Thanks to Lesia Vasylchenko for inviting me to be part of this online exhibition in the new unknown platform in a group exhibition of artists working on ideas around “in-between” . I participated with the article “On dis-location:listening and re-composing with others” originally published in the Academic Journal “Reflections on Process in Sound”. The Unknow intiative is born in the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, where this online platform is displaying works and research-based projects dedicated to digital culture, philosophy, and media, in the format of online group exhibition.
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For one-month eight migrant women, residing in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Austria and the United States explored ideas of migration, belonging and place. By practicing Deep Listening to their voices, dreams, memories, body and the outer environment, they recognised the vast territories that they inhabit and how these connect with their inner self, transcending identities and the sense of belonging to a specific ‘place’; listening to the rich complexity that is generated through space, time and memory in the migratory experience. Suelo Fértil ended with a public live telematic improvisation between the eight women, taking place simultaneously in London, Mexico and Linz: a conversation with words, and sounds that nourishes a fertile soil to inhabit migratory contexts. Using binaural sound and bi-directional audio, the processes of listening, connection and performance focused on questioning what are the conditions that each requires for that soil to breathe as fertile. They were joined by other women from the audience while exploring through sonic actions the shared migratory conditions of uncertainty, certainty and risk. Technical problems with the connection between London and Mexico changed the course of the planned performance, and created instead a local performance in London, and a telematic performance between Mexico and Linz. The improvisation that took place in all
spaces highlights the courage of women to react creatively to the challenge of crossing Internet borders for sound streaming, and to reflect on all sonic artifacts that came unexpectedly, as interferences that question at once: migration, technologies and the capacity of listening and sounding to communicate one’s deepest feelings and create connections beyond challenging technological conditions.
Within the project PoéticaSonora | México 2016, and in collaboration with Radio Centro de Cultura Digital, lleom team members will have a talk with the Colombian artist Ximena Alarcón, whose telematic performances explore the migratory experience based on the poetics and practice of deep listening. In addition to the talk, a radiophonic performance shall be transmited, with the participation of Ximena Alarcón in London, María Ponce in Reading, Yasmin Kuymizakis in France and Miho Hagino and Ana Cecilia Medina in Mexico City.
The performance is a continuation of Suelo Fértil, an immersive experience exchanging dreams and sounds derived from migration and fertility metaphors. Suelo Fértil originated as a performance project commissioned by Arte en Tránsito UNESCO, Mexico, May 2016. Now, Suelo Fértil continues as a remote creative sound collective of migrant women.
Un Performance Telemático Sonoro:una improvisación en vivo entre 4 mujeres en Londres, 3 en México y 1 en Linz, explorando ideas de migración, y sentido de pertenencia a un lugar.
Liderado por Ximena Alarcón para el Foro Arte en Tránsito organizado por UNESCO, Mexico City.
Performers Conversación: Ana Cecilia Medina, Gabriela Gordillo, Jazmín, María Ponce, Miho Hagino, Sol, Yasmin Kuymizakis, Yesica Barrera
Esta improvisación telemática invita a cultivar un diálogo virtual de palabras, voces y sonidos entre mujeres migrantes en México y el Reino Unido, que nutra un suelo fértil para habitar en contextos migratorios.
En un proceso de reflexión personal y colectivo, a través de Internet, ocho mujeres migrantes en México, el Reino Unido, Austria y los Estados Unidos, han trabajado durante un mes la Escucha Profunda (Deep Listening) incluyendo la escucha a sus sueños, memorias, cuerpo y el ambiente que las rodea. De esta manera ellas han reconocido los vastos territorios en los que habitan y cómo éstos se conectan con su ser interno, trascendiendo identidades y el sentido de pertenencia a un lugar, escuchando la rica complejidad que se genera a través de tiempo, espacio y memoria, en la experiencia migratoria.
Utilizando sonido binaural, y conexión de audio bi-direccional, el performance conectará a través de Internet espacios físicos, en Ciudad de México, Londres y Linz, desde donde las participantes compartirán los espacios descubiertos con la audiencia y explorarán de manera creativa condiciones para fluir, respirar y expandirse de manera fértil. Apropiando acciones y espacios sonoros de incertidumbre, certeza y riesgo, ellas serán acompañadas por otras mujeres presentes en la audiencia como expresión compartida de la condición migratoria.
En Londres el performance se llevará a cabo en CRiSAP a las 5pm (hora Londres) y es co-producido por Holly Ingleton. En Mexico el performance se llevará a cabo en la Plaza de las Artes del CENART a las 11am (hora Mexico). En Internet, el performance se podrá escuchar en vivo via Resonance FM.
Suelo Fértil es parte del Foro “Arte en Tránsito” y comisionada por UNESCO México, en colaboración con CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) – London College of Communication, el Center for Deep Listening (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy), Resonance FM, Soundjack, y el Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART).
La improvisación será transmitida en vivo a través de Resonance FM.
Memory of Sounding Underground and Networked Migrations collaborating in ICT ART CONNECT. “ICT ART CONNECT.study is ran by iMinds and Artshare for DG CONNECT – European Commission. The study aims at characterizing and connecting artistic communities of ICT researchers at all levels. From this analysis, recommendations will be drawn for a DG CONNECT strategy to engage more broadly with the arts in Horizon 2020 – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.” Read more: http://www.ictartconnect.eu/interestingcalls
This year I had the opportunity to attend the symposium ‘Two Thousand and Fifteen’ exploring the theme ‘Fractured Narratives’ as part of ‘Sonorities’ a Festival of Contemporary Music in the Queen’s University Belfast. I presented a paper called ‘Improvising in the distance: Letters and Bridges’ focusing on the experience of Letters and Bridges telematic performance.
Symposium Fractured Narratives at QUB, April 25, 2015
Here the abstract of the paper:
“This paper explores forms of fractured narratives that arose in ‘Letters and Bridges’, a telematic sonic performance from the project ‘Networked Migrations’. This event invited migrants (non-performers) based in Mexico City and in Leicester, England to share personal letters through improvisational readings, using real-time, bi-directional, streaming sound (Alarcon, 2014). Six participants from different countries, speaking in different languages, engaged in a practice of Deep Listening (Oliveros, 2005) to prepare for the improvisation, which was performed first by using a letter sent to them by someone they love, and later by using a new letter written to their distant performance partner in a pen-pal fashion.
Repetition, fragmentation, and transformation of words—leading to newly created relations between languages and styles, between authors and recipients, and between historical contexts—all helped participants to cross metaphorical ‘bridges’: bridges to access the memory of the beloved one, and bridges to access that ‘stranger’ who is willing to listen to multiple levels of personal story created in the distance. The bridge, in this context, can be understood as the path that facilitates the flow of feelings and words within the fracture that distance generates. This fracture implies: migration, dislocation, conversation between strangers, and stories from other spaces and times in foreign languages. Technology paradoxically enables and disrupts the narratives. The listening process and the detachment from visual presence focuses one on sound as the only source for interaction.
The paper will analyse the process lived by the participants—from the first pre-performance encounter to the public performance—as well as the new stories and reflections that emerged from the disruptive interaction: reflections about colonised and coloniser countries, witness accounts of sadness and violence, and the desire to migrate again, escaping from ‘broken’ and repetitive landscapes, which signified political instability and stagnant routine.”
The symposium invited me to think and hear the discussion about the role of participants in artistic/research projects, and subjectivities. I think each work must respond to the dynamics of the context and the people involved. There are not formulas either for art processes or for working with people, but always keeping in mind an ethical approach. The amazing book of Ruth Behar ‘The Vulnerable Observer‘ is a good reminder of the involvement we had with others in the creative and research process, an anthropological perspective.
Networked Migrations and Sounding Underground were exhibited on the 25 of September, 2014, in the festival of electronic art Bozart, in Brussels, as part of artworks that engage communities and use ICT. It was a great opportunity to make these works known in Europe, and to be part of ICT Art Connect, where artists have the chance to tell the story of their work and envision future collaborations.
Listen, taste and travel through your body memories. Send us your taste with your voice, words and other means (via mic). Receive ours with your guts, heart and brain. In real time.
Tasting Sound, Listening to Taste (a shared telematic journey through food and migrations) was a 20-minute improvisatory telematic performance, prepared for the Festival of Performances at the 2nd Deep Listening Art/Science conference, and created by Ximena Alarcón, Inês Amado and Ron Herrema in London, and with guests Sharon Stewart, Joe Patatucci and Jonathan Hoefs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. It took place on the 13th of July, 2014, at 1:00pm Troy time, and 5:00pm, London time.
In the making of the initial menu, which we shared with our guests, we focused on aspects of relocation and transformation of sound and taste as they are mediated from one environment to another, one location to another location. We invited them to exchange playfully experiences of taste and sound.
What would be the sensation, the perception and the memory of tasting a sound made by the foreign ingredient, which helped make that sound? How do we experience the displacement, within our improvisation and how does it sound?
How does sound influence taste? And how does taste inform sound?
Our menu was informed by spontaneous connections we made in our daily life with taste and sound, and which we were exchanging by texting each other via mobile phones; these texts created the material, which was used in the performance. We are migrants based in the UK, where people have and still rely on food from all corners of the world. Our experiences of food are enlarged by the fact that we have been recently identified as being allergic to certain foods, perhaps as a result of global mobility of food, and our bodies’ acceptance or rejection of these. Our bodies are silent witnesses of our process of geographical mobility.
We intended to manifest the perception, intuition, sensation and feeling of the food we taste and the sounds it makes, while crossing the borders of our bodies and minds.
“It was lively and funny and juicy and crunchy! What a thought-provoking score, and it was really magical to be carried in the stream of your words, thoughts and sounds.” (Sharon Stewart)
“O yesss it was… yummy, visceral and TOTALLY satisfying (despite reports that we would never be satisfied) Would love to perform the piece again, I was sharing with Sharon and Joe the other day that the process of relating to my food memories and sounding them was a very transformative one for me. Afterwards, when we went to lunch, we were giddy and completely in another dimension. Certainly signs of success. ” (Jonathan Hoefs)
“I continue to sense the texture of the fig we shared together in telematic space. We may never have seen it but we tasted it together, so it must exist.” (Joe Patatucci)
A video with the sound of both locations is forthcoming.
Here you can listen to a sound collage of some moments of the improvisation, from London’s location. Although Troy’s side cannot be heard; only as a distant voice as if it were a telephonic conversation (voice heard through the headphones), it is interesting to note our pauses, and synchronised responses to their sounds.
We triggered pre-recorded sounds from computer keyboards via a PD interface created by Ron Herrema, and performed live sounds too. We connected via the software Jacktrip, and our sounds were played in the cafe area of EMPAC at Troy, New York, where our guests were, just before lunch.
Special thanks to Dave Samson, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), for his amazing and swift support for the technical setting (Jacktrip connection and amplification). Many thanks to the network support (IP addresses and ports) offered by Severin Adou and Santhanarajah Krishnarajah, at the University of the Arts London, and Dave Bebb and Brian Cook at RPI.
Many thanks to all improvisers for this listening exploration of memories, sounds and buds.
This performance was supported by Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP), based at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.