create work.

The YPF community also created art for Osheaga. Called Pyraliths, the group's installation featured several 10-foot tall pyramids. The structures were made out of painted fabric, and were beautiful, colourful, and vibrant.

The year's artistic offerings at Osheaga were interesting and added a great dimension to the festival. Hopefully art at Osheaga will continue to expand in years to come.

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