Skattered throughout Vancouver, bus stop shelters have been turned from ad space to sheet music. Adorno and Nose, as the piece is called, is a collection of ten songs composed and illustrated by Barry Doupe and James Whitman. Each poster contains a different song, notated as standard sheet music, the verse, and a drawn graphic.
“The songs are invitations to play and divertissement, whether private, humming or singing to oneself, or performance, singing out loud to friends or strangers. …People will be surprised, will wonder what they’re for,” explain the artists of the work.
“Since the greater part of music in public space is being used to sell things, whether through store ambiance or radio ads, what participation we are allowed is as passive consumers. As artists, we are interested in the kinds of specific attention that happens when music is lifted out of these economies. The songs are simple melodies in the key of C. The basic musical training required to sight read the songs belongs to anyone who has gone through the high school band program, junior piano classes or been an avid reader of Guitar World magazine. The songs should be accessible to a large, if not very often addressed, audience. In a way these songs harken back to an earlier mode of music distribution, that of 19th century parlour music, sheet music meant to be sung at home with a piano.”
The songs can be found throughout Vancouver at the following bus stop shelters until October 2, 2011:
* Water Street: 75 meters east of Cambie Street on the north side
* West Pender Street: 20 meters east of Hamilton Street south side
* Dundas Street: 20 metres east of Lakewood on the north side
* East Broadway: 20 metres west of Slocan on the north side
* East Hastings: 20 metres west of Victoria on the north side
* Main Street: 20 metres north of east 57th on the east side
* McGill Street: 20 metres west of Penticton on the north side
* Nanaimo Street: 20 metres north of Charles on the east side
* West 10th Avenue: 30 metres east of Trimble on the south side
* West 41st Avenue: 28 metres west of Carnarvon on the north side
The pair have been writing songs since 2009, and collaborated in this project as part of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program. Adorno and Nose is one of 13 new public art projects commissioned by the City for Vancouver 125 (the City’s 125th anniversary celebration, ongoing all year).
In their collaborations, Barry writes the words and James writes the melodies. Barry studied animation at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, graduating in 2004. His writing practice developed out of writing for his feature length computer animated films such as PONYTAIL (2008). James Whitman studied at the University of Victoria and is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University in Montreal. His drawings and book works have been exhibited throughout Europe and Canada.