To be recognized, to cognize, in good will; light bringing.
Sunrise at 05.38 on Saturday, August 28th… Over the past week, instruments and gear have been moved into the water tower. Tomas has mounted the mikes and loudspeakers, and we have all brought blankets and sleeping mats to make our personal nests along the inner wall. An installation by Patrick releases water dripping from a container above into glass jars in a plastic tub on the ground floor; drip-drop in irregular intervals, like notes from a piano played slowly… and now, time has come; the SoundWavesLament begins.
Julia’s low, steady heart beats, transmitted via contact microphone, and little sounds of dripping water; mingling with humming voices, floating rhythms strummed and tapped; at times, blending with birdsong from outside; passing on to field recordings from World Listening Day; a gentle Sunrise River Reverberation. Julia’s text On Lament is read and echoed, before the first hour closes with a sonic meditation by Pauline Oliveros – Teach Yourself to Fly.
what is a lament for you?
for me, lament is a love song in which no-thing is concealed
where the whole of the heart, even the muck at the bottom is revealed released, transformed perhaps
through the exhale of sound waves
through the mouth, the fingers, the pores of the skin
through all the bodies one inhabits and is inhabited by
not just the bodies human but the elemental ones
lament is the transmutation of water
from solid to liquid
from flow to effervescence.
A howl in the night, a blood song
a discharge and dance where it all comes out
a place where there is space for all, even that which is held most tightly as a ball inside – the shame, the grief, the lost and broken stories
lament is a vocal seamstress, stitching all parts together again
making whole and weaving not just human story
stories of places that are part of us, our companion species
the whole ghost of our civilization’s environmental grief
that so few have been singing for so long
that lives in all of us, even when dormant.
There underground where the bones lay
in the mulch of years of fallen leaves
a fertile ground is woven with threads almost invisible
a mycelial weft exchanging life and messages between trees an uprising of fruiting fungal bodies
in a wondrous variety of forms
a lament to the wind sending spores on the airwaves.
Lament reaches deep into our bloodlines
to generations before, through all the veins
of life giving and life taking away
not just my paternal grandfather, but all the people he killed in war
not just the environmental destruction of the land where I was born, the land I live now but the brutal treatment of first nations people on who’s lands we live today
though lament we might let our selves feel this
not just in historical knowledge
but in our bones, under our feet where we walk.
To lament might unravel a small sorrow
and with it release the energy of years that that little sorrow held back moving the grief that froze, moving the shame that coagulated moving with flow, into action and compassion for every one another listening with the heart as an organ of perception
could it change the way we live?
August 4th, 2020
The second hour opens with Anka Draugelates‘ agile, full-toned voice overflowing with love and agony…
but as the programme continues, an unexpected problem occurs within the web radio connection: every now and then, sounds of water interrupt the broadcast – sometimes flowing and burbling, sometimes flushing like a loo… How strange! The following performance is paused for troubleshooting. Tomas targets some suspect files and deletes them. Web streaming is taken up again, according to programme, but those ghost sounds keep haunting the broadcast and the source cannot be tracked. Before noon, we have to give in and finish the live stream. Once the decision is taken, confusion turns into focused presence.; the programme is reordered and the SoundWavesLament resumes – for now, enclosed within the tower.
From herding calls to soft singing bells, from poetic readings and instrumental improvisations to Dido’s lament deconstructed, and further; to a sing-along of melodious gratitude, a purging ceremony by violin and an electronic/sonic Northern light experience; a ritual lament pulsates within us, between us; releasing emotions and opening up for what will become… past sunset, all the way into the night.
We – the Ljudtornet/Soundtower team – sincerely apologize to our listeners that the announced live streaming of the SoundWavesLament had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, the mishap eventually came across as an unexpected blessing; enhancing artistic focus within a ritual space.
The recorded event is now permanently available (along with updated programme and further information) at:
Ljudtornet / ANTENN 2020
For the third year in a row, ANTENN sound/art festival has taken place in Gnesta’s old water tower – this year as a digital event. As before, the initiative was realized through Ljudtornet (the Soundtower); and it has been some intense weeks for the five of us constituting the group – Karin Lindström Kolterud, Tomas Björkdal, Patrick Dallard, Julia Adzuki and myself.
When our planning for ANTENN 2020 began, back in the fall of 2019, we had an urgent feeling that time had come to level up; to set up a collaborative process, with the intent to actually create artwork in situ. Next, a double theme emerged; the element of water as subject matter, and lament as a structural idea and modality. We identified places in the surroundings, embodying certain qualities – the lake, the rivulet, the wellspring, the sewage treatment plant – and we invited eight artists/musicians to a seminar in late August.
Come August 21st, there’s still some groundwork to be done. Tomas is busy checking the technical equipment and mowing the grass, Karin providing maps and drafting a time schedule, Patrick shopping and cooking… In the evening, our guests arrive – bringing their instruments and devices, their artistic experiences, their openness and awareness.
Next morning, Anka Draugelates joins us on zoom from Germany, and Tuomas Rounakari from Finland – sharing his knowledge of lament in ancient Karelian tradition. Katt Hernandez has brought equipment for field recordings along with her fiery violin, Torbjörn Grass his grassophone and Erik Peters his perceptive listening and composer skills. Björn Ola Lind presents his work with indigenous communities in Australia and the Arctic, and with Ljudtornet’s sister initiative Cisternen – the Tank in Härnösand. The seminar proceeds; Julia reads her text On Lament and the concept gradually becomes more familiar to all of us. We once more enjoy Patrick’s French galettes, and find our ways to the water and to each other in fluctuating constellations. Johanna Dahl and John Beck process their impressions in improvised musical dialogue…
Sunday August 23rd: we gather in the water tower, to try out some first thoughts and impulses. The means of expression vary wildly in this heterogenous group: from voice and instruments to performance and self-built sound installations; from acoustic to electronic, to herding call, jazz, contemporary art music, sacred and classical influences, folk music and indigenous rituals.
The SoundWavesLament is taking shape. Communication flows. Isn’t it marvelous?
Afterwards, we all sit down outside the tower… Time for a photo op; time to conclude. Julia presides by the whiteboard, as the seminar comes to a close. We end up with a draft for the week to come – and for the 38 hours’ performance we’re heading for.
To be continued…
Walking with waters, celebrating World Listening Day on July 18th: beginning in a shared moment of stillness, under a circle of birch trees by the grassy shore of lake Frösjön; then following lazy ripples downstream as the lake turns into a rivulet; silently strolling along a row of houses and gardens basking in summer light; soon afterwards passing by the municipal sewage treatment plant (while hiding our noses in little bouquets of fragrant herbs); the wetland broadening into rustling reeds interlaced by the sound of crickets, and islands of clouds floating over our heads…
After a break for small talk and lunch, we proceed – as does the ever-streaming water, now brimming over a threshold, of sorts, and running faster; a rapid; for us, a pause; dipping our feet and our sinkable mics into the cool fresh whirls; we collect some pebbles and stones before taking leave of the riverbank to cross the highway; turning onto a dry dusty dirt road under the sun; the long grasses stirred by a badger, quickly disappearing; a wind in the leaves blending with distant traffic sounds, and the forest closing in on us; finally, we arrive at the hidden cold spring pouring out from under a rock… A woman is already there, to collect her water for the week to come. She offers us to have our waterbottles filled up first. Meanwhile, we play rhythms with the stones we’ve brought.
Who are we? Julia Adzuki, Patrick Dallard and myself represent the Ljudtornet/Soundtower group, and our artist colleague and friend Lisa Jeannin is joining in for a while too. Invited guests and collaborators for World Listening Day are violinist/composer Katt Hernandez, composer/performer Erik Peters and dancer/choreographer Sindri Runudde… This field recording event is also an opener for sound/art festival ANTENN 2020.
All filled to the brim, we return to the old watertower. Together with a kulning/herding call recorded by our absent colleague Karin Lindström Kolterud, the sounds collected from today’s water walk are organized to form a loop for streaming over web radio this very evening. Just like on January 17th, the Art’s Birthday website provides the technical platform, along with a thematical frame: The Collective Field. Ljudtornet is taking part together with a number of art initiatives – scattered over three continents – and the audience will be able to create their live soundscape from all contributors.
Julia checks the settings once more, as Patrick gently plays a water-filled Mexican ocarina and Erik listens attentively. At 7 pm, the Art’s Birthday mesh is up and running, broadcasting from Tblisi, Vienna, Gnesta, Chicago, Vancouver… We’re on air! The loop is streaming and Sindri begins to dance. Katt brings out her violin to improvise a duet with the crickets she recorded in the reeds earlier… It’s dark inside the tower. Suddenly, the camera obscura phenomenon occurs – an image projected upside-down through a tiny hole in the wall: the evening sun, surrounded by flickering leaves, accompanies the performance.
The hope, the confidence in painting – a learning practice beyond words.
So, this is the second one of KonstFunk exhibitions x2. We’re happy to present eighteen woven tapestries by Adrian Nehard – on display at Södertälje City Hall until April 20th. This body of work relates to The Songs of Maldoror (written by the self-appointed comte/count Lautréamont and originally published in 1868); reviving their poetic imagery in contemporary colours and textures, by the use of rags, pearls, paint, and embroidery.
“Songs of Maldoror” tapestries by Adrian Nehard
at Södertälje City Hall, March 2020;
photos by Christofer Martinson
The exhibition is curated – largely by my colleague Eva-Karin Planman – to form an open labyrinth, hovering around a flowform water sculpture by Nigel Wells. On Friday March 13th, Adrian Nehard met practising alchymist and artist Lisa Jeannin in an ad-lib Artist Talk.
Lisa Jeannin with Tarot card in front of tapestries;
photo Christofer Martinson
The audience followed closely, as Adrian and Lisa walked and talked their way along an evolving path of strange and complex representations. For a full hour, we were carried away by Adrian’s set of flying carpets – ending up in a French-Swedish reading of a passage from the Songs of Maldoror.
Lisa Jeannin and Adrian Nehard performing their Artist Talk;
photos by HHW.
Thank you, Lisa, for joining! Thank you, Adrian, for sharing your outstanding work!
Lisa Jeannin, Helena Hildur W, Eva-Karin Planman;
photo by Christofer Martinson
Last week, I and my co-curators Eva-Karin Planman and Sabine Recht set up two exhibitions as a part of the KonstFunk project in Södertälje. In Luna, the municipal culture center, we gathered works by some 30 creators to form a group show – the first one of KonstFunk exhibitions x2…
…presenting a range of techniques and expressions; from textile craft to art remakes, to icons, self portraits and paintings emerging out of colour itself…
What is the meaning of creativity?
An absurd question, of course. Somebody enjoys playing with colour and materials – glossy, sticky, tufted – with no fixed intention about the final result. Another expresses a deeply personal experience; a feeling, an impression, a dream. A third person designs a “thing of beauty” to enhance everyday life… Purposes and situations differ. Disparate needs cannot easily be compared or evaluated towards each other.
The meaning of creativity can also be subject to change. What determines labels such as “therapy”, “craft”, “hobby” or “art”? Who has the mandate to categorize?
To master a language takes training and trying, again and again; art makes no exception. It needs a framework of meaningful understanding to mature into richness.
Broadening one’s technical abilities builds self-reliance and sparks ideas. Copying existing artworks is a common method for improving artistic awareness, skill and insight. Although copying does not boost ego, one’s personality will (most probably) come through in many gracious ways.
Whoever takes their work – or playing – deeply serious, also deserves an equally serious reception. Being creative together, we will all contribute to the enrichment of society…
Also, during this same week, a solo show by artist Adrian Nehard was prepared in the City Hall – featuring eighteen woven, embroidered and (partly) painted tapestries.
More to come…
In 2002, I first met with some of the most ingenious and brave people I know. From that point onwards, the Land of Mir evolved; an imaginary space, where words and pictures, all kinds of creative designs and social interactions, became possible and meaningful. Functional variations were many, but in this setting the only disability would be prejudice and intolerance (which, in fact, very rarely occurred).
As an artist and a human being, I am deeply grateful for the experiences I’ve gathered over the years in the Land of Mir. And from this perspective – shared with others – the KonstFunk project has been launched; an impulse for the local community to fulfill Article 30 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states (among other things) that
States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
On Friday, February 7, KonstFunk arranged a half-day programme for employees from places where people with functional variations work, live and study. A lecture by Anneli Aaltonen Krantz (artistic leader at Inuti Foundation) was followed by artist talks with Magnus Östling (Stockholm) and Adrian Nehard (Järna). Next, participants were invited to try the tactile instruments of SymbioLab, to marvel at the felted pieces from Anna Gran‘s studio at Högklint (Mölnbo), and to delight in the wide range of expressions in icons, self portraits and still life paintings made at Klockargården (Järna) with Sabine Recht as artistic leader.
Pictures from the occasion were shared by Södertälje konsthall (municipal art gallery):
Thank you, Södertälje konsthall, for hosting! Now we’ll see where this takes us… The next steps will be taken in a few weeks.