Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache, born in Whiteriver, Arizona, United States; lives in Brooklyn, New York, United States) intertwines music, performance, and visual art to evoke the multiple identities and emotions that she harbours. Ortman, a violinist, takes inspiration from Indigenous musical traditions to compose “sound sculptures” in which her instrument—its strings, the wood, and other parts—are as important as the sounds produced. Her often collaborative projects intermingle physicality and abstraction, urban environment and nature, the traditional and the contemporary.
- Whiteriver, Arizona, United States
- Countries / Nations
- White Mountain Apache, United States
- Brooklyn, New York, United States
In the installation From My House To Yours, Monnet and Ortman present the result of a correspondence that they maintained for months from their respective homes in Montreal and New York. Through exchanges of letters, which also included images drawn from previous projects, audio recordings of everyday objects (table being moved, book being opened, lamp being turned on and off), and musical excerpts composed specifically for the occasion, they explored, metaphorically and materially, the topography of the land that stretched out between them. In response to the sounds sent to her by Ortman, Monnet generated images or shapes that, once in Ortman’s hands, gave rise to other compositions. These samplings of daily life were shared and cherished by the two friends during this time of isolation and physical distancing. Like an echo reverberating on mountainsides, the resulting score both reflects their separation and brings them together. Their methodology, based on reciprocity and engagement, is intended to articulate the sensation of distance that may be felt between places or territories, using music and images to make tangible this otherwise abstract concept. As the soundtrack of these vibrant exchanges plays in the gallery, photographs covering its walls envelop the space, creating an immersive audio and visual environment. Between Montreal and New York, From My House To Yours traces a shortcut path, transcending borders—symbolic and physical—a trail for us to walk along outside of time and space.