ANTENN 2020/WordSong

art, curating, recent work

When planning for the SoundWavesLament, we wanted to involve the public as much as possible: as audience, to join in with the artists through active listening and sounding; but also as co-creators in the preparatory work. Weeks before the artists first gathered, we sent a special invitation to persons with disabilities and elderly people being isolated within nursing homes – asking them to share their memories and feelings with the world outside. Correspondingly, we invited our social media followers to take part in creating a collective poem. I took on the task to lead the process. Ten writers, physically separated but connected via e-mail, submitted a few lines each; those independent lines were woven together to form a cluster of voices; the writers could then come back to develop, echo or contradict the themes that emerged. And so the WordSong evolved, from a set of individual responses to Julia Adzuki’s text On Lament, through continuous dialogue, to a poetic work in its own right – and a material for the sound artists to work with, as well…

As the sun rose over the water tower on August 28th, a handful of the artists did a collaborative reading of the WordSong. Taking turns as “lead singers”, we adopted one by one of the thirteen stanzas, suggesting a particular reading or singing mode to be performed by the group. Winging over the entwined themes of sorrow and water, we experienced personal words and voices blending together in a rich flow; a beautiful moment.

I sing the sorrow of loneliness
In my mourning song there is a longing, to be like you, to be one of all.
When I realize I can’t drink it all up, when I get wet and sad at the same time, and experience
my thought’s exchange of ideas with tender, life-affirming recipients –
or, is love (friendship) self-exploiting purpose against destructive anti-existence,
or, raw materialistic ownership of undead particles shaped to the image of the object?

I sing the prison grief
When I cried against your shoulder,
loosened the ache in the chest.
Evolving beyond what I thought. What the world thought.
So easy to believe that we will get where we are going.

I sing the sorrow of humanity
Let me flow freely.
When all hearts release their sorrow,
the one who weeps over what never happened,
the one that mourns the power of evil.
When the lament rises to heaven
and the tears flow more bitterly than you have time to dry them,
how will the earth be able to host all this water?

I sing the sorrow of annihilation
A Blood Song calls from below,
connects the living and the dead.
The answer lies in the vacuum we call existence,
the place where words cannot be found.
Yet we sing the song of mourning, the great,
the one about the conditions of life, our brief moment here on earth,
the joy of love, the great pain of loss.
The song of mourning is the background against which our lives take place,
however we throw ourselves against its rough fabric
we can never change the warp we all share.
Still we sing!

I sing the sorrow of farewell
The knot could not be tightened,
we floated away with the tidal wave – breathtaking, vertigo-knotted.
The sorrow of feeling that development can do

that one’s new place and essence do not fit into the old.
That one melts but still remains when one goes home.

I sing the sorrow of the heart
And so, your own mourning song slowly detaches from the web,
the one that is about you only, your terms.
The song that only you can sing.
Sing! Sing so all mistakes and knots dissolve!

I sing the sorrow of the imperfect
When I dry your sweaty forehead.
A picture of what you have done and what you will do,
like an ocean of emotions and thoughts, cradling islands of time.
The image remains incomplete – a constant attempt.
You love my tears but I just want to roar.

I sing the sorrow of the broken
But do not forget that the mourning song is a seamstress!
Your old self’s purl stitches
she skillfully picks up, and carefully attaches them
in your new self’s glorious pattern!
Stitch by stitch, patch by patch,
in her stubborn joining
of what has been broken,
of the emotions that have burst,
of the thoughts that ran amok in exclusion,
in her careful collection of what has been broken up,
thrown away in different directions – the inadequacy of man –
the seamstress mends and restitutes. A patchwork quilt of longing.

I sing the sorrow of alienation
The wall of sleeping backs by the shores of a story
Underground, the voices of the Gods are woven together.
They call for a union.
You stand there in the grass and feel the length of the arm.
It gets narrower and narrower to turn into yarn.
A thread that flows away from all parts of the body.
Weaving an image that is

I sing the sorrow of worry
A little step back, so we can see what the hands do,
listen again to the nearly silent,
the quiet whispers of nature, where the melting power comes in,
spring-lukewarm water on winter ice,
a safe hand on the lumbar spine where the worry had taken hold
redeems the frozen that has not been listened to
during humanity’s long time,
the forgotten time that lasted too long.

I sing the grief of broken connections
Indigenous people deeply rooted,
observing the constant change of life,
the slight ripple over the lake water
and I confess without hesitation my smallness, how is that possible?
That I can not swim in you?
When the flow allows
the snorkel, Jak’s hand softly around my ankle,
rippling force.

I sing the sorrow of existence
Electrical impulses connect sight & sensory nerves with the blood I have been assigned,
circulating around the heart – to be able to live – in a double state
Hydrogen hydrogen oxygen
Bigger plus (+)
older than solid ground
minus (-) H2O
Fewer than massive mountains
Oh hydro uendru akwa aqua, sa,
drink me and see me as the purest oldest and reborn!

I sing the sorrow of silence
Water is my origin. Water is security. Even the darkest of waters.
A water tower filled to the brim with tears – in every home a tap.
Underground rests the groundwater.

Text: Albin Limnell, Anna Anglemark, Jessica Wiklund, Klara Branting Paulsell, Kristina Lidström,
Margaretha Björkman, Minna Rombo Zetterlund, Sofi Håkansson, Thea Blanca, Tove Gustafson Sätter
English translation: Julia Adzuki
Process leader: Helena Hildur W.
Collaborative reading: Karin Lindström Kolterud, Johanna Dahl,  John Beck, Helena Hildur W.

Listen to WordSong Lab on SoundCloud (at 1:51:00):

Thank you, WordSingers, for sharing!


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