Piano à numéros
Founded in 1993, Avatar specializes in the development of sound art. In addition to promoting sound-art research, creation and distribution, Avatar designs and implements structures and activities to bring creators together. Avatar has also established a publishing house, OHM Editions, to disseminate its research. As well, to expand the limited opportunities for audio and visual presentation of this art form, Avatar organizes performance events, sponsors sound installations, and engages in ongoing radio-based collaborations here and abroad.
Jacques Perron © 2004 FDL
For its project Le Piano à Numéros (The Digital Piano), Avatar invites artists in residence twice a year to create original work using a DisKlavier. This instrument combines a conventional grand piano with a MIDI system which allows sound to be automated. The MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) code is a "computer communication protocol that allows exchange of data between electro-acoustic instruments and personal computers" (Dictionnaire des arts médiatiques [Media Art Dictionary], Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1997). The project's goal is to offer these musical possibilities to artists who are not musicians, in the belief that approaches to sound composition can be expanded and renewed by interaction with concepts from other fields of artistic creation.
The first two artists in residence were Dominique Blain and Thecla Schiphorst.