A journal is a dialogue with time. This journal contains keywords/notes from the morning sessions, a sound score in response to the week, then poetical writings inspired by the music. Some of this is cryptic, but all of it is feeling. Fundamentally this week was about curation, and understanding this from a personal space. What I have written is a journal after all. Journals can be private, but in this case, I’ve chosen to make a journal personal yet shareable. I hope you can find some interest from this, albeit the exercises, and potentially the music.
Is curation at its core about bringing people/cultures/elements into proximity with each other, with an ability to make junctions in which different elements touch? Providing maps for artists and laymen to continue to pursuit of a theme/topic/idea?
45 in 5. Here I am, waiting to fly from New York to Amsterdam. You never know when ideas come, but when they do, seize the moment. The task was to blend this 45-minute ambient recording (essentially my journey through an airport) with the actual song dancing in my ‘inner ears’, and create a 5-minute track. While making, I think about what it means to collect, and what it means to present. I think about gates, overflows & border control. All thoughts are symbolic of the current journey, and (God willing) the ones to come.
Though some airlines make flight safety more eye-catching, we still find it hard to listen. The baby cries in an instant, and I wonder if we share the same newness. Definitely not the same pain. It’s just all so new for them. I think of the carry-on luggage stowed above… and what it means to be in airplane mode…then funnel these thoughts into a composition.
Monday’s positioning. A space of orientation. If space had a sound, I don’t think it would be far off from this. Fuzzy filters rumbling around the ears, Arp like sounds reaching for higher frequencies in headspaces. If NYC to AMS is about being in the plane, then Monday’s positioning is about what’s happening outside, on one’s journey to flight. I meditate on positionality and see a man (maybe me) groaning those exact words from afar, almost questioning the odds, questioning where one stands… or more aptly, how one soars? And at what expense? This day we are encouraged to think about our positionality from within the spaces from which we work, and maybe how we articulate ourselves to others. How this informs our acts of collections is a question I’m still busy with… as I collect quotes from speakers, and sounds from my small perspective of Rotterdam, a song emerges. And as I reflect on today, so does this meditation on positionality:
- Find a position, be still & take three deep breaths.
- Imagine yourself in a plane, seeing in as much detail where you are positioned in this plane.
- Imagine its ascension into the skies, and then it’s time in flight, then lastly, its decent.
- Note the kind of ground you land on, this can be as wild as your imagination takes you.
- Imagine what things in this image are fixed and that which things move constantly.
- Repeat, but this time with the music. If you want to increase the intensity of the image, then abstract your image of the plane (for example, my body could be the plane, and I’m sitting inside this body/plane)
Krabbsund Trondheim x Concrete. Boats on the water. Ropes by the by. Lessons toward change. The walk is an ever-present gesture towards perseverance, and so it felt essential to provide a sound score including travel. The streets of Rotterdam are far from my knowledge, yet as I walk through a small handful of ‘em, I learn to accept my inexperience of the city and appreciate the sights seen.
I dream that whales sing in the water. Of course, there are no whales in Rotterdam. But in this song, perhaps there are. In this song, our protagonist enjoys walking and wading in water…they enjoy the feel of the waves coming back and forth, and that image inspires me to swim between alternative streams.
A friend. Known by name. The kick-like heartbeat palpitates and the sirens wail just at the thought of doing something alternative, at the thought of becoming penalized for mistakes. But boats sail across the water, boarding at ‘mistakes’ and arriving at ‘wrongmaderight’. Questions fly as laughter arrives around street corners adjacent to the history museum. Before the park, a building is looking at me. A reflective ‘flower pot’ shaped building showing myself in relation to the city. The joy of walks and the love of gestures provide more empathy for the personal and local. What it’s like to land in a land you know not much of? Yet anticipate much from? No answer. One observation though: Cacophonous voices make the most wonderful orchestras.
Big Buzzwords, little love for MASTERCARD. Ironically, dutch card machines aren’t ‘all-inclusive’.
It starts with a trip to the bakery. Known for the best cookies around (I can vouch for this), I opt for an all-inclusive white nut, oatmeal & chocolate chip. My card is declined because and I will soon learn that Mastercards aren’t favoured in this part of Rotterdam. I can assure you I had £’s. Self-checking machines sing tea for two amongst diminished notes, and herein lies an adventure based on finding an ATM, all for the sake of taking out cash, all for the sake of buying milk, for these ‘great’ cookies. I knew I should have asked for per diems upfront.
We reprise our motif from our first song but this time our song has more soul because we have lived longer in this land. The machine beeps and I can’t help but hear it speak to the politic of acceptance, prodding at my pessimism. They didn’t accept visa cards, and the beeps keep beeping! The low synth acts as the continuous breath which kept me alive even if I often pay little attention to its value. That breath, a hum. That hum is a vibration. That vibration, a gesture of dancing air. As if walking wasn’t enough, it appears that this song questions me about what I intend to include and what I will be committed to change. Walk. Sometimes through traffic lights.
PCR TEST. In Rotterdam, my love for cycling is empowered. Wheels slice through dutch streets, synths resemble smooth riding, and in comparison to London, riding looks like something people do out of joy. Cars hoot and holler in celebration of marriage (I think)… congrats. My destination appears on the left and a test begins.
(temporary) Home. The temptation of gossip is everpresent. Media speculation, youtube ads add to this addiction. To think through other thoughts which sometimes but often don’t have lasting relevance to my life often feels like a waste of time, but for the culture, it might not be. If a paradigm shift is a change in assumptions, then my most fundamental questions reside around how I address and change the practice of collection, and how this affects the act of curation. A reprise of thematic ideas, In some ways, this layered sound score is my mind, eager to stay ‘on course’ but often conflicted, making music, for the sake of clarity, for the sake of resilience, to ease the tension in the mystery of moments. To think that our paradigms are stagnant is becoming a dated thought, yet to also think that the existing paradigms were ever stagnant feels reductive. Nuance, please.
LEAVE. Do we ever not collect? Do the ears never hear? Does the deaf body not perceive vibration? Do we ever not move?
We can, however, stop curating. Can’t we? We can, however, stop curating. Can’t we? Well, maybe not if it’s your God-given call to life. But maybe so. I come back, ready to land in an environment often hard to be content in. Of course, arriving would be no easy feat… I’d miss my flight, receive a late PCR testen and drown my sorrows in chicken nuggets. Maybe this experience was meant to teach me about shifting paradigms. Aren’t sincerity and irony linked at the hip?
Some process work is smooth, but if we assume that it will always be easy to change, we are mistaken. The chance to land again feels sentimental, I haven’t been in the UK for over 2 months, and it’s been a journey. The week of this conference, I would have traveled through 3 time zones, and while that won’t be loads for some, it’s a sobering thought to think of how many words I’ll never know, and how collections may be the best way to capture that of the world I can before Leaving…for good. We all have our ticket, with an individual ‘QR’ code, which once accessed, reveals a cavernous wonder deeper than the internet. Today my friends, we leave a wonderful week thinking through curation, and I have tried to make a collection of sounds that will capture a moment. I have curated the hours of sound recorded into songs. I have brought together my art world into closer proximity with Earth, particularly Rotterdam. Who knows where that’ll go. One thing this has taught me though is that these things don’t die, they multiply. Here’s to the next work (Y)