Janet Cardiff

Janet Cardiff is a Canadian artist who works in collaboration with her husband, George Bures Miller to produce sound and sound installations. They both attended art school at the University of Alberta, where they met and immediately connected through their united passion for art. Janet was studying printmaking, while George was studying painting, but both of these practices were too limiting to fulfill their creative visions. With their combined talents, Janet and George began to develop films with an emphasis on sound. Ever since they have produced a vast collection of multimedia works that stimulate multiple senses in the viewer. Their collection includes some small works, sound installations, and audio tours. My personal favorite is their piece, Forest.

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Forest is a live recording of a mixture of natural and unexpected sounds. During this experience sitting on a tree stump in the middle of Karlsaue Park you will hear hundreds of noises like laughter, gunshots, the cawing of birds, the fierce swish of wind, all emitting from speakers hidden in the brush around you. I think the most interesting part of this experience is how the various sounds are able to distort your visual perception of the present. The record blends the true sounds of the nature around you in the forest with random sounds that you wouldn’t normally hear in that environment. This gives you the chance to question reality and doubt what is real or what is not. In an interview I read Cardiff describes her work stating that, “our work is about time travel, in a way… A step away from reality-consensus reality- in the interests of seeing it better.”

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