In 2007 Laurel MacDonald collaborated with longtime associate John Oswald to create QUI, a sound installation for 29 voices singing in 29 languages over 29 speakers, a permanent exhibit for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2010, MacDonald decided to create a visual counterpart for this sound work.

The result is the video and sound installation XXIX, which features 21 of the original 29 QUI singers, performers from many musical genres, each singing in the language of her or his personal heritage. XXIX is an intimate portrait of these singers, and a reflection of the dynamic and spiritual power of the QUI music.

XXIX had its world premiere during the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival in Toronto in October 2010. XXIX was presented in the lobby of the Royal Ontario Museum, as a single-channel video installation with a remix version of the QUI music over 21 individual channels/speakers, running in a continuous loop of about six minutes’ duration.

The Singers

Neema Bickersteth (Krio)

Aviva Chernick (Spanish)

Sung Chung (Korean)

Ori Dagan (Hungarian)

Narendra Datar (Hindi)

Sophia Grigoriadis (Greek)

Carla Huhtanen (Finnish)

Andrea Koziol (English)

Amélie Lefebvre (French)

Tom Lillington (Italian)

Laurel MacDonald (Latin)

Lizzy Mahashe (Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho)

Shalva Makharashvili (Georgian)

Paul Oros (Russian)

Pat Patrick (English - Basso Profundo)

Suba Sankaran (Tamil)

Charlene Santoni (Ultra Soprano)

Mitch Smolkin (Hebrew)

Adam Solomon (Swahili)

Aki Takahashi (Japanese)

Maryem Tollar (Arabic)

The QUI music was conceived by John Oswald as part of A Time to Hear for Here,

a sound installation created for the Royal Ontario Museum in 2007,

and was arranged and adapted by Laurel MacDonald and John Oswald,

with additional lyric settings by the singers.

Original music and lyrics

Qui habitat in adjutorio altissimi by Josquin des Prez (c. 1440-1521)

Direction, videography and video edit Laurel MacDonald

Sound recording and stereo mix Laurel MacDonald

Technical supervisor and multi-channel sound mixes Philip Strong

Postproduction consultant Dennis Day

Produced in association with

the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum

and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche



XXIX received the Scotiabank People’s Choice Award in the Open Call category at Nuit Blanche 2010. My sincere thanks to Scotiabank for this honour, and to all those who have contributed to and supported this project!


Glasgow Short Film Festival • February 2011

Heart Of Gold International Film Festival, Australia • March 2011

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival • April 2011

Sensoria Shorts, Sheffield UK • May 2011

Columbus International Film + Video Festival • November 2011

Produced with the assistance of :