Listening in the library

A youth experimental music project at the Toronto Public Library, 2017

Listening In The Library was a month long youth experimental music workshop led by Toronto Public Library artist-in-residence Christopher Willes at Scarborough Civic Centre Branch. For this project five youth artists from Scarborough (an outer borough of Toronto) came together to encounter the library's unique vinyl LP collection, focusing on Canadian experimental music recordings from the 1970's and 80's. Temporarily moving these records out of the downtown area (Reference Library) to the Scarborough Civic Centre Library, the project sought to explore how listening inscribes new embodied archives, and how a new generation of artists might learn about, connect to or not, reorganize, change, and encounter anew this particular history of experimental music. 

The workshop concluded in a performance in which participants created a live remix of the collection. Diffusing and layering these recordings throughout the library as a collective act, audiences were invited to create a "mix" via the simple act of walking throughout the building and listening.

Performers: Jason Li, Taggart Quinn, Maria Patricia Abuel, Gian Caracciolo, and Nanthini Namasti.

Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council. Special thank yous to Beau Levitt from the Toronto Public Library, and to Simon Farrington, Patric McGroarty, Phil Melanson, Tobaron Waxman, and Mitch Akiyama.

Photography by Kendra Epik