Peter Courtemanche aka Absolute Value of Noise

Peter Courtemanche @
devolve into I - musikprotokoll 2000

Peter Courtemanche is a Vancouver based contemporary electronic media artist and curator. He works primarily in the realm of sound, radio-art, and interactive installation work.

As a curator and technician at the Western Front he has worked with many established and emerging artists in the production and installation of video, audio, and computer/electronic based art.

He is part of a generation of artists who were exposed to electronics and the creative potential of technology at an early age. His formative, poetic works used early generation micro-computers to generate an "artificial creation machine". This interest in technology led to many experiments interfacing the old to the new; connecting the worlds of early mechanical devices and late 19th Century inventions with modern computer control systems. The product of these experiments was largely featured in his early sound work.

His work in radio began in university - at the campus radio station CITR FM, in Vancouver - where he hosted a weekly program "The Absolute Value of Noise" (1988 - 92). This program featured a wide variety of radio-art and experimental audio - often generated live on the air. This radio show developed into the annual "24 Hours of Radio/ART" program (1992-96) - a collaborative event that explored the concept of a "radio-art" station; an event that posed the question: "What would happen if your local FM pop-rock station suddenly decided to go to an all audio-art format?"

In the second half of the 90s, Peter Courtemanche has moved into the direction of installation and interactive computer art.

His work for the Internet (e.g."Spirit Sounds" and "Audio Monster") can be viewed at

In 1998, Peter Courtemanche (with Lori Weidenhammer) took part in the exhibition "Kunst in der Stadt" in Bregenz, Austria. This included their installation "DIVINING FOR LOST SOUND" and participation in the Kunstradio project "Immersive Sound", (together with Elisabeth Schimana). (Project Description) Courtemanche and Weidenhammer were part of Elisabeth Schimanas "NARRATIVE II", for which Courtemanche developed a special web-cam program, which he also used in the Vancouver part of Jon Rose's THE RELATIVE VIOLIN and extended further for his project devolve into (2000) This is a web-cam that allows the transmitter to alter the images as they are being broadcast. The stream is colour filtered to re-create the idea of slow scan transmissions (video over telefone line).

Courtemanche also contributed from Vancouver to the SOUND DRIFTING installation (1999) and in 2000 curated the soundart festival INDUSTRIAL EAR at Western Front in Vancouver. He also contributed as an artist to this festival.

Sendungen im ORF-Kunstradio:

10. 12. 1998: "SOUND WORKS"
15. 04. 1999: "Geschichten II/Narratives II"
19. 12. 1999: "Silence descends"
15. 10. 2000: "devolve into"
17. 03. 2002: "devolve into II"
24. 03. 2002: intermedium 2
31. 03. 2002: "devolve into II"
07. 07. 2002: "cadillac desert radio mix"
04. 09. 2005: "Groove turntable radio action for Vienna"
04. 09. 2005: "Preying Mantis robots"
26. 11. 2006: "Very Low Frequency Radiation"
14. 01. 2007: "Wiencouver 1906"
10. 02. 2008: Art’s Birthday 2008 – Geschenke und Ständchen
20. 01. 2013: “Art's Birhtday Review" 
22. 05. 2016: "Bio-electric Radio"


14. - 26. 07. 1998 "Immersive Sound"
07. 12. 1999: "The Relative Violin - Wien/Vancouver"
15. 04. 1999: "Geschichten/ Narratives II"
01. - 09. 09. 1999: "Sound Drifting"