SOUNDS OF OUR CITIES
SOUND ART AND URBAN CONTEXT
City of Roeselare + Idensitat + Dear Hunter + Aalborg Universitet / 2019 - 2021
SOUNDS OF OUR CITIES is a European project of cultural cooperation based upon research and the transfer of knowledge among the spheres of art, technology and social space. It is led by the City of Roeselare, Idensitat, Dear Hunter and Aalborg Universitet. The project focuses on two local contexts (Krottegem in Roeselare and Sant Andreu in Barcelona), as a critical reflection upon cultural identity in relation to the concepts of community and silence.
The objective is to activate sound art ideas in order to create a story that, from contemporary reality, deals with the concept of "silenced spaces". Taking recall and memory as its point of departure, the project aims to offer a fictional landscape upon which to project various realities, while opening up debate upon current issues.
The project begins with an open call that offers a residence to 10 artists (5 to Roeselare and 5 in Barcelona). Selected projects are developed within each city’s social context as well as through a residence. Within the framework of SoOC, various mediation activities are taking place throughout the chosen locations, and two exhibitions are to be held in each city.
The actions begin with the mapping of the Dutch collective Dear Hunter, which is in charge of drawing up social maps in each of the selected areas, which at the same time may be used by the artists who carry out interventions in Roeselare and Barcelona.
A group of students from Aalborg University design a digital application for various devices (phone, web and tablet), which, through augmented reality and sound, form connections between locations, personal experiences and artistic projects.
Idensitat is curating the artistic projects in the two cities, and, as part of its curatorial research, produces a sound archive called Voices, consisting of interviews, sound art projects and experimental narratives, which are collected in podcast format. Idensitat is also responsible for the exhibitions in the two cities.
Krottegem is a popular neighbourhood in Roeselare, situated in the east side of the city next to the railway station. The City of Roeselare decided to develop a plan of action called “Krachtgebied Krottegem” (Impulse Krottegem). Roeselare intends to approach the challenges in a positive way using the power of the neighbourhood, including inhabitants, local businesses and associations. For a few years local people have been taking initiatives to improve daily life in the neighbourhood. Initiatives were also taken to enhance the look and feel of the neighbourhood, organising cultural activities and community driven initiatives. From the City of Roeselare the idea of “The Sound of our Cities” as an art exhibition / festival fits into the Krottegem neighbourhood regeneration process. That this kind of activity can improve the image of the neighbourhood and the city in the wider region, and offers the possibility to attract new activities, investments and (creative) entrepreneurship.
Sant Andreu is a district in the northern part of Barcelona with an industrial tradition. The area's prosperity originally came from agriculture, owing to the water that irrigated the land along the banks of the Rec Comtal as it made its way from Montcada to Barcelona. In the 19th century, following the establishment of the textile industry, the centre of Sant Andreu was home to some of the most important factories of the day, including Fabra i Coats, La Maquinista, Fabricació Nacional de Colorants as well as a large number of smaller companies and workshops. In 1897, Sant Andreu was annexed by Barcelona along with other municipalities on the Barcelona plain, but to this day remains the former town with the strongest sense of identity. Sant Andreu nowadays is a modern and lively neighbourhood, with a growing population, new green spaces, a variety of community activities, preservation projects for its heritage, and a modern take, understanding this heritage through culture, innovation and the encouragement of diversity. Idensitat has begun the groundwork in researching the area and initiating contact with local actors.
Artists and selected projects: Martí Madaula Esquirol, Banu Çiçek Tülü, John Grzinich, DAF and Marta Azparren & Pablo Martín Jones (Residency in Roeselare); Donia Jourabchi, Zsofia Szonja Illes, Raphael Daibert, In +dialog and Anne Fehres & Luke Conroy (Residency in Barcelona). The selection was made through an open call in which 155 proposals were submitted. (Acces to open call)
Each artist presents a work related to an environment or space, with the idea of amplifying and/or generating a new site, allowing us to imagine experiences that the architecture itself retains, invisible to the naked eye. We immerse ourselves in the now-fictitious realities in order to emerge, with the projects’ sound narrative, to the new "imagined cities" or "fictional realities" which are not so far distant from the cartographic locations whose reality and existence we take for granted. An opportunity to imagine the utopian or dystopian from elements of memory. In this case, it is sound which, through the element of surprise, compels us to generate a new image of a place which is so well-known and at the same time so hidden.
Focuses on collecting stories and anecdotes from public space or its buildings that relate, in a broad sense, to some of the artist’s research interests. This does not mean that the project will necessarily be related to spaces as such, since How to conquer space has many layers and, therefore, many areas of study may be explored, such as the difficulty of feeling at home in a new context, the connection between two separate worlds or places, the revision of official narratives, a critical reflection on intimate spaces, among other issues, taking this research as a starting point. One of the outcomes expected from this residency is the production of a sound piece.
Martí Madaula Esquirol, holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona and a Master of Visual Arts from LUCA School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. He is currently working on the publication of his master thesis, thanks to the Sala d'Art Jove 2020 Creation Grant and the support of the Centre d'Art La Panera. His latest projects have been presented in the art event Stronger than air, thinner than ice (2019) at the UGent Observatorium, and in the performance How to conquer space (2019) at Kolder-Gent, with Roos Nieboer.
This project is a guided soundwalk which sets up a critical reflection upon the exclusivity of use of pavements, and how walking upon them can be an act of privilege.
Walking, such an easy act in everyday life in the city, can be difficult, challenging, uncomfortable, and maybe impossible for certain communities such as women, LGBTQI*, minorities, migrants, people with disabilities etc. Pavements can draw attention to the sonic violence (and many other urban problems through listening) that most of the above-mentioned groups confront, such as, cat-calling, sniping, swearing, and verbal harassment, as well as sounding car horns aggressively, and gunning the engines of cars of the roads. Therefore, this project aims to collect the sonic memories of specific groups of citizens, and return these memories to urban space in order to create awareness of a very common issue in our cities.
Banu Çiçek is an artist, researcher and DJ with a background in urban design, born in South-East Turkey, and now based in Berlin. Her academic and artistic interests include participation, public space, sonic environment, acoustic ecology, collective listening, environmental spatial justice, urban activism, intersectional feminism, and interdisciplinary methodologies. She is currently a PhD candidate at Hamburg Fine Arts University, and is in receipt of a grant from the Heinrich Böll Foundation. She is a lecturer at the Humboldt University, Berlin.
Using the simple idea of creating 'portraits' of people listening to their city, 'Listening in Context' investigates the intimate role sound plays in our perception and the connections we make to our surroundings through what we hear. The project involves setting up a simple interaction with the public in public space, to engage people in becoming focused ‘listeners'.
John Grzinich has worked since the early 1990s as an artist and cultural coordinator, using various practices which include and often combine sound moving image, site-specificity, and collaborative social structures. He has performed and exhibited in North/South America, Europe and Japan, and his compositions have been published by a host of international labels. The focus of his work in recent years has been to combine sound and listening practices with various media to challenge age-old anthropocentric perceptions of the world we inhabit. http://maaheli.ee/main/
How does sound map the historical memory of a place? Sound reflects the relief of social realities: The innumerable rhythms of a city and the community itself push themselves acoustically into the resonating spaces of their surroundings. This project aims to research what a family, an apartment house, a factory building or a street sound like. The auditory information of a city overlaps to a rhythm which, at the level of hearing, integrates a million different cities in a single city at the same time, and accompanies audiences without a break. Within this context, an acoustic map of places will be created. This sound archive of a city is not intended to illustrate reality, but the continuous reformulation of its characteristics.
The artist collective Dynamische Akustische Forschung (DAF - English: Dynamic Acoustic Research) is concerned with the fundamental criteria of digital art creation in the 21st century. Sound is of particular importance in this context; it becomes the carrier and medium of artistic practices. Several performances, such as at the Festival Of Future Nows 2 at Hamburger Bahnhof , Berlin, or at the Ultima Festival at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter , Oslo, reflect an independent and unconventional approach to contemporary art creation through non-hierarchical, collective strategies.
Manoeuvres is an artistic project, site-specific, that intervenes in old urban industrial spaces through image and sound. The artists will “listen” to the space of the old factories, and reclaim the story of the productive masses. It is not a nostalgic action, or a revision of past times, it is about inserting temporality, incorporating the past as one more layer to the collective story. The aim is to print the memory imprint of work in the white cube of the artistic space, and to question its neutrality during the process.
Marta Azparren is a visual artist and performer based in Barcelona. Her videos have been screened and awarded in numerous international film and video festivals, exhibitions and art fairs. Her work claims to be a meta-reflection on the artistic activity, with special attention to the connections between creator, spectator and object, and its mediators. Pablo Martin Jones is the son of a flamenco guitarist and a flamenco dancer, both Americans living in Spain. His approach broadened as he grew musically, and he developed a wider palette of sounds, that includes practically anything, while simultaneously immersing himself in electronic music. During this time he has performed with many great artists from many different fields, in many different styles and is increasingly in demand as a composer for film, dance and other performing arts.
The project will develop collective processes of critical thought surrounding the possible interplay between sound generation, reproduction and adaptive set-ups, to consider the practical realisation of a collective sound intervention. There will be a workshop which will consist of listening exercises and experiments with acoustic and/or electro-acoustic techniques. The strategies developed there will provide a shift in the listening experience of the city towards an acoustic exploration of locations, distances, and surfaces, building up experiential knowledge in listening practice and sound intervention by exploring strategies for spatialisation and sonic spatial improvisation.
Iranian, born in Brussels, sound explorer. Her main focus is the movement of sound, body and space. She develops experimental approaches towards a spatial practice of sound. Sonic states as a potential mechanism to connect the social to the physical space in order to reject aesthetic conformity. Questioning the place of the body in the lived environment , and finding out ways to cultivate community with a shared and dynamic understanding of space and presence. She explores places and situations in order to activate unknown terrains in the sensorial common space by designing site specific strategies.
The project looks at recording the domestic, inner, unheard sounds and voices of the urban context. Storytelling from often underrepresented groups (e.g women) in urban planning would be added to the soundscape of the city through a guided sound-walk. Making the unheard heard, bringing the inside (domestic, memory, emotional) outside; these, experienced as an emotional landscape, also emphasise the duality of the sonic experience.
Zsofia Szonja Illes is an artist and designer with a socially engaged practice, founder of the artist-led community project ‘Collective Plant’. She is a lecturer for ‘Landscape Democracy’ (LED2LEAP), holds a Masters degree in Environmental Design from the Glasgow School of Art, and is a collaborating artist at the ’School for Civic Imagination’, Centre of Contemporary Arts, CCA: Glasgow. Her current research and work look into democratising placemaking processes - in defining the use of vacant urban spaces and land - through sensory and embodied engagement.
The project is based on research related to the sense of belonging. The aim is to create a podcast entitled CotorRadio – an idea that came from a concept developed by the artist around the cotorras (tropical birds surprisingly found also in European cities) – with an ensemble of sounds and voices from the neighbourhood. Raphael looks at these non-human creatures as a way of broadening the interpretations of human reality in a time when narratives of social and minority struggles are being co-opted and misinterpreted by the leading world-wide far right discourses. What other sounds and experiences might be contributed to a collective radio show?
Raphael Daibert is a curator and artist from Brazil, based in Berlin. Currently finishing his Master's at the Dutch Art Institute, Raphael translates for a living, and researches anti-colonial perspectives of being.
Woodpeckers is a sonic installation that uses the resonance of everyday objects, as a means to evoke an emotional memory. The installation is made up of a collection of objects/architectural elements, a robotic drum machine and sound-reactive lights. By focusing the attention on the resonance of the objects, it stimulates the imagination to deduce the physicality of the source, thus creating a sound experience that brings the public into a voluntary state of sensory experimentation.
In-Dialog Collective is composed of Tiffany Attali, Calin Segal, Codin Segal and Caterina Miralles Tagliabue. They are a young group of artists, architects and programmers, united by their desire to re-invent the world around them. Their work explores the use of algorithms and machines in creating experiences that augment or create social interactions. In-Dialog projects consist of playful environments or installations where people can express their creativity and engage in social exchange.
This project will focus on the memories held within the urban environment of Sant Andreu, and present these as 'audio postcards'. These works will be based on research, interviews with the community, and observations conducted by the artists on location. Through this process, we aim to reveal new layers of meaning within the spaces of Sant Andreu, which would otherwise go unnoticed.
Anne Fehres and Luke Conroy are Netherlands-based artists who have worked collaboratively since 2016. Anne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Audiovisual Arts from the Royal Art Academy of Ghent, Belgium in 2013. Luke graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from the University of Tasmania.Together, the duo focus on a variety of eclectic multidisciplinary projects that are grounded in research and exploration of social subjects, taking form through photography, digital art, sound, video, and installation.
Voices is a sound archive collecting interviews, sound art projects, and experimental narratives as a podcast collection. Voices belongs to the curatorial investigation and dissemination of the Sound of Our Cities project.
The objective of the archive is to gather a variety of voices from the artists as well from people who have at some point been linked to the project, recording the memories or experiences that they wish to share, or fictions on issues related to urban public space and the theme of silence
We interpret the archive as a place where time and space are variable, where “a document in an archive can change location, be contextualised and at times destroyed in preference of another document” (Anna Dekker).
The archive has three strands:
• Small talk: a collection of Interviews or conversations
• Sound as a matter of connection: documents or previous works or pieces that any participant may wish to share
• Sound speculations: a space open to the exploration and imagination of the intangible, gathering together remembered, imagined or desired spaces, and the creation of new sound configurations.
#1 Zsofia Szonja - Unheard and Unseen (art residency in Barcelona)
06:34 Could you explain to us your project for SoOC?
11:57 How would you relate the sound in your project? and the silence?
13:59 What does voices mean in your project?
16:33 What do you imagine or expect from the residency in Barcelona?
#2 Martí Madaula - How to conquer space (art residency in Roeselare)
00:41 Could you explain to us your project for SoOC?
04:16 How would you relate the sound in your project?
05:57 and the silence?
08:05 What does voices mean in your project?
10:09 What do you imagine or expect from the residency in Roeselare?
SoOC demonstrates new methods of urban artistic intervention and hence broadens attitudes and awareness of how cultural operators can work within public spaces. Target groups can experience public art in an innovative way, and local audiences can contribute to its shaping. It is anticipated to foster a progressive attitude in how artists, cultural operators and audiences can produce and interact with cultural and creative content in public space through digital technology.
SoOC sees the cultural and creative sector (CCS) as having an intrinsic role in stimulating local communities, highlighting cultural diversity and instigating intercultural and transnational dialogue. This project works to leverage this capacity through the production of public artworks that will be delivered in a unique digital interface to wide and disparate audiences across five target groups.
Sounds of Our Cities takes place during 24 months in October 2019- October 2021. It is a collaboration between four partners:
City of Roeselare – Belgium BE
Idensitat – Barcelona ES
Dear Hunter – Netherlands NL
Aalborg Universitet – Denmark DK
Other three associated partners are involved:
Impact VZW, Belgium
Struer Tracks / Struer Municipality, Denmark
Bohm Bohm Room, Sweden
QUIKOFF MEETING / BARCELONA October 2019
Sounds of our Cities is an European project of Cultural Cooperation co-founded by Creative Europe carried out between City of Roeselare (BE), Idensitat (ES), Dear Hunter (NL), Aalborg University (DK), and associated partners: Impact vzw (BE) - De Spil Cultuurcentrum (BE) - BOHM BOHM ROOM (SE) - Struer Tracks (DK) - Master Degree in Sound Art of Universitat de Barcelona (ES).