transmediale in collaboration with Akademie Schloss Solitude x NTS x depart.one, presents REUSE >> REFUSE exploring the connections between sound and refusal.
REUSE >> REFUSE is an audiovisual series bringing the dimension of sound into the discourse on refusal. The series invites four artists to activate the disregarded, unproductive, and leftover in order to assert the value of what is often seen as waste. Each of the contributors has been asked to REUSE >> REFUSE, to produce something new out of what was previously rejected or left on the cutting-room floor. Bringing together contributions by Lamin Fofana, Moor Mother, KMRU and Sarvenaz Mostofey, REUSE >> REFUSE will be published in the Almanac for Refusal as well as on the website of NTS Radio on 21.09.2021.
Refuse and refusal converge in that they both are situated outside of what is considered productive or generative. If refusal traditionally marks a break from an existing status quo through individual or collective acts of withdrawal, refuse is normally considered the residue of, or the leftover from, an act of transformation. They are thus both used to describe acts of rejection, avoidance, negation, yet insist on an alternative or a demand for reform. As refusal can be seen as a demand for an alternative, for new possibilities, can what has been deemed as refuse hold those possibilities within it too?
As such, moving past the mere reuse of sonic leftovers, the works in REUSE >> REFUSE seek to reflect on the current urgency to resist violent systems of oppression and exploitation, addressing repressed societies, racial and economic inequality, and tangible effects of the climate catastrophe.
Moor Mother’s work uses »sound as a form of resistance«, understanding the sonic realm as a space of »unlimited possibility« in which »we can change anything we want«. For REUSE >> REFUSE, Moor Mother has produced two new scores that interweave images and sounds from previous works with new visual and sonic material. The first work, Moor Mother Lost Interview, intersperses a filmed interview by D1L0 with an industrial soundscape that propels, highlights, and diffuses the artist’s words. The second piece, Inside the Black Womxn’s Temporal Portal, sets up a haunting, rhythmic loop in which time, as shown visually in material taken from a Black Quantum Futurism installation, moves in an alternating and nonlinear pattern. Within both pieces, viewers are invited to experience an experimental model in which glitches and the discordant are brought into focus. Sounds that traditionally would be excluded or erased are given space to show their affective beauty
Photo: Chris Sikich
Revisiting and extending a previous composition with unvoiced fragments, shards, and utterances, Lamin Fofana’s experimental electronica casts light on the devastating impacts of climate change and its violent implications for Black life. In Fofana’s sonic cosmos, organ tones permeate sounds of abstract electric guitars, while distant piano melodies are fused with accents of cello and violin. His piece is marked by a recurring muffled sound – the stroke of a clock, perhaps? Who’s time is up?
During the creation process of his work, Fofana read the science fiction novel 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, set in a time when much of humanity has fled an uninhabitable and overheated Earth. Fofana’s piece is a meditation on our current climate emergency, from hurricanes in the Caribbean to mudslides in West Africa, and the ever-present deaths caused by a lack of meaningful action. In a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted, Fofana’s piece instigates a hymn to the possibility of refusal through art – singing while running for one’s life.
Photo: Nicolas Premier
In Drummer on the roof , Sarvenaz Mostofey combines labyrinthine ideas and memories to reflect on themes of sound, social fiction, and the daily life of a working-class family living in a small apartment in the north of Iran. The story takes place on a cold night in the winter of 2017 and focuses on the sounds heard in a martial arts gym on the floor below. Every night, until late, the sounds of Hi-yah!, Aiyah!, Eeee-yah!, or Hyah!, of more than twenty men resonate throughout the building and the neighborhood. On some nights it exceeds the sound of the rough sea found nearby. On this particular night, the father climbs onto the roof and hits it with an unidentified object as harsh, as hard, and as loud as one can imagine. What was the drummer trying to convey as a message and did he succeed in silencing the din? Drummer on the roof is about the recording of this live drumming. The composition reenacts the contrasting sounds and forces – the Kiai, the sea roar, the roof drum and the songs lost in time
Waste is fundamentally crucial to environmental discourse both in physical and digital domains. It contains the value, usage, and temporality of things, although many are unaware of how much these phygital wastes contribute to the climate catastrophe. Just from our daily lives, we are in situations that contribute to carbon emissions generated through our devices and internet use. In contrast, other parts of the world, such as Nairobi, the subject of KMRU’s piece, are battling with tactile wastes, surrounded by landfills affecting communities and the life of humans and other species. waste(s) seeks to reflect on the concept of pollution. It asks: How is waste created? What happens when waste is thought of in different ways, and can waste be a source? To create the piece, KMRU collaged field recordings of waste(d) spaces, electromagnetic sounds of social media sites, and the digital debris of trashed and recycled audio fragments into new compositions. A juxtaposition between the digital-physical concept of waste, waste(s) is recontextualized as an artistic resource for real and imagined pollutions.
Photo: Julia Sellmann
Presented by Akademie Schloss Solitude x NTS Radio x depart.one in cooperation with transmediale and SHAPE Platform
Concept and idea by Rafael Schacter & Mara-Johanna Kölmel
Curated by Thomas Dumke, Denise Sumi, Rafael Schacter & Mara-Johanna Kölmel
Design by Stephan Thiel
Supported by the SHAPE Platform and co-funded by the European Union program CREATIVE Europe