2311is a sonic close-up that immerses us in a body without clearly defined boundaries between the body and the external world, for the sonorous veiling is enveloped in all layers of the air. The sound is seeping through from everywhere, blending with the loudness of the body’s vital processes: with breathing, the heartbeat, the blood rushing through the veins. It negotiates between the internal and the external. The album’s composition is starting from the point where individual sounds, with their intimate internal reality, thoughts, sensations, and memory, blend with environmental sounds, marked by geography, the climate, animals and insects. The three long-form noise compositions are mediums for nurturing a sensibility toward the world that raise our perceptual attention. The sounds penetrate the body, resulting in permeability of the senses, which connects the organism with the tissue and veins of other organisms and phenomena. The artist suggests a world-view in which living organisms are not seen as isolated entities. The body lays exposed, with pores open, penetrated by the sun beams, the soft rumbling of the earth, gusts of wind, melodies, memories, associations. It’s not the body that sings – the sound is emitted by everything that enters the body, repeating in extended loops between the origin that can listen and the receiver that can also emit. The perceptual spectrum of the transmitter/receiver is substantially enhanced.
2311 is ambiental; not in the sense of genre, but in its effect, which delivers transmitter/receiver into a total sonic architecture. In the long sequences, the artist briefly pauses to enjoy the condensing of the sound, and it seems as if the sound arises from an emotional and tactile urge to bend time so as to allow for attentive listening that would not be subjected to regulated time constrictions. agapea’s sound is layered through multiple sound sources. Different levels of music themes are accumulating in slow tempo, each resonating in its own spectrum, like in the natural environment, where each species or natural phenomenon has its own sound niche.1 Under these conditions, the silent and subtler sound patterns are also heard clearly, despite the louder and more expanding pulsations. Kaleidoscopic patterns are amassing, created by stroking, pressing, pulsating, and pausing, while. She covers haptic sound masses with layers of field recordings that further blur the distinction between a person and organic structures.
In contrast to the biophonic spectrum, understood as (non-human) high definition sound structure in which each sound is distinct, her biomimetic stridulations, intertwined with synthetic sounds in 2311, offer a virtual spectrum for intentional training of attentive listening and generation of emotions, in which biological elements are merged with the cultural, mechanical, electronic, political, and those pertaining to language. agapea employs all available technological means: sound is produced with DIY and other analogue synthesisers and manipulated with computer software, and environmental sounds are captured with a recorder which is here used as a sound amplification detector. agapea treats technological means as no more and no less than an essential part of a biotope, i.e. like other organisms.
The sound volume in 2311 compositions also encourages a reflection on the body as an interface through which different forces can enter, in contrast to perceiving the body as the medium of communication and information exchange between the external and internal worlds. “Interfaces are not simply objects or boundary points. They are autonomous zones of activity. Interfaces are not things, but rather processes that effect a result of whatever kind.”2 Analogue sound synthesisers and field recordings are thus not the artist’s media but interfaces, interesting for their possible effects, because they are left to coincidence and biomimetic functioning to a far greater extent than the software for music production. Interfaces emerge as incompatibility.3 In simpler terms, computers are more ideologically conditioned than field recordings or analogue devices, despite perceptual filters (culture, language, beliefs, expectations) or the shared technological development. The crucial intervention or the hack of the ideological design of interfaces is precisely its unconventional usage of devices, which reflect a posthumanist view on the relation between biomasses or matter in a biotope.
Besides independently researching sound structures, Saša Spačal alias agapea plays with noise(s) in media art installations, in which she broaches the question of a comprehensive posthumanist perception of the environment by employing different biotechnological means or by combining live systems, technologies, and art. She has chosen the medium of sound because it transcends viewing and thinking based on rationality. Sound does not belong only to the domains of the intimate, sensual, and emotional; it also belongs to the domains of collaboration, exchange, or contagiousness, which is not based on transmitting but rather on sharing and creating together. This is why we have decided to work together on the third composition 2322 to create a sound space as a site of communication. We both are also members of Theremidi Orchestra (TO), a nine-member noise collective, which is, rather than a band, a social or a sociological instrument for listening and nurturing of mutual understanding.
agapea’s voluminous sound dynamic is seductive, bright, and at peace with the world, and thus absolutely intimate. To quote Nancy, “At every instant music promises its development only in order to better hold and open the instant… in a singular coincidence of movement and suspense.”4
By Ida Hiršenfelder alias beepblip.
1 In his early work, musician and ecologist Bernie Krause proposes the so called niche hypothesis, suggesting that (non-human) biomass and natural phenomena adjust their frequencies and time-shift their vocalisations, with each establishing its own sound territory that does not overlap with others (compared to the urban landscape characteristic for an overlapping of similar sound spectra). Kendall Wrightson: An Introduction to Acoustic Ecology, in Soundscape. The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, No.1, Spring 2000, p. 10.
2 Alexander R. Galloway, The Interface Effect, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2012.
4 Jean Luc Nancy: Listening, Fordham University Press, New York, 2007, p. 40.