Douglas Quin discusses his work as a sound designer and a composer on two very different films: the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic Park III and an indie by Edward A. Burger, The Mountain Path. He also shares a few valuable tips for those who want to have a successful career of the sound designer in international film industry.
"The best reaction to my music would be: ‘Jeez, I think I’m going to head out for a walk!'", reveals Douglas Quin in Ep. 2 of the Sound of Things where he talks about the influence of John Cage and musique concrète on him as a composer, writing music for the Kronos Quartet and Cirque du Soleil's Suzie Gagnon, and looking for answers to eternal questions such as 'What is music?' and 'What role does it play as a social interaction?'.
'Listening is born of silence', says Douglas Quin who has traveled widely documenting the natural soundscape - from Antarctic ice to Arctic tundra and from African savannah to Amazon rainforest - for the past 30 years. His recordings of endangered and disappearing habitats represent one of the most unique and extensive collections anywhere. In Ep. 3 of The Sound of Things, Quin reflects on being a steward of sounds whose mission is to connect people with something precious and beautiful that they have lost.
‘For immigrants, the way to make it in America was through education’, Douglas Quin explains why education is such an important part of his life and career. ‘You never stop having mentors and you always welcome having students. This give-and-take shapes your entire life’, he adds. In Ep. 4 of The Sound of Things, Douglas Quin talks about the influence of many different educational systems on him as a sound artist and sharing his artistry with his students.
'Despite the rumours, radio is alive and kicking!', Douglas Quin optimistically and fondly refers to the medium that has been an integral part of his rich artistic life. He calls radio the theatre of mind and is convinced that podcasting is just its inheritor. 'We shouldn’t get hung up on the technology, though. Instead, we should focus on what is it that we’re saying since we’ve got these tools', he adds and generously shares a few examples of experimental and innovative programming that he was commissioned to create for French, German, and American radio stations. Long live radio!
'Technology is not always as alienating as it seems. It’s a question to what ends you put your artistic practice', such is Douglas Quin's introduction of Paradise, a gestural instrument that one can play by moving through the space. The instrument consists of 25 loud speakers and motion trackers that trigger sounds as people move through the venue where the instrument is installed. This way, the public has an opportunity to play with a bank of thousands of sounds that don’t belong together in the natural world, but come together in the virtual paradise created by Douglas Quin and Lorne Convington who are inviting us to make art together.