Brian Joseph Davis

13 April 2006 - 20 May 2006
Opening Reception 13 April 2006 8pm

Back Gallery:


(A Co-Presentation with Images Festival)

Over the course of the exhibition Brian Joseph Davis is inviting the public to come into the back gallery space to record in a vocal booth their styling of the song “Yesterday” from memory, in one take, and with no practice.

You will have a headset with a feed of an instrumental version of the song to assist with melody and timing. Please, NO PRACTICING.

All the takes will then be assembled into a single choir-like rendition of people trying to remember the song and released as a CD. Housed in a silk-screened LP sleeve it will also include a limited edition silver ink poster printed by Coach House Press. Copies will be available for $20.00. The audio will also be available as a free download from this site. Both available at the end of the exhibition.

“Yesterday” is the most recorded song of all time. Is it the most remembered?

Recording begins April 12th at Mercer Union, 37 Lisgar Street, 416 536 1519 and continues Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1-5pm, until May 13th.

From the exhibtion catalogue:

The Girl With Colitis Goes By

The ubiquitous “Yesterday” is deeply ingrained in our collective memory, but how well do we actually remember it? For Yesterduh, Brian Joseph Davis turns the gallery into a recording studio and participants – collected via classified ads, street posters, websites, emails – are paid $5 for a complete run-through of the song. It’s karaoke without a monitor displaying the lyrics. These varied attempts will then be mixed chorally by the artist and published as a CD. Here interpretation (cadence, inflection, emphasis, enunciation) mingles with memory (pauses, ums and ahs, mondegreen) and is filtered through ability.

Part conceptual prank, part scientific experiment (the zeitgeist measured, the earworm dissected) the work explores public agency in the creation and coding of the culture. Traditionally, popular songs (lullabies, hymns, anthems, protest songs) were created by an individual and then altered in transmission as a group expression. These songs were passed down from generation to generation with ersatz lyrics and melodic adjustments regularly incorporated into the composition4. Today musical culture retains some of that fluidity via remixes, mash-ups and cover versions.

Text by Dave Dyment, 2006