The sonic art project
“soundCOLLECTIVE” – collective trauma, identity and sonic art
was released on 9 November 2015 as a stand-alone project- commemorating the “Night of Broken Glass” (9 November 1938 /Reichskristallnacht), when the NAZI in Germany were destroying the synagogues nationwide in one single night, but will be part of “://self~imaging” and its virtual and physical manifestations.
The project, divided into 3 parts for a better handling, initiated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne would like to sentitize people via sonic art for the phenomenon of collective trauma. The non-visual medium of soundart has a particular potential to express affection via a wide range of soundtools.
SoundLAB has been an active project environment between 2004 and 2010 – featuring each year another edition of soundart online – in total 7 editions – see also http://soundlab.newmediafest.org
Soundartists from all over the world were invited to submit a sound piece dealing with collective trauma. There is no need to go back 70 years ago, but collective trauma happens every day before our very eyes in the media whether via desasters of nature, genocides, the refugees persecuted and expelled from their home countries in Africa or Middle East,. collective trauma is currently toucning everyone’s life more or less dramatically. So, it is more than worth to express one’s feelings and emotions via artistic media like soundart.
“soundCOLLECTIVE” will become in 2016 also corporate part of the exhibition project “://self~imaging – artist show face against Intolerance, Racism, Xenophobia and Antisemitism – http://self.engad.org/2016/
Hilda Daniel (Singapore) ECHOLULLIA, 2015, 3:00 min
Elizabeth Wood (Canada) – Lamentation 2015, : 5 min. 40 sec.
Jing Yyu (South Korea) – Daytime: Rebirth of the City, 2015, 7:23
Cezary Ostrowski (Poland) – I Don’t Deny, 2014, 1:32
Kristopher Reeder (UK) – 28 Trombones, 2015, 6:54
Pit Molling (Germany) – Sawtooth, 2015, 5′ 51”
Martin Klusák (Czech Republic) Princess in the Iron Mask , 2014 , 15′ 26”
Yaniv Kuris (Israel) – Cataclysm II/קטאקליזם II , 2014, 4:59
Music For Installations/Pieter Gyselinck – Synesthesia 2-Identity Crisis, 2013, 5:33
Marcus Beuter (Germany) – forgotten, 2015, 9:59
Echolullia is a chorus of lullabies. Beautiful and broken, it is a response to and representation of the psychic violence of the holocaust, of collective trauma, of any kind of genocide. For Echolullia, I asked friends, mothers, to send me a recording of themselves singing a song they used to sing to their babies; the piece also uses other sound incarnations of lullabies. As songs sung to soothe infants, as prayers for safety and happiness, lullabies are an intimate evocation of what is lost in the ravages of collective violence. The name of the piece is derived from “echolalia”, a term used to describe the sounds babies make to mimic those they’ve heard, and the automatic repetition of another’s spoken words (sometimes thought to be a symptom of mental illness). Echo is used in the piece to represent this mimicry, alluding to the title – its sound and meaning; to represent a multitude of voices – the collective; serial repetition (in art) and serial killing (in war); and as a representation of time tumbling in on itself, like a memory of violence recurring. In Echolullia, things start to go backwards, the delicate tynes of a music box twist in a deep bass of dread, words are cut off, bits are displaced, spectred and repeating, sounds and utterances and breathing more expressive than the words they used to be. Like the piece, spiraling in and out of the lullabies, each victim of the collective is some one’s baby, a life cut short, displaced and out of context, out of family, the mother the father hope severed, the sisters the brothers, the friends, multiplying, intimate and singular and resonating outward in ruptures of the psyche, passed on with the stories and songs from generation to generation. A chaos of loss remains behind the words, in every lull and lullaby, its there in every breath.
The singers are Rachael Daniel, Regina Drenik, Joanne Levine, and Linda Midori. They include my sister – whose experience of the holocaust comes from stories of our parents and families in Japanese concentration camps in Singapore during WWII, and my oldest friend, who counsels holocaust survivors. The sounds used include traditional American and French folk songs; a music box playing the melody from Johannes Brahms, op.49, Nr 4 and the same performed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936) in 1915; Louisa May Alcott’s poem, Lullaby, read by Ezwa in Belgium in October, 2009; and other songs/recording in the public domain.
Hilda Daniel is a multi-media artist based in New York City (from Singapore and Los Angeles, family from India and Iraq). Her work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals in New York, London, Berlin, Oslo, Dublin, Marseille and other cities in Europe, US, Canada and Mexico – including the Anthology Film Archives, NYC; Oslo Screen Festival; online as a finalist in the SXSWclick festival and as part of Museum of Modern Art’s SoundCloud site for its exhibition on John Cage’s 4’33”; in curated sound/cinema events at the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, NYC, the British Library, London, and the Whitworth, Manchester, UK; reviewed in The New York Times, Performance Art Journal, New Art Examiner and other publications.
I am drawn to make art works focused on the interior self – specifically in the context of loss and vulnerability, and I gravitate to both installation and sound art as the means of reflecting those particular complexities of our inner lives in the most visceral manner possible.
My art practice has been largely text-based and my approach frequently involves the appropriation and re-assembly of evocative words and phrases from art history, literature, opera and popular culture. I am drawn to the reshaping of historical materials, already rich with meaning, in order to release their potential to generate other layers of interpretation or response in fresh conceptual and emotional contexts. In focusing on loss and vulnerability, I attempt to address themes of subjective yet universal experience set against the larger backdrop of life.
In responding to the call out for a sound piece focused on the theme of Collective Trauma, I have selected and re-formed phrases from news events that reflect the brutality that groups of people have inflicted upon others in varying degrees of scale around the world. I have referenced notorious events that we are all familiar with historically, such as the Holocaust and Cambodia, as well as more current atrocities of a relatively smaller scale such as the actions of the drug cartels that inflict ongoing trauma on Mexican communities. The sound piece is structured in the manner of a lament in order to reflect the mourning and sorrow we experience at the pain, suffering and terror caused by these acts. The phrases allude to the collective nature of the trauma inflicted not only upon those who have died or have been forced to await an almost certain death, but also upon the survivors who relive the events, vicariously and relentlessly, in their imaginations.
In the sound piece I refer to 41 sites around the world where brutality has occurred and where subsequent collective trauma has taken root. While these sorts of atrocities continue to occur in various parts of the world with alarming regularity, it is necessary to be selective in presenting a work like this. These particular references attempt to capture the multitudinous ways in which the brutality is manifested and the pervasive trauma is entrenched.
By using phrases from news events, I also seek to draw attention to the impact news coverage has on the listeners and viewers who have had no direct involvement. Although the acts of barbarism we hear about on a nearly daily basis cause significant anxiety, fear and stress for many, for others, the ongoing bombardment of horror may trigger a numbness to the suffering. I hope that by transferring these ‘headlines’ to a work of this sort, some listeners will be re-sensitized to the massiveness of the accumulating atrocities and that sensibilities and responses will be re-awakened.
Through good fortune, I live in a relatively peaceful and politically stable country which embraces diversity and often seems far removed from the devastation experienced elsewhere. Yet through the daily news stories that reach me, I appreciate how depressingly thin the veil of civilization is, and I cannot help but wonder “why them and not me?”. This art work is my effort to pause and reflect, however momentarily, on the nature of such suffering and the legacy of collective trauma that pervades so many parts of the world.
In the hills and valleys of Armenia
In the killing fields of Cambodia
In all corners of Rwanda
From the ashes of Ground Zero
In the heat of the Syrian desert
On a desperate journey across the Mediterranean
In the blue sky over Yemen
Beneath the sands of Atacama
In the depth of the Congolese Forest
On the streets of Baltimore
In the turbulent waters of the Black Sea
In the hills surrounding Iguala
Within the homes of Ugandan men and women
On the southern Somali coast
In the cities and towns of Bangladesh
In the faces of girls rescued from Boko Haram
On boats in the Andaman Sea
In a Black church in Charleston
At a university campus in Kenya
On a mountain in northern Iraq
In the villages of South Sudan
In the slums of Burundi
On the island of Sri Lanka
In the green landscape of Ethiopia
In the rain that floods Dohuk
Inside a school in Gaza
In a forested hilltop of Central African Republic
In the bullet holes of a Sarajevo building
At a residential school in Ontario
Within a shopping mall in Nairobi
On a bus in Tel Aviv
Along the American Trail of Tears
Before a silent wasteland in Ukraine
Beneath a dark cloud over Halabja
In Tiananmen Square
Beyond the plains of Nineveh
From the ruins of Nanking
In the port city of Smyrna
In a North Korean prison camp
On a street corner in Havana
I studied visual art at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and in the Visual Arts program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. My art education began when emphasis was placed on ‘open studio’ investigation as a means of nurturing opportunities for intellectual curiosity and wide-ranging experimentation. My art practice has since evolved in a conceptual manner crossing boundaries into hybrid genres that include text and sound- based work. I am currently exploring the use of the public domain where, removed from the confines of the art gallery, I hope to generate a more poignant visceral and emotional experience for the viewer.
When we talking about the noises of the city, noises from construction site always being the biggest issue. But in some cases, they represent a new hope of a city.
In this sound piece, sound sources are recorded from a construction site in Ya’an, China, a year after a 7.0 earthquake.
Disasters destroyed humans’ lives, reducing the city to a shambles, removing the traces of evolutions. Everything seams to go back to zero. What I’ am eager to find out is the desire for surviving, which pushes human beings keep going on. The things they have suffered, the families and lovers they lost
All of those traumas knocked them down suddenly, yet they get up with strong faiths for reconstruction. Thence, the building fieldis more like a battlefield for rebirth.
Used tools : Zoom H4N Logic X
Musician, Sound designer From China, now based in New York
(I Don’t Deny (also called Best Band Ever) is a short musical manifesto of my attitude towards cooperation for mankind’s development)
visual artist and composer, born and living in Poland)
The seeks to draw upon the ceaseless trauma associated with conforming with broken systems by challenging the institutional model of the ensemble. The Classical ensemble represents broken colonial power systems which force musicians to conform and suffer if they do not conform. This piece deals with and challenges the notion of ensemble and conformity and asks the audience to reflect on the trauma of their own conformity.
Kris Reeder (born 1984) is an Oxford (UK) born Trombonist, Sonic Artist and Composer. Kris Reeder is widely considered to be one of the leading Trombonists of his generation. Kris Reeder has performed alongside world-class musicians and conductors across many genres including: Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Laura Wright (Classical), Pat Thomas, Derek Watkins, Kenny Wheeler and Dennis Rollins (Jazz). Kris Reeder has been broadcast by major international media companies including: BBC television, BBC radio, Sky, ITV and regularly appears in major print media.
Kris Reeder started playing the Trombone at the age of 11 (1996). He was first exposed to Jazz when he participated in a free jazz/performance project when he was 14 (1999), gaining inspiration from the ‘unfinished’ nature of jazz. Kris won a scholarship to study at the world renowned Royal College of Music Junior Department, London at 16 (2001) and went onto win a scholarship to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, London when he was 18 (2003), studying Bass trombone under Bob Hughes FRAM in James Watson’s Brass Department at RAM. As a young professional trombonist Kris has circulated widely with global music icons and has performed alongside Jazz legends such as: Derek Watkins, Kenny Wheeler and Pat Thomas. Kris has performed across London at most of the major concert venues. Kris left the Royal Academy during the second year (2005), to focus on electronic and free jazz music recording.
In the summer of 2011 I traveled to Poland to visit the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. In my subjective perception the previously absorbed information on the Holocaust were henceforth subject to an emotional and discursive detachment. Where feelings prevail, there will be no room for words. Subsequently, I began producing a series of works entitled Nature morte (Still Life): a set of digital drawings and a sound piece. The latter reflects my personal and concrete memory of the sentiment I felt on the premises.
Confronted with the moral problem of using the Holocaust as an art theme, I wasn’t able to figure out how to represent something as extreme, when theoretically one cannot do so without in some way validating the culture that produced it. After considering the risk of trivializing the issue with my representation, I excluded the project from my artistic work. Not till 2015 I decided to resume the work on the series and to expand it’s concept in theorie on current political tendencies. The call addressed to sound artists for the project soundCOLLECTIVE comes my way at the right time and provides an ideal platform to present the sound piece. Sawtooth from the series Nature morte (2011-2015) is a two-channel, synthetic so-called sawtooth sound. The evolution of the piece is progressive but slow. The industrial, oppressive character is subject to a continuous pressure buildup. At its peak, it draws a fine line between distance and proximity. Designed for headphones, this sound piece was produced in Propellerhead Reason 8 with the plugin Thor and mastered in Pro Tools 11 using the plugins Izotope RX4, Slate Digital VRM, Fabfilter Pro Bundle, Waves Gold Bundle and Audioease Altiverb 7.
Pit Molling was born 1984 in Luxembourg. He started experimenting with sound and producing electronical pieces at the age of 14. In 2012 he graduated as “Meisterschüler” from the Freie Akademie der bildenden Künste, Essen. As a mixed media artist, he participated in several group exhibitions in Berlin, Essen and Luxembourg and was nominated in 2012 with his concept of Digital Drawings for the Essener Förderpreis. 2014 he began to include sound as a medium in his artistic work. After the premiere of 365 degree – a hand drawn digital movie realised in collaboration with his younger brother, Max Molling – which for the occasion was presented with a live performance of the Luxembourg Studio Orchestra at the Philharmonie Luxembourg in April 2014, Pit Molling was nominated for the international digital art award The Lumen Prize. In 2014 and 2015 the film was presented within the framework of The Lumen Prize Exhibition at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, at the Institute of Technology on Broadway in New York as well as in Amsterdam, Cardiff and in London. During the Museum’s Night in October 2014, 365 degree was projected on the front of the Musée national d’histoire et d’art in Luxembourg City.
The composition created for the 25th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution is concerned with the topic of “iron curtains” of today, and by means of free fiction it reflects upon the specific realities of the relationship between the Czech Republic and North Korea after 1989. Main inspiration were stories of North Korea refugees which were published in a lengthy article in the National Geographic, dated February 2009 – and especially the 2006 reports of the sociologist Marie Jelínková about North Korea women in the Czech Republic, as well as my own interview with Jelínková.
I have chosen the form of radiophonic fiction with a reduced amount of dialogue. My template for the form is the non-verbal sound cinematography, i.e. films in which the leading dramatic role is given to other means of film speech rather than to words – camera shots, the set-up of the scene, action and movement, cut, sound etc. The form is also inspired by a contemporary popular genre of docufiction (documentary fiction) in which the authorial aesthetics is achieved by the director’s purposeful manipulating or influencing the recorded reality without necessarily setting up a clear border between reality and fiction. Although the composition does contain dialogues, I endeavor to withdraw from the traditional verbal approach of a radio play, and by means of mere sound I try to convey the imagination of a film image and story.
In the composition, I work almost exclusively with sounds I recorded myself, some of which were grabbed at the true locations of North Korean laborers’ stories (Khabarovsk, a Russian far eastern city, or a Czech town Beroun).
Martin Klusák (b. 1987)
began to compose music in relation to his sound and music production for films. He has been involved in filmmaking since 2006 as a student of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. Later on he also started working as an independent sound designer. In 2010 he began to study composition at the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU) with Professor Ivana Loudová and he gradually became focused on concert works as well. During his short time of working in this area, he has won a range of awards, such as the first prizes of the Prague Philharmonic Choir’s competition (Prague, 2012) and of the Generation Competition at the Janáček May Festival (Ostrava, 2014), the audience prize in the Berg Orchestra’s competition (Prague, 2013), the award for the best Czech electroacoustic composition in the Musica Nova Competition (Prague, 2011, 2014), etc. As the producer of the sound part he contributed to a feature film, The Great Night (Velká noc), which won the first prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava in 2013.
’The hatred which had again erupted against the Jews in Hungary, is similar to the earthquake on the island, of which we had heard today; Like flames rising from the fires of Isavia, or the eruption of the volcanoes in the provinces of Java; For the anxiety of one’s spirit and essence! It is also beyond science and is also incomprehensible!’
Old Jerusalem, 1883. My great-great-grandfather, David Baumgarten, the Jewish correspondent of ‘Hamagid’ newspaper, writes an article about the famous blood libel of Tiszaeszlár, a small village in Hungary, which happened in 1882. Although the defendants were acquitted eventually, but the Tiszaeszlár affair, the trial and its consequences led to Pogroms throughout Hungary in 1882 and 1883. In this particular paragraph Baumgarten mentions the Krakatoa eruption which, along with the tsunami which followed, led to the death of at least 35,000 people in south-east Asia, in the Antisemitic context.
David Baumgarten’s linkage of the two events – a force majeure and a man-made disaster is
religious in essence: Man depends on the heavens, and Baumgarten, in his home in Jerusalem, watches without being able to do anything, but is probably able to find some consolation in his religious belief. The helplessness and the place of man in the face of cataclysm cry out when reading his text from 1883, but is a non-religious modern day man able to find a way to ease the fear, can he find reason in the unbelievable horror, while watching it unfold?
Cataclysm II/קטאקליזם II uses texts about the Tiszaesler blood libel from Hamagid as well as eye-witness accounts of the Krakatoa disaster as source materials.
Yaniv Kuris (b. 1973)
is a sound-artist and musician based in Jerusalem, Israel. His works involve various methods of composition, experiments in sound and music, soundscapes, sometimes involving the use of text and multi-media collaborations. He has also made some soundtracks, sound installations, and in 2013 released his debut album, titled ‘Works’.
One of the side-effects of abundant mass-media and social connection is the wide spreading of images and footage about people lost, on the run, in crisis. These social connections also make it possible to have a massive spread-out of lies, denial and insults countering these collective traumas. This contrast between reality and denial almost certainly can causes collective damage on the identity of these fugitives or prisoners of conflict. The connection with the submitted soundscape lies in this feeling of lost identity, this uncertainty of life and future, this pain of being alive.
MFI had a connection with individual trauma in earlier work. This music broadens the project into the collective plan. Originally this music is a part of a cycle of soundscapes influenced by nature sounds and effects. These are used, transformed and reinjected as drones. Let this track be a way of communication between this identity loss and the world standing around it, possibly ignoring or minimizing it.
Music For Installations (author: Pieter Gyselinck)
Music for installations has the purpose of seeking out the perpetuum mobile in music. The idea behind the music is to draw the listener completely into a sonic scape. The accent is more on the impact of the sound as a whole, as a provocation to get emotions or reactions out of the listener.
War is an extraordinary situation for societies. It creates collective traumas and the aftermath stays mainly for people who experienced it. War is always present, there are always wars. In countries of peace we are used to get information or at least opinions about some of the current wars. They seem to drop on and off the agenda without any influence of the consumer of news.
So many wars have been forgotten, so much distruction dropped out of our focus.
The piece forgotten is about a place where war has been, where several times collective traumas occurred. It is a place where is no peace until today.
In december 2011 I travelled with two french artists to Nagorno-Karabach, a non-recognised state in South Caucasus. The war about this territory has taken place after the end of the Soviet Union. For more then 20 years exists a cease-fire, but no peace treatment.
On the eastern border of Nagorno-Karabach is a buffer zone by the Armenian and Karabachian army. Officially territory of Azerbaijan, it is a no man’s land. Here are the remnants of the city of Agdam, which has been razed.
One of the artists and I decided to visit this former city. The piece forgotten is based on recordings I did from the moment we got up that morning, our breakfast with our host, the travel to the capital, in order to get a visa to be allowed to go to an archaelogical excavation close to the border, on the travel there, the talk with people in a museum who organised us a taxi to bring us into this devastated place until we got into the taxi again to go back to our host.
We stayed for approximately four hours at this place where has been a city before. It has been abandoned, controlled by the army.
We split up to be alone with this extraordinary situation.
After a while a dog tried to chase me. A young man accoured and asked me to follow him. He led me to one of the five houses I saw which still have a roof. He with two other man used it as a stable for their flock of sheep. They offered me tea, gave a lamb on my lap and even if we couldn’t talk to each other as we didn’t share any language we sat together for one hour.
It was a striking moment, to find life in the middle of a totally devastated place.
Afterwards I walked the streets again, tried to document the silence, the absence of the former city life.
There are several information about the population figure of Agdam when it got destroyed. 50.000 is the number that circulates regulary. 50.000 people had to flee or died. Everyone who survived got traumatised.
The title of this piece is forgotten, because the conflict is forgotten, the people are forgotten. It is not a particular piece about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is not a statement towards or against any party of conflict. Agdam is in this moment a synonym for all forgotten places of violent conflicts, of war situations, of destruction caused by humans.
was born in 1968 in Wuppertal, Germany. Sound artist and composer of electro acoustic music. Journeys through Europe, Iran, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Gambia, Senegal, USA, Georgia, Armenia. Co-founder of fragmentrecordings. Sound installations, electroacoustic compositions, free improvisation. Member of Cooperativa Neue Musik and part of the head of DEGEM. Several Ensembles – e.g. TATUNTAT and Ensemble Stationen NRW – and collaboration with musicians and artists of different genres. Liveperformances: in Armenia, Germany, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary. Artist residencies: Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory, Armenia, 2011/2012 AKOS, Armenia, 2013 Divadelni noviny, Czech Republic, 2014 Workshops: listening and voice improvisation with Laureline Koenig 2013, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabach; 2014, Iran field recording 2013, Slovenia; 2015, Germany listening 2013, Bosnia-Herzegowina; 2014, MARTa Germany Sound installations, fixed media (excerpt): schmerz, 2014 the quest, 2013 in the building, 2013 track, 2012 little hums of bangladesh, 2012 sound lines, 2011/12 auguries of innocence, 2011 sitting in a glass house – skimming stones, 2011 rhethororio, 2011 Organisation of festivals and social art: bielefelder SCHWÄRME, 2014 5. Diagonale, 2013 Festivals (excerpt): Fest i Nova’13, Georgia, 2013 Organism of sound – sound of organism, Slovenia, 2013 PNEM Sound Art Festival, NL, 2012 Le Off Avignon, France, 2012 NoiseFloor Festival, Staffordshire, England , 2011