Steve Bates
06.09 — 23.11 / 2017

Opening reception : Wednesday, September 27, 2017

5 PM

It is with great pleasure that Sporobole is hosting Montreal artist Steve Bates for a research and creation residency from September 7th to September 28th, followed by an exhibition from the 28th September to 24th November 2017.



“Black Seas is an ongoing multimedia and performance project under the influence of historical and contemporary experiences of auditory hallucination. Black Seas is a project about listening. It is about listening politically, socially, biologically, psychologically, historically and psycho/acoustically. It is about a weird listening. A listening, as Mark Fisher describes when theorizing the weird and the eerie via Lovecraft, that brings two worlds together; the external and the internal. A weird listening is one that ”…lies beyond standardized perception, cognition, and experience.”

Black Seas takes in horror and weird fiction, film, music and sound studies, medical history, cognitive science, psychiatry, 19th century psychic journals, telecommunications theory, mysticism, philosophy, religion and shared stories. It swims in ecstasy, terror and the banal.

Black Seas considers the grey areas between hallucination and a threshold of hearing, or mishearing. When we listen very, very hard. Weird things happen. This is often the pivot point in horror films – the moment of hearing something .

For my project at Sporobole, I will be working through various sound, radio, video and print elements of Black Seas. This work will be present in the gallery space in experimental and shifting forms.” Steve Bates

– Fisher, Mark. The Weird and the Eerie . London: Repeater Books. 2017.


Steve Bates would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for financial support.



Steve Bates and the Black Seas Ensemble will perform material from the soundtrack to Bates’ ongoing multimedia and performance project, Black Seas. This performance will feature members of godspeed you! black emperor, and other Montréal-based musicians with live visuals by renowned Austrian video artist, Michaela Grill.

Black Seas is inspired and influenced by both historical and contemporary experiences of auditory hallucination. Black Seas listens to, and through, sounds that aren’t there.


Steve Bates guitar, computer, synthesizer, field recordings, radio and transmitter

Michaela Grill live video

Timothy Herzog drums, percussion, bowed cymbals, effects

jake moore voice

Marc-Alexendre Reinhardt cassettes, electronics, effects, voice

Sophie Trudeau violin, effects, bass, voice

tickets available here


Photos : Tanya St-Pierre