“All suicides are familiar with the struggle against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well… that it is nobler and finer to be felled by life than by one’s own hand.”
Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf
In the darkest moments of my life, the arts have saved me. Where perhaps a real human being couldn’t enter, music or literature or poetry or painting or photography has shown me the way. I have not always been a spectator but also a creator, making sense by making things. When isolated by the pandemic, sanity and survival both seemed hard work. But I survived, thrived even, mostly because of creativity, and also because of love. Along with the audio is attached some photos I took to document myself being “seen” as if by another (encouraged by my then-partner). In all frames a part of the keyboard can be seen.
My piece for this project was inspired by the feeling of that time and created entirely in an impromptu manner. I only joined the two recordings together. I hope they transport you and leave you somewhere good.
Nationality and location:
Misguided meditation chronicles what the perfect day online might look like. It is a personal
response to dependence on technology and the internet during lockdown. The piece satirises
modern values, preoccupations and the blurring of online and offline identity. Through our
devices, our social and work lives collide online and it is increasingly difficult to shut off from
either. It considers the commercialisation of self-care practice drawing a correlation between the
sedation of guided meditations and the internet. Misguided meditation explores the effort we
make in the cause of online self-presentation to perpetuate our own self myth. The piece
positions the internet as a means of escape as well as something which is desirable to escape
from. Subverting the conventions of guided meditation, the work examines the hypocrisy of
relying on digital technology for our mental wellbeing.
This piece tries to remind us that even during social isolation there is Art to be found everywhere.
Even alone, with nothing to do, there is always something happening around you, and sometimes it can be very pleasant, in a strange, unexpected way.
This is the sound recreation of such a moment I once had.
Best listened to with headphones and patience.
Nationality and location:
There are a number of sound clips and voices in there from different parts of the world:
The riots and BLM demos in the US, as well as BLM demonstrations in UK, anti-fascist demos in Belarus (which is connected also to the MeToo movement), Bolivia, Jakarta (where you can hear the tear gas cannisters hissing), Nigeria, and with the sound of the explosion in Iran that rocked Lebanon in the summer.
The speakers whose voices are in the middle of the track are from UK BLM demonstrations:
Imarn Ayton, activist and founder of Black Reformist Movement
Phoenix! tha Rude Boii, rapper and activist, founder of black music movement, UK
The music carries a sort of intensity and anxiety, a pressure that I have and had felt throughout the epidemic – and it speaks to that, helping me to release some of my own frustrations with the SNAFU (Situation Normal All Fucked Up): the terrible / irresponsible / unethical handling of the crises by governments, ‘leaders’, media, and corporations.
On February 18, 2021, a Nasa Mars mobile landed on Mars to search for traces of H2O. The mobile, which had been traveling for many months, broke through all the layers that separate Mars and Earth: The atmospheres and space. Two of us looked through a telescope. It was a night when Mars could be seen. It was changing colors. It felt semi-transparent. Optocopters picked us up and we put on alu hats to escape the semi-transparency. Because we know that with isolation, it’s not what’s stopped, but what gets through. While in the Corona time we are isolated, fortunately virus-safe, Mars however is not isolated human-safe, a large love story begins – the earth, Mars, humans as love messengers. Although a life on Mars would be only half awesome, an unsaid promise is hidden in the half-awesome: The super awesome time will come!
Home is a collage of recordings I have made in 2020 in my apartment in Antwerp, heavily processed through effects and blended altogether. In order to help myself get through this morose, odd time bubble we live in, I began recording any kind of sounds I thought were interesting, using different types of microphones in my house, or in a radius of one kilometre around it, experimenting with textures, playing with everyday life objects, all these sound possibilities almost everyone has access to (cooking ware, water, electronic devices, plants, pets, neighbours). It quickly became a sort of a game, but also quite a meditative process, as I was trying to reconnect and to enjoy being stuck at home, re-discovering my neighbourhood, taking my time to do things the way I wanted.
I then started archiving these sounds, processing them, distorting them to make them sound radically different than they originally did and finally putting them together. The whole composition became a sort of soundtrack of these moments spent at home.
Nationality and location:
French, based in Antwerp.
Change of state without loosing warmth.
The adiabatic process is a term used in thermodynamics and is used in the context of technology of refrigerators. The sound of our 25 years old refrigerator is a constant background noise filling the space of the flat with a natural kind of drone. It undermines my attention. What is the tune of the refrigerator? The sound work Adiabasie is the result of a search for musical interaction with my intimate environment in times of isolation. By searching for resonances between the refrigerator and my voice the sounds melt into each other in an adiabatic way. Change of state without loosing warmth.
Nathalie Brum [*1988, Katowice] is a german-polish architect, composer and performer of experimental music. Her focus is on the observation of acoustical material like profane background and technical noise and the confrontation of the recipients with translocated material.
Her sound installation ‘Gesang der Maschinen’ will be displayed in the Oper Wuppertal in October 2021.
Nationality and location:
The synthesized organ. A transformation from one condition to another.
Transition zone. The technical is framing the organic. We are separated.
Bulbs are shining. Still.
Trying to experiment the warp.
Extinct in the wild.
The one eyed frog.
At the beginning of first Corona wave in Germany I decided not to waste time and to learn a new instrument. My choice fell on a lapsteel guitar because of my former research on Hawaiian yodelling. In the music store, the seller told me that any strings that would normally be available for this type of instrument were sold out because Corona started a trend on learning new musical techniques and instruments. Therefore it took several months before I could even start exploring this new cosmos of sound. Meanwhile I was thinking about how much terrible music or weird experimental stuff must be ongoing on in all the flats equipped with new instruments.
At the same time I got my braces to fix my crooked teeth at the age of 37 because it is the best time for this stuff because you have to stay at home. I also heard that shares for a special teeth therapy were incredibly rising in some countries during the pandemic. But because of that and Corona-life side-effects a special nightmare occurred with unpleasant regularity, which had to do with sudden, unreasonable tooth loss. At short intervals I dreamed that all of my teeth were falling out, while sleeping or talking. In general dream interpretation this indicates the fear of loss of control or the state of a dramatic change in near future. The “losing teeth” dream is super common and statistics in future will maybe prove that Corona increased numbers. Maybe not for music store owners and orthodontists. The piece combines these two stories in which I play the new instrument with plastic teeth for dentures. 2 states of excessive demand collide in order to find a release, to enjoy the helplessness through a satisfaction that arises in the moment of chance.
Welding Draper’s soundscape is comprised of looped samples taken from his personal record/CD collection and reflects a response to the use of radio in helping to combat feelings of isolation during recent Covid 19 lockdowns. Radio Waves 9' 53" evokes memories of faded novelty pop hits from the 1970’s whilst commenting on the birth of radio and the potential that broadcasting heralded. Communication systems have developed extensively since the turn of the 19th century, with techniques for manipulating sound opening many diverse opportunities for creative outcomes.
Welding Draper has created a haunting look backwards into time. It’s as if the ghost of Marconi is pushing us on to challenge what is broadcast and what is ultimately received.
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