Pillow Scenes (1996- 2001)

- installation consists of a series of sleep portraits of imaginary characters in imaginary scenes
- each photograph 20" x 24" (before frames)
- a soundtrack for each character has been created containing a combination of ambient sound, music fragments, bits of text, etc.
- during presentation speaker-lined pillows are scattered around the exhibition space, each linked to a different photograph; to listen, the viewer mimics the position of sleep by laying their head on each pillow thus hearing the sound-narrative of the corresponding character

- experimental, psychological narratives based loosely around portraits of imaginary characters
- male or female characters presented in different bedroom scenes of a sometimes gentle / sometimes brutal nature
- each photographed character receives a looping soundtrack played off a pillow which in some way connects to the imagery within their narrative; the sound loop can be seen as a 'moment' or as a narrative symbol for constructing meaning (sometimes the loop will consist of ambient sound, sometimes it will be partly musical, sometimes it will consist of a text bite — like a line from a script — or full conversation)
- a way of stepping past the still photo / subverting the idea of a photograph as representative of a serene, captured 'moment'
- the viewer is an essential part of this work

two important concepts contribute significantly to the way Pillow Scenes functions:
1) photographs imply and await texts; they demand to be deciphered by their viewer
2) people want to apply a meaning to almost anything they encounter

• 'Mad Science', a short essay by Ivan Jurakic (from the 'Pillow Scenes 1-2-3' brochure published by Hamilton Artist Inc [ISBN 0-9698141-8-6] )
• 'Soundscapes for Dumb Submission', a long essay by Lorenzo Buj (June 2000)
• 'Dead Asleep', an article by Dale L. Sproule (Rue Morgue magazine, October 2000)
• a review of this exhibition by Victoria Miecznikowski (ID Magazine)
• various reviews of the Pillow Scenes CD/catalogue


Title Pillow Scenes: sound sampler (collage of 5 scenes excerpted)
Size 1 MB
Length 1m06s
Direct MP3 download


images: (L) installation view from 'Pillow Scenes Six: Labyrinth' @ Thames Art Gallery, 2000; (M+R) installation views @ Struts Gallery, 1997


image: Laliberte with guest at Latitude 53 (Edmonton) opening reception, 1999

image: Laliberte with two spectators at Artseen 6 (Windsor, ON) opening reception, 1998



72:33 minute CD with 28 page booklet, includes 10 photo reproductions
All tracks written | produced by Mark Laliberte
mix assembly: Windsor, Canada, May 2000
design by: Origin Obscure
print run: edition of 500 copies
release date: Jul 2000

essay by: Lorenzo Buj


Blow Up Magazine Issue 29, October 2000
Review by: Nicola Catalano
Rating: 8 out of 10

(Translated from Italian text:) Pillow Scenes Soundworks 1996 - 1999, faithful sound catalogue of the homonymous installation based on sound collages and b/w photos supported by Thames Art Gallery, is the promising CD debut of the multimedia artist Mark Laliberte. In the sleep portraits of this 29 years old guy, images of sleeping faces aiming at giving emphasis to body postures, we find the seeds of body-art and the influence of Wien Aktionists as well as that of artists such as Dieter Appelt, Joel-Peter Witkin and Cindy Sherman, and the suffocating assemblages of pure sound-art, uneasiness of industrial nature, risky concretism that give them sound turn out to be resolutely cool and free from embarassing ties, although they obey to a long historical tradition of ars acustica. In the end the work of Laliberte, call it mysterious, abstract, wandering, enigmatic, difficult to decode, leave here and there some moments of breath which take the form of twisted and lapidary expressionist songs (?!) like "Furnace (Dada Chemical, 1970)" and "Summer Heat (A Moment of Sadness)"; disquieting noir cadenzas like "Trace Stain (Exploding Back Room)"; and simple but effective pro-plagiarist cuttings such as "Comatone (In My Dream Machine)".


Rue Morgue Issue 17, October 2000
Review by: AL
Rating: four and a half out of five skulls

Mark Laliberte is a multimedia artist and has been performing his project Pillow Scenes for four years now. The show involves a series of photographs depicting various sleeping models, each accompanied by a unique recording emanating from a pillow located at floor level. The photos are eerie to say the least, concentrating on dark shadows, the surreal, and often, the grotesque. Yet for the concern of this review section, Laliberte's collection of soundscapes are bizarre and disturbingly haunting: 24 tracks of whispering repetition, ranging from noise to sampling and sometimes, even music. Laliberte's CD won't be played on your car stereo, but then again, it wasn't meant to be. Definitely for the fringe culture, Pillow Scenes is reactionary art against the mainstream, voluntarily joining the ranks of comic books, horror movies and punk music as a new historical artifact of the bizarre.


Broken Pencil Issue 15, Spring 2001
Review by Hal Niedzviecki

The twenty-four audio experiments on this CD span a three year period. They originally were conceived to be heard in an art gallery accompanying different photographs which Windsor based artist Laliberte calls "sleep portraits." In the gallery, the viewer puts their head on a pillow in front of the picture to hear the related track. On the CD, the pictures are absent (a portion of them are included in the 28-page booklet) and the sound creations evoke a less distinct din of murmured interchanges and haunted atmospherics. The bedroom scenes are like the taut, prolonged moments from a movie, as opposed to seperate narratives. Still, Laliberte's ability to evoke a scene simply through sound is stunning. At times, his project seems almost too successful: put this CD on, turn the lights off, close your eyes, put your head on your pillow, and you'll wonder where the hell you've got to.

All Music Guide (website)

Review by Ken Taylor
AMG Rating: three stars
Genre: avant garde

Developed as sound accompaniments for a photography exhibit, Pillow Scenes Soundworks 1996-1999 is a 74-minute collection of ambient noise-scapes, atonal instrumentation, found sounds, and intercepted telephone conversations. Photographer Mark Laliberte spent the better part of four years photographing subjects in different stages of sleep and recording the surreal sounds that he imagined may occur in their subconscious, thus creating the sounds that now comprise his 2000 release Pillow Scenes Soundworks. In the music's proper setting, speakers are sewn into pillows and placed at floor level concealing a tape machine that runs the separate soundtrack. A functionless wire extends upward to the wall-mounted photograph to psychologically link the picture and sound. In the room, voices, instruments, and noise overlap as viewers walk from picture to picture while the repetition of sounds merge and collide around them. The phases of sound shift and lock as patterns emerge. Laliberte's sense of color and composition is masterful and his visual training shines through in the arrangement of these components. Ghastly, animal-like moans blurt from a forest, reminiscent of the Smiths' "Meat is Murder," as Laliberte ties human nature to animal nature throughout the recording. Pieces like "News Story" evoke feelings of terror as a news reporter explains the damage done by a fire, while others such as "A Moment of Sadness" bring about complete peacefulness even though the dialogue is flecked with feelings of distrust and hurtfulness. Laliberte paints diverse pictures, from somber and creepy to settled and content. And considering the esoteric nature of the project - a compilation of audio accompaniments for photographs - Pillow Scenes is a brilliantly relaxed and fluid listening experience.



The artist would like to thank the following people for their assistance in the creation & presentation of this series along the way:

Models and Voices:
Anonymous. Chandra Boon. Leesa Bringas. Christine Burchnall. Yasmin Cokecleglu. Marnie Cossarini. Athena Colman. Laura Delfarro. Amy Friend. Bart Gazzola. Marie Graff. Jason Hinek. Bill James. Fred and Kathy. Rachelle Viader Knowles. Mark Laliberte. Aaron Linton. Chris Mangin. Katherine Mayville. Hedy Minton. Gustave Morin. Vincent Pipitone. Red Zone Girls. Lisa and Nadia Schwartzentruber. Rachel Shore. Marko Stipanicic. Marta Trzeciak. Stacey Lee Wigle. Various appropriated or unidentifiable voices.

• Scene One, @ Artcite Inc (Windsor, ON): Christine Burchnall and Chris McNamara for assists; the Selections Committee for giving a young artist a place to call his own
• Scene Two [Chance Narrations], @ Struts Gallery (Sackville, NB): Greg Elgstrand and his wife Sara Graham for their hospitality / assists; Erik Edson and Andrea Mortson for their company in this small town
• Scene Three [A Growing Confusion], @ Hamilton Artists Inc (Hamilton, ON): Dermot Wilson / Ann Clendenning for their gracious hospitality; Ray Cinovskis for installation assists above and beyond the call of duty; Ivan Jurakic for his entertaining and creatively accurate 'Mad Science' introductory text [ISBN 0-9698141-8-6]
• Scene Four [The Falling Dream], @ Latitude 53 (Edmonton, AB): Todd Janes and the entire gallery crew for professionalism, generousity and assists; Maureen Fenniak for her interesting monograph text; Cindy Baker for taking me to the Edmonton mall on down time
• Scene Five [The Beauty Shield], @ Gallery Connexion (Fredericton, NB): headaches, deceit and damaged artwork / the only failing grade in this entire campaign
• Scene Six [Labyrinth], @ Thames Art Gallery (Chatham, ON): Carl Lavoy for keeping a close eye on things and for taking a risk on this specialized catalogue; Lorenzo Buj for his in depth analysis of this series; Otto Buj for help on the production of this booklet; Christopher Bissonnette for occasionally lending a critical ear.


... doesn't this 'Bell' campaign's icon choice resemble the Pillow Scenes sound icon? : )