From Jan 15 -March 15 2021, SoundsAbout joined CTM and Transmediale’s Vorspiel program, carving out an OTIUM for artists from UdK’s Sound Studies and Sonic Arts community to build and share sounding works with the public via digital platforms.

Otium was an invitation to think of leisure not as the opposite of production, not as an activity of standardized consumption into which society falls when faced with free-suspended time, but as a matter of thinking-practice, a passage opened from the potential to act, and as an activity that cultivates the desire for becoming of the one who practises it, the desire to raise oneself above oneself.

We built platform for artistic gestures and creative movements of self-shaping through self-discipline and self-practise, a platform for the will of self-production as self-other through techniques of becoming, for poetics to the precise extent that it is a poiesis. This was and will continue to be a space for self-shaping which makes sense as a social sculpture, in which the social is a memory that tends towards oblivion. Scroll down for an extensive archive of the works that took place within the OTIUM framework.

JANUARY 15, 2021

Martin Moolhuijsen:
The Sound of a Pupil Shrinking

How long does it take for a pupil to contract and dilate? Stillness in movement and instants in duration flicker and mingle in this black and white film, structuring a rigorous dance of metrical proportions that explores rhythmical structures applied to video and consequently to the eye. An attempt of a description of an impossible synesthesia of light and sound. But in the end, it is just another video about pixels. 

JANUARY 22, 2021

Taiga Trigo:
What would a decolonized Lisbon sound like?

“What would a decolonized Lisbon Sound like?” in this particular format, is an audiovisual testimony of 6 sound interventions in public spaces, that took place in Lisbon in the beginning of December 2020. As suggested in the title, this sound-art work is anti-racist, postcolonial and utopic in nature. These interventions were NOT enacted to affect passersby, stir up a reaction in local authorities, or even to constitute a documentary with which to sensitize white Portuguese masses on the, still to this day denied, every-day racism and structural racism prevalent in this country, or its relation to the glorification of sites iconic to Portuguese colonialism. Instead, this project enacted a “gesture” of symbolic nature in support of the voices of Lisbon-based agents of the anti-racism movement. All interventions are vocal recordings, created by those who voice them as a response to the question “what would a decolonized Lisbon sound like?” specifically spoken with the site they would “occupy” in mind. For the sake of the audiovisual object here, the sound identity of these “colonialism-charged” spaces is revealed before this sonorous “silencing” is disrupted by the vocalizations.

This project was a collaborative effort with Naky Gaglo, (founder of the African Lisbon Tour and real estate Agent), Carla Fernandes (founder of AfroLis, radioblog and community), Selma Uamusse (Singer), Nuna (actress, screenwriter, playwright), Isabel Taunay (producer and sound-recordist) and Joyce Newzrella (videographer). It belongs to them and what will happen to it is up to them.

It is also relevant to add that behind this work there was also an interest in understanding how privilege (particularly white privilege) and power can be used as a tool and as a platform to re-balance or redistribute that same power and privilege; questioning also the ways in which sound-art can take part in political action. It was informed by the writings of Audrey Lord, particularly the 1977 text “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”, the book “Plantation Memories”(2010) by Grada Kilomba and the work and book “Black Imagination” by Natasha Marin (2020).

JANUARY 25, 2021

Aleks Filipiak:
Intro to Metal

Intro to Metal” is a prepared mix highlighting aesthetics found in the introductory tracks of underground  Black Metal releases on cassette tapes. These cassettes are distributed by independent labels or within  tape trading circles, which were and still are crucial to the development and philosophy of the genre.  The sound of black metal (BM) relies heavily on the aesthetics of obscurity, amateurism and noise.  Nowhere in the genre are these characteristics more pronounced than in underground BM cassette tapes.  These tapes exhibit shrill, nihilistic barbarism created with contempt and disregard for production and  recording norms. Despite the harsh extremity of the main course, these cassettes are often bookended by exhibits of beauty and romanticism, fantastical and visceral story telling; adventure, battle, destiny, pagan rituals and folk dances. Sounds commonly heard include field recordings, acoustic instruments, basic  synths and the spoken word.  Despite their important role of creating mood and atmosphere, these compositions are often pushed to the  wayside. This mix aims to highlight the intros/outros of underground BM releases as compositions

FEBRUARY 1-8, 2021

Sean Regan and Ani Samperi:

Ani Samperi and Sean Regan occupied the gallery space for one week to collaborate on their ongoing musical instrument building project. In their book on the cut-up technique, William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin say that whenever two people collaborate, a ‘third mind’ is always present. Over seven days of exploration, experimentation, improvisation, instrument building and listening, Samperi and Regan sought to develop a collaborative improvisational presence, distinct from the voices of the two human participants. The artists documented their discoveries and experiences from their gallery dwelling throughout the week. Each night at 8pm, the artists live-streamed their work in progress as live streamed, free-form sonic lab-report of their findings.

FEBRUARY 12, 2021

Mariana Carvalho and Mitchell Keaney

Mariana Carvalho and Mitchell Keaney explore the resonant spaces of the body, human voice, water and synthesizer as one. They improvise with contact microphones to externalize the inner movements of their bodies, a hydrophone to amplify the motion of water and voice inside a large cooking pot (i.e. the body) and a modular synthesizer. Machine, natural elements, flesh and bones, sound in organized rhythm, repeated patterns, muffled textures, bubbles and slightly chaotic gestures, combining organic and inorganic.

FEBRUARY 15, 2021

David Rimsky-Korsakow
kurōtadori – die sinfonie der amsel

EIN MEER AUS BÄUMEN. david rimsky-korsakow’s second symphony operates within tensions of rough, analogue new music and digitally cold, electronical noise. the cutscenes built around actress juliane götz take place in the lingering woods of the black forest, inject a poetic narrative into the ecosystem. a piece between a mossy botanic soilwork and live concert.

samples/synth – david rimsky-korsakow
cello/synth – nika shamugia guitar – marius roedlmeier
acting/voice – juliane götz
art direction – mickey clews (punch visual)
inspired by junji itos “black bird”

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

Eagle Wu

ParaS is a parametric sound Installation in dynamic form. The positioning of the speakers allows sound to be spatialized in an irregular way. A performance with sensors takes place within the installation, as the performer controls the way sound moves within the space. A dynamic form is created by algorithms and sound movements follow the form provided by the installation,  allowing for the performer to experiment with the reactions between sound reacts and irregular forms in space. The installation uses a set of custom-made fixed dimension speakers, which can be reused in future installations, allowing for possible future transformations.

FEBRUARY 21, 2021

Hyewon Suk

“The lake is a large tranquil eye. The lake takes all of light and makes a world out of it. Through it, the world is already contemplated, already represented.” – Gaston Bachelard

“Waterside” is a live performance influenced by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard.  In his works, Bachelard proposed diverse poetic material images of water arising from the matter itself rather than from the form as a way of formal imagination. As one of the four classical elements, water has an image of intimacy, flux, birth, and death, etc. “Waterside” responds to Bachelard’s poetic approach by using real water as a main material of visual accompaniment. Experimenting with the relationship between audio and visual, “Waterside” focuses on the physicality of the sound. The visual composition is created by the physical effect of the sound and the water enables us to see this connected relationship. The audience sees the world reshaped or reconstructed by the sound, specifically through the lens of water.

FEBRUARY 26, 2021

Airopera – A breathing dystopia

In our days, a mask is a charged symbol during the pandemic, referencing the different ways that an item of prophylaxis can be politicised in the face of an airborne pathogen. The mask distorts the voice and is an item of human synthesis, that is to say, it is a technological device that changes the expressions of the wearer.

In Airopera, 3P’Group connected four masks through electronic-analogue amplification systems by sending the outputs from a microphone situated inside each mask to a speaker system mounted outside of a different mask. One microphone to a mask linked in series, in a daisy chain. When a source of output is exposed to its own input, a feedback loop is created, which focuses and amplifies resonant signals. The voice, which comes out of the face of an individual who is wearing a mask in this particular technological inter-connexion, is the sound of the person in the matrix to their immediate right hand side.

The amplified voice can be silenced, magnified, distorted and exaggerated into feedback. That is, the proximity of the sound can be made more or less, closer or further away, more or less intimate. The feedback analogy reverberates with our current circumstances, in which our survival is linked to our adjacency and the alteration of the contemporary human relationships: to stay separated, in order to prevail and avoid Covid-19 feedbacks.

MARCH 5, 2021

Voyage Voyage

“Voyage Voyage” is a personal journey into the hidden parts of oneself. Based on C.G. Jung’s theories, EKHEO use the performance’ space as a metaphor of the human’s psyche. In this work one can access the unknown, the shadow laying within by means of sound and vision. 

It is an invitation of a journey into not yet integrated parts. Here one encounters the dark, repressed and hidden sides of the self. One can feel fascinated, attracted and threatened by its appearances: it is mysterious, frightening, calm, healing, chaotic, intense, masculine and feminine at the same time. 

“True, whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. . . . The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s own shadow. The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is.” (Carl Jung, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, §§ 43–52).

In order to convey this ambivalence, EHKEO create a sonic and visual environment. Sounds and visuals combine and create an invitation to dive into these themes through the visual and aural senses.

MARCH 9, 2021

Kim Wichera
Panel discussion: What is the nature of psychiatric auditory experience?

“Listening to the world is not an innate, universal capacity, the logical result of ears encountering sound waves. Rather, it is something we learn how to do, and we learn how to listen in an environment that is already shaped by and coursing with power.” [Daughtry 2015]  

A sound’s salience and emotional charge depends upon the life histories of the people who hear it, and upon the  comparative backdrop against which they listen to the sounds that are emplaced in a particular time and location. 

As a starting point of an attempt to find new vocabularies, new theoretical models and new arguments about listening in general as well as about psychiatric institutions, Kim Wichera asks a range of panelists who work in psychiatric institutions or who have been users of these services about the relationship between sounds, listeners, environments and psychiatric systems.

Panelists: Karin Jervert, Dr. Kristina Eiche, Kristel Jax and Dr Tom Rice.

MARCH 12, 2021

Chung Tat Sham, Hou Lam Wu:

Are we capable of driving the vehicle of democracy? Robots is an online sound experience in which discussions and decision-making among participants influence the course of the experience. It questions the nature of human and artificial beings, as well as the rights of expressing one’s views and decisions for the collective, through a classic play “R.U.R”. Individuals’ actions have an effect and consequence towards themselves, as well as the collective. How does the collision of opinion between yours and the group sound to you? How could the value of collective decision be told by sonic experience?