Rachael Melanson, producer of Sonic Postcards will be transmitting sounds from my ‘holy conch’ on AFM, the radio station at Audio Foundation (Auckland, New Zealand)
Scheduled to air on 1-14-15, stay tuned for the exact time.
In September 2014, I resided in an artist studio in Tabriz, Iran for a month. As a visual and performing artist, what I was able to share in public was restricted. Furthermore, as a female visual and performing artist, the use of my voice in public performance was restricted.
Since performing as I choose is illegal in Iran (post 1978), I sent compositions in the form of personal (sculptural) notations created while residing in Tabriz to 16 female artists and musicians living outside of Iran to interpret and perform in lieu of my ability to do so in public.
The artists participating (receive and performing my scores) include Gabie Strong (Los Angeles, CA), Kali Z Fasteau (NYC, NY), Kelly Jayne Jones (London, UK), Heather Leigh (Glasgow, Scotland), Jenny Graf (Baltimore, MD / Norrebro, Denmark), Marcia Bassett (NYC, NY), Chiara Giovando (Los Angeles, CA), Shana Palmer (Baltimore, MD), Purple Pilgrims (North Island, NZ), Rachael Melanson (London, UK), Christina Carter (Austin, Texas), Ashley Paul (London, UK), Angeline Chirnside (Auckland, NZ), Matana Roberts (NYC, NY), Rachel Shearer (Auckland, NZ), and Kathleen Kim (Los Angeles, CA)
Different iterations of Khal, which may include the original scores, recorded interpretations of the scores, and live performances by the artists who received the scores as well as introduced artists, will be presented as a traveling exhibition in 2015/2016. The idea is to keep the scores ‘free’ and in a constant state of flux where translations remain transitional and reinterpreted from place to place. Details on the progress of this project will be updated periodically.
*Khal has been coined as a somewhat derogatory term in farsi for Iranian pop music, which flowed steadily homeward on cassettes from the huge Persian community in Los Angeles and has now been state-approved in Iran, a country where music was outlawed as the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979 (Mohebbi, Sohrab).
EXHIBITION & EVENT DATES:
September 2015 (exact date TBD) – Disjecta (Book of Scores curated by Chiara Giovando) in Portland, Oregon
November 5 – November 28, 2015 – Audio Foundation Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand
developed for radio only – explores the relationship between body, microphone and air movement. investigates a sound concept without exposure to the ‘missing element’ – the physical contact between audience and performer.
Sunday October 26 – WSPN (Saratoga Springs, NY) – The King Loser’s Cut Out Bin w/ DJ Phil Donnelly – 10 – 12am
Saturday October 25 – WAVE FARM WGXC (Acra, NY) – Saturday Night Special – 8pm
Monday October 13 – KDVS (Davis, CA) – Live in Studio A with DJ Christine Richers (will air Oct 18 @ 10pm)
Sunday October 12 - KALX (Berkeley, CA) - The Berkestir – 12 – 3pm
Saturday October 11 – KCHUNG (Los Angeles, CA) – Crystalline Morphologies w/ DJ Gabie Strong, 1 – 3pm
September 1 - WXYC (Chapel Hill, NC) – 4pm
Tags: yek koo
Helga Fassonaki, Oaxaca 2014
‘…one does not speak in a shell, one listens’ – (Patti Smith from poem ‘Conch’)
This project was inspired by Akio Suzuki’s ‘Listening Point’ project, Oto-Date, which I had the opportunity to experience under Suzuki and Aki Onda’s instruction during Field Studies 2014 in London. A group of us were given maps and told to find one or more ‘listening spots’ that we later shared with the group. No recorders, no instruments – our tools were our eyes and ears. Our ears like shells brought us closer to an audible landscape. Holy Conch was realized with a similar intention – through the minimal act of listening allow the senses and mind to peel wide open. Holy Conch was specifically realized while doing a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico. Upon arrival to Mexico, I was quickly roused by the many different sights and sounds coming from every direction – It was sensory overload times 100. I couldn’t focus on my intended project. Instead I wanted to be out of my studio and fully immersed in the cityscape.
After giving into the vibrant distractions, I decided to use churches as my listening spaces to somewhat escape the loudness – from bands to rockets to dance classes to kids shouting to drum circles to the iconic gas truck that drives with a jingle much like an ice cream truck to a man yelling ‘aqua’ every hour everyday, etc. In contrast, I thought churches could act as spaces for inner-reflection – a solo dwelling place ideal for listening. I located 18 churches in the Central Oaxaca area and for the remaining duration of my residency I visited a few a day. Using each of these resonating chambers in essence as my work studio, I sat or stood underneath the dome ceilings or walked around the canals for as long as I felt like being there. I often returned to the same church but never quite had the same experience twice. These churches were never actually without sound. With their doors open and much noise bleeding through, the churches were like the holy filters of society. Sounds reflected, echoed, resonated, and transformed – yet there was silence in the form of stillness as separation from the outside world itself acted like a filter. But with the sound of church bells came a subtle reminder of the hierarchical shape present within – a cone shaped golden spiral one can both listen through and hide within.
With a map and my notes, I invite visitors to have their own listening experience of Holy Conch, Oaxaca.
Holy Conch post live performance & listening environment
June 30th, 2014
I created a listening environment in which I improvised live with segments of recordings I made in the different Churches – a byproduct to share with an intimate audience. What fascinated me with the churches in Oaxaca was the underlying Pagan beliefs that were practiced before the Spanish arrived bringing over the Catholic religion (around 1521). Many Catholic churches were built right over Pagan shrines or sacred places. The chosen spots revealed the Pagans’ close relationship with nature and land.
In my alter creation I included raw materials symbolic of a kind of Pagan ritual integrated with a Baroque gold backdrop, an essence of my sensory experiences during holy conch. The creation of this new listening environment appeared to have meditative effects on the audience.