Who Belongs Here is an audio-visual field research in progress. All the registrations, conversations and the voice improvisation took place in the environs of the Islamic alcazaba ruins in la Sierra Grande de Hornachos and el desbautizadero, a place where it is said that the moriscos went to undo the catholic baptism which was imposed on them.
With Johanna Ehde, María Corcobado Muñoz, Marta Echaves and Jose Iglesias García Arenal.
Who Belongs Here was developed within the residency program El Horizonte del Desierto in January 2021, curated by MAL and Sala Guirigai, Los Santos de Maimona, ES.
Photography by Johanna Ehde.
Project supported by Mondriaan Fonds and Sala Guirigai.
“Por Dentro, a Media Voz (Inwardly, in a Moderate tone of voice) by Andrés García Vidal is a sound installation with two video pieces. The sound installation shows three musical improvisations by three musicians that are played at the same time as the afternoon call to Islamic prayer in Seville. The video piece is an interview with Pooyan Tamini Arab, a professor of religious studies at the University of Utrecht. The starting points of this long-term research were the recent debates around the amplification of the sound of adhan —the daily call to prayer— and the misunderstood legislative regulation of it as noise. The artist explores the relationship between the sound aesthetics of Islam (as in the recitation of the Quran or the call to prayer) and traditional Arab music from a musicological point of view. In both, the practice of orality prevails as a form of transmission, and both are also based on the Arabic maqam musical system. Within maqam, there are different groups of melodic attainments called ajnas (‘genre’ or ‘type’) that are trichords, tetrachords or pentachords, which are all improvised upon in both practices. Each ajna has associations with specific emotional states. These improvisations are intertwined with reflections by Pooyan Tamini Arab on the ‘materiality of religion’. He points out how a range of discourses, practices and aesthetic forms mediate the way religion is experienced, and how their form of expression matters. In Islam, using one’s voice is one of the most powerful forms of expression, because it also has a series of implications in the public space. Sound is also a powerful means of transmission that mobilises emotions and bodies. Moreover, within Islam, the voice is the communication vessel that summons and sustains a collective body.”
Blanca del Río, 2020
Por Dentro, a Media Voz took part of the group show Solo es verdad lo que sucede cada quinientas noches at the gallery Alarcón Criado, Sevilla, ES. between December 5th 2020 to February 13th 2021. With Alegría y Piñero, Mercedes Pimiento and Cristina Mejías. Curated by Blanca del Río.
Por Dentro, a Media Voz was supported by the Mondriaan Fonds.
Photography and color correction by Juan Arturo García González.
Ay triste que vengo is the title of a composition of popular origins, written and arranged by Juan del Encina in the 1400's. The work is a two voices interpretation created for the group show All these buildings, the clock and its hour. Each voice was played in different spots of the building. All these buildings, the clock and its hour took place between the October 31st and November 1st in Kalverstraat, 28 in Amsterdam and included the works of Naomi Credé & Rosie Haward, Philip Coyne, Darío Dezfuli & Simona Koutná, Harriet Foyster, Miyuki Inoue, Rietlanden Women’s Office, Frédérique Gagnon and Aidan Wall.
In collaboration with Younwon Sohn.
I turn on the camera app. I have my headphones on. I am deliberately trying to only listen. I hear a shrill voice. I put the camera app on my phone. This one is at Seoul Hanriver. It monitors image and sound. I hear mom is speaking;—on the way to take a bus...—and she did not finish her sentence. Then a metallic voice from the tv interrupted her.
Now I hear an irregular fast broken noise. I look at the screen and I see they’re fast forwarding the movie. The monitor shows the scene. I cannot see them. I only see the part of their tv screen and a bit of their phone home below. I hear my parents chit chatting again and just saw the numbers shining on their tv screen. It’s 1:26 in the morning. After they finished fast-forwarding the film there was silence. I look again, they muted the sound of the TV and turned it off. Then I heard a door closing. Now I can only hear some subtle noises constantly coming in and out. These noises are the sound of an evening air. Invisible frequencies and signals, It sounds like water from a river, or the streaming sound of the waves. [...]
Excerpts from Sounds Like Water , 2020
In collaboration with Johanna Ehde
Crises can also be expressed through sound, and specifically through noise, which functions perfectly as an economy of disruption.1
Noise holds a negative remnant. It talks about disturbance, interference and annoyance. Noise becomes matter out of place. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily equal disruptiveness by all means. Embracing noise, or disruptiveness might mean embracing multiplicity, plurality, the refusal of categorizations and hierarchies. Disorder, chaos, flexibility might acknowledge imperfection, instability, marginality and an inclusion of the unknown. In this sense noise could be seen as a method to “put in crisis” that which is discriminatory.
Aguda, ligera, estridente (High, light, shrill) tries to capture the voice of a typeface* which was developed through “noisy” means. Its sound is built in close relationship to cultural constructions on gender and sound. This relates to the silencing of “female” voices and the voice of “the other”. “Female” sound has historically been associated with monstrosity, disorder, and death. It has been seen as disturbing, evil and difficult to listen to. Ideas like the virtue of female silence and the “two mouths” who’s lips must remain closed links the dangerous female sound to the dangerous female sexuality. This becomes an ideology to systematically silence the non-normative voice, to discard it. Aguda, ligera, estridente re-appropriates this ideology by adopting the “Female” sound as a form of subversive noise. Closing women's mouths was the object of a complex array of legislation and convention in preclassical and classical Greece, of which the best documented examples are Solon's sumptuary laws and the core concept is Sopholdes' blanket statement, “Silence is the kosmos [good order] of women.”2
Aguda, ligera, estridente brings a context to embrace this noise, and reaffirm it through the feeling of its vibration. Listening is explicitly relational, and that becomes central as a tool to make this typeface public, to publish it, and unfold it while considering the possibilities of a “freedom of listening”. [...] it is only through listening out for difference that a plurality of voices can register – this is the role, in other words, of audition as audit. Freedom of expression is necessary, but not sufficient, to ensure plurality. The vagaries of (conditioned) individual choice and the conditions of the marketplace, as well as more direct instances of censorship and control, might lead to a multitude of similar voices, or the marginalization or silencing of certain other voices.3
The prevailing typography doctrine remains circumscribed to western-centric modernist ideas of purity in design, natural balance, the golden ratio, and perfection of form, while systematically excluding complexity, plurality, and queerness. In many cultures, carvings and letters have been seen as loaded with divine force, and therefore only allowed to be handled by clergymen who became the link between divinity and humanity. Knowing the written expression of a language and mastering this art was a means of ’conquering the world’ and it was the privilege of a select few.4 The superior position of the written word and the ones who control its production and form, is inextricable from history writing and the recording and archiving of certain experiences and knowledge. When lacking plurality in history writing (and history typesetting) a singular voice is continuously reproduced in a consistent tone and form, while “deviating” sounds and “deviating” histories remain in the margins or out of the history books.
1) Sara Nadal-Melsió, Allora and Calzadilla, 2018.
2) Anne Carson, Glass, Irony, and God, 1994.
3) Kate Lacey, Listening in the Digital Age, 2013.
4) Susanne Lundin, En liten skara äro vi… en studie av typographer vid 1900-talets första decennier, 1992.
Many thanks to Chus Pato and Ultramarinos for granting permission to use excerpts from Poesía reunida. Volumen 1 (translation from galician to spanish by Ana Gorría) in Aguda, ligera, estridente.
* The typeface in Aguda, ligera, estridente was developed during Residencias Artísticas de La Puebla de Cazalla as part of the project Collective Type and Noise Design (2018) which explored ways of designing a typeface collectively. It was developed with Ana Gómez, Andrés Gallego, Dolores Gómez, Domingo Reyes, Estefanía Ruíz, Felipe Romero, Francisco Moreno, Juan Diego Asencio, Juan Jovacho, Keli Andrade, Luís Moya, Manuel Márquez, Maria Isabel Segura, Marta Miró, Miguel Hormigo, El Centro ocupacional de La puebla de Cazalla, and Alegría y Piñero. Aguda, ligera, estridente is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL
Intensa necesidad la mía,
posar la vista en algo en lo que no pueda ser retenida. 1
She listened attentively. Little by little she discovered the disheartened cracks because of the woodworm. She remembered that the spiritualists believe that these cracks are expressions, and voices, of the dead, and she found herself bristled in fear…1
In the future, major disasters will raise the alarm through, for example, emergency broadcasters, sound vehicles, [...] and social media. The advantage of these means of communication is that they can be used in a much more targeted way.1
Collective Type and Noise Design is an exploration into ways of designing type collectively, through voice, noise production, improvisation, drawing and meditation exercises. Simultaneously, it is an exploration into ways of designing noise collectively by the same means.
This work was developed with graphic designer Johanna Ehde and a group of locals within a one month residency in La Puebla de Cazalla.
The local nature of noise problems does not mean that all action is best taken at local level, as for example generally the sources of environmental noise are not of local origin.1
The vibration-environment is a term that conceives sound as an immersive scenario. As an ecology, it is constantly producing relationships between auditors and sources. Sound is understood in this research as a medium or a trace, a matter of cohabitation and as a sharing of a common space.
Focusing on anthropogenic sounds, the research question is about the terms in which the vibration-environment is determined, designed and assembled—the ways in which humans produce noise. Thus, ‘noise’, as a ‘condition’ inherent to the vibration-environment, is constantly at the backdrop. This ‘condition’ is what eventually stands as the questioned element within this thesis.
As a starting point, a series of references about cultural implications of sound in space situate audible phenomena as an ethereal substance, which has been connoted as a sacred element and as ungraspable matter—especially when the source of the sound is unknown or, in relation to the acousmatic term, invisible.
At the same time, reverberation and echoes exemplify the physical particularities of sound in relation to space and architecture, bringing as well a magical dimension widely used in music and religion.
In close relationship to this, the abat-voix, as a surface used in churches to direct priests’ voices towards the public to make them distinct, becomes a clear example of sound deployment within a political dimension. Thus, listening to the abat-voix refers to the questioning of the vibration-environment and the questioning of the relationships between noise and the physical and contextual vibrations occupying spaces and bodies.
This approach sets a crucial aim within my practice. Noisification defines a process that aims to intervene in situations with specific contextual and political significance. Mise en abyme, reflection, illusion and mirage become strategies to emphasise the relationship with the sound and with anthropogenic soundscapes in order to trigger a different form of exchange with the recognised sources.
Using loudspeakers becomes my main methodology to manipulate and represent sound. It constitutes a process of breaking bonds between the audible and its source and therefore a process of hiding the source.
Such methodology performs a chase for acousmatic sounds—and acousmatic listening—and therefore for invisible ethereal matter. Noisification is a chase for fiction and for alternatives to the noise.
Noisification. Listening to The Abat-voix, Abstract, 2018 Passages on background noise, version for heaphones Noisification. Listening to The Abat-voix was printed in Amsterdam in 2018. Graphic design by Darío Dezfuli.
Andrés García Vidal (Sevilla, 1991) works as an artist and a recordist within the sound studies frame with a focus on aural/oral culture. From an interest in audio’s intrusive scope and its capacity to “break into” he explores specific contexts through the notion of noise, speech and participative processes.
García Vidal has been part of group shows such as Solo es Verdad lo que Sucede Cada Trescientas Noches (Galería Alarcón Criado, Sevilla, ES, 2020), All These Buldings, the Clock and its Hours (Kalverstraat 28, Amsterdam, NL), Hypnequinomagia.The Magic of the Sleeping Horses (Combo, Venice, IT, 2019), Torpor/A Bliss/A Slump (Haarlemmerweg 613, Amsterdam, NL, 2019) or They Swore It Could Talk To Dogs (Bageion Hotel, Athens, GR, 2018). Lay Eyes Where They Can’t See (Amsterdam, NL, 2019) or Touch to Snooze (Amsterdam, NL, 2019) are some of his recent interventions in public space. He has participated in residencies like Programa de Producción Uava-C3A (Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, C3A, Córdoba, ES, 2018) and Beca de Residencia Artística la Puebla de Cazalla (La Puebla de Cazalla, ES, 2018). García Vidal develops several ongoing collaborations such as Aguda, Ligera, Estridente (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo José María Moreno Galván, La Puebla de Cazalla, ES, 2019), together with graphic designer Johanna Ehde, Juana Lee (One and J. Gallery, Seoul, KR, 2020 / Neverneverland, Amsterdam, NL, 2020), together with visual artist Younwon Sohn, Pirotecnia (Galería Alarcón Criado, Sevilla, ES, 2018), together with flamenco dancer Ana Arenas. He was awarded with the funding INICIARTE from the Andalusian Culture Council in 2016.
As a sound mixer and sound designer García Vidal has been commissioned for projects such as Radical Observation by Debra Solomon and Juan Arturo García (series of short films for Who is We? – the Dutch pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, IT, 2021), Performing Loss by Mayra Sergio (video installation and surround sound for Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NL, coming soon), In Transit by Kyulim Kim (short film and surround sound, shown at the Eye on Art program, Eye Museum, Amsterdam, NL, 2021), Diary Room by Philip Ullman (short movie, animation, for Studio-21- in Split, HR and Supernormal, SG, coming soon), What Dying Feels Like by Philip Ullman (Short film, animation, shown at Tutorial at BSMNT Spinnerei, Leipzig, DE and Haus Wien, Vienna, AT, 2021), Fluid Dialogues by Basse Stittgen and Juan Arturo García (Short film for Science Gallery Bengaluru, IN, 2021), Blood Related Juan Arturo García and Basse Stittgen (short film for Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, NL, 2020), Malpaís, Copia Original by Juan Carlos Robles and Guillermo Weickert (video installation, performance and live surround sound for Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía C3A, Córdoba, ES / Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo MIAC, Las Palmas, ES, 2019), Homies Prayers by Mónica Mays (performance and live sound for Corridor Project Space, Amsterdam, NL 2019), Krab Jenga Club by Darío Dezfuli (Performance for Werkplaats Typografie graduation Show, Arnhem, NL, 2019), Punto Perfecto by María Alcaíde (video installation shown at Angels Barcelona, ES, 2019), Ascensión al Monte Athos by Mercedes Pimiento (short movie shown at Angels Barcelona, ES, 2018), En Potencia curated by Antonio R. Montesinos and Mercedes Pimiento (solo performance for Centro de Arte Jose Guerrero, Granada, ES, 2018), Soundscapes, a solo performance for Silencio. Festival de la Escucha (Espacio Turina, Sevilla, ES, 2018) and Landscape on Hold by Nazanin Karimi (shown at Shelter Amsterdam, Sandberg Instituut graduation show, NL, 2017).
Andrés García Vidal lives and works in Amsterdam, NL, where he graduated from the Dirty Art Department, Sandberg Instituut, in 2018. He is currently supported by the Mondriaan Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists / Werkbijdrage Jong Talent (2020-2021).
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Website by Johanna Ehde