The TIMARA department is pleased to welcome New York-based artist, composer, and performer Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste as a visiting faculty member!
Since receiving his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College, Jeremy has been the recipient of several awards and residencies. Most recently, he was a Camargo Foundation Core Program Fellow in 2022, and a Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Sound Artist-In-Residence in 2021. In 2018, Jeremy won a Bessie Award for Outstanding Music Composition and Sound Design. His website bio lists some of the institutions he’s shown work in: “MoMA PS1; Performance Space New York; The Brooklyn Museum; The Kitchen; Issue Project Room; The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; FringeArts, Philadelphia; Tanz Im August at Hau3, Berlin; Stoa Cultural Center, Helsinki among others.”
“Most of my work deals with questions of the efficacy in refusing legibility or representation,” Jeremy says, “and I get there through using a lot of darkness and low frequency, with an eye towards the materiality of the things that allow for darkness and for low frequency.” His installation Set It Off, exhibited 2021-22 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia, fits that billing perfectly: large, bespoke enclosures are sealed tightly to refuse light, while subwoofers hang overhead and shake the inside space. The barriers between sound and physical sensation become blurry and wobbly; inside and outside sound, chosen and foisted experience. “I create dark spaces.”
Jeremy’s also done numerous works with Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs), another sound technology that, along with subwoofers, accentuate sound’s ability to force our attention, and to change, or in the case of LRADs to hurt, us physically. The sound projected from an LRAD is deflected by rotating riot shields in Jeremy’s work I Would Prefer Not To (Stay Cool), which he describes as a sonic engagement with Herman Mellville’s Bartleby the Scrivener and Herbert Marcuse’s concept of “the great refusal.” In that work the militarized LRAds are deflected and disarmed, and in Y’all Don’t Wanna Hear Me, You Just Wanna Dance the LRADs are used to play music, reclaiming agency over a technology that has the potential to be dangerously authoritative and invasive.
This semester Jeremy is teaching an upper-level TIMARA elective and TECH 101: Introduction to Electroacoustic Music. On his teaching experience so far: “It’s been really exciting to delve into conversations around sound and bodily autonomy, and the sort of boundaryless nature of sound and the positives and complications that that brings up. It’s also really exciting to teach electronic music and electronic production techniques to people who have grown up with technology.”
And about the department, Jeremy says: “One thing that I was excited about when I visited in the spring and have continued to feel is that, of course, students here are really smart, but they’re also within the TIMARA department really brave, and really inquisitive. There’s something really special and really awesome about working with a group of students that are so brave and inquisitive and willing to challenge themselves and the norms of the things that they’re working with. And it’s nice to have support from the conservatory and the department and resources to be able to help folks articulate the things that they really want to without having to worry so much.”