Starts on Monday, 05.04.2021, 7:30PM
SONIC ENCOUNTERS WITH BOUNDARIES /
How do borders sound? How can sound help us articulate the existence of borders that normally remain distant or imperceptible to our senses? How can sound place us in a position from which borders – cultural, political, cross-generational and between species - can be scrutinized?
In March, Walking Festival of Sound launched an open call seeking fixed media pieces - e.g. soundscape compositions, soundwalks, field recordings - that critically and creatively address the above questions. We received an unexpectedly large amount of contributions. The initial plan to select four pieces was amended and we decided to choose eight works. They are presented below. You can listen to the selected pieces via live stream on the Fragmentarium Club Radio available above.
IN SEARCH OF AZTLAN… / Martin Rodriguez
In Search of Aztlan… is an intervention-based work following the Chicanx artist Martín Rodríguez as he explores the territory around his childhood home, investigating how borders, both physical and psychological, shape our individual and collective identities, and in doing so cracking a window into the US/MX border. The recording submitted to the Walking Festival is from Rodriguez’s initial radio investigations along the migrant paths of the Sonoran desert utilizing a cassette deck radio, a crystal radio, and an experimental radio antenna that fuses the Mexican folk craft known as an Ojo de Dios (God’s eye) with a traditional loop antenna. By merging audio recordings of various freely migrating radio signals along with field recordings, the resulting work explores the ability for sound to embody the presence of human-made borders, and the identities of those who exist along their margins.
KEREITA FOREST BLOCK / Sophia Bauer
Forest Scapes is a body of work that researches the impact of colonialism on forest landscape through sound. The aim is by listening into these forests to rethink the relationship between colonialism, people, places and plants and to reassemble their hierarchies in history. It considers different aural material from the forests to compose an ambivalent picture of the past, taking into account the agency of the different players in the constellation.
MAUER=PARK / Niki Matita
The Berlin Mauerpark (Wall Park) was created in the 1990s in the border area on the demarcation line between Berlin (West) and the capital of the GDR, in-between the then districts of Wedding in West-Berlin, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg in East-Berlin. Looking closer there are more borders and boundaries that manifest in this area. After a complicated, protracted process involving, among other things, ownership rights to land and conflicts between various user groups, the park was recently extended and this area opened with a so-called archaeological window into the recent past. Part of the negotiations was a new development area with a "gated community" for which future conflicts with less privileged residents and users. such as the very active graffiti sprayer scene by parts of the remaining wall already seem pre-programmed.
MURO (WALL) / Erick Ruiz Arellano
Between Ciudad Juárez, México and El Paso, United States there is a wall that separate both countries, not only geographically, but politically and culturally too. The wall extends on the border territory for more than 900 kilometres and its main objective is to keep thousands of Mexican and Central American migrants out of the United States.This soundscape was recorded right at this Wall, the most interesting thing about it is that if this Wall wouldn’t exist, this sound wouldn’t exist either, the sound of a ghostly wind is produced by the hot air passing through the metal that builds this Wall, otherwise it will be just desert, just silence.
LA BESTIA (THE BEAST)
“La Bestia” (The Beast) or “Tren de la Muerte” (Death’s Train) is how people in Mexico call the train that travels from the southern border with Guatemala to the northern border with the United States, this train not only transports goods and fuel, but hundreds of Central American migrants on their way to find the American dream. Every year between 450 to 500 thousand migrants travel illegally on “La Bestia”, risking their life and sometimes their families too. This trip is very dangerous one, jumping on a moving train (about 10 to 15 trains for the whole trip) and balance yourself on the top of it for about 1,500 miles of journey needs a lot of survival skills. Migrants are not just an easy target for police and migration officers who extort them on their way, but the drug cartels that rule all over Mexico are kidnaping them and asking their relatives in the United States for money. Some migrants are just looking for a better life condition for their families, but others are running from the wave of intense violence that ruins everywhere in Central America.
NO MAN'S LAND / Flora Zajicek
In 1948, Marie Erhartova fled Czechoslovakia with her partner Karel Zajicek. Having fought in the RAF during the war against the Nazis, Karel, like all his ex-RAF contemporaries, was deemed to be a potential threat to the growing power of communism in Czechoslovakia. Many were being put into forced-labour, some were put in prison and others were executed. Marie decided to escape with Karel in search of freedom in "the West". We hear snippets of her story in her own words, put together by her granddaughter, Flora Zajicek.
BY THE WALL, WHERE / Jayne Dent
A ruined section of Hadrian’s Wall emerges between a betting shop and a leisure centre on Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne – the historical border of the Roman Empire, an ignorable relic on a busy street. This piece highlights the layers of history embedded in this place, from its time as the border of England and Scotland to its use as a site of coal mines and shipyards and as an edge-of-city residential and commercial space. Synthesisers burst like the sound of wind across a microphone and voice and concertina replace the sounds of chattering people and playing children, a hybrid of field recordings and responsive, improvised sounds exploring the perspective of the wall itself and the things it has seen.
CHILEZUELA / Sebastián Concha
This is a testimony, a sonic documentary, a chaotic recording of true and sad events that took place in the winter of the year 2019 in the subtropical city of Arica. Not so long before all changed. These events were just the beginning of the huge wave of changes our land and the world would face next. Subjects are Venezuelans trying to reach Chile (from Perú, Ecuador and Colombia) by crossing its political border (and all those borders), a thin transparent line in the middle of the desert, because they heard that this was a land of opportunities.
RE-ARBËRIA / Max Wayne
Re-Arbëria is a micro-compositional piece by Max Wayne, coming from a series of performances and soundwalks exhibited together with NoMade Collective. Arbëria is the name used by Albanians in south of Italy to define their local ramification of ethnolinguistic communities settled between the 15th and 18th centuries, overstepping the usual notion of administrative, territorial and generational boundaries. The work explores a synesthetic geography of rituals connecting family and public archives with ancestral chants and natural landscapes. Each of these materials can be heard as a poetic alarm of a specific identity shelter, building up or dissolving into the interplay between its Mediterranean roots and modern influences.