Echoes of Listening (||): being with
by Sara Mikolai & Isuru Kumarasinghe
In the light of human-made ecological ruptures and constructed separateness between humans and other organisms, to both artists listening as a practice has yielded humble possibilities of re-encountering and reconnecting, as listening asks us to pause and be with the heard. The piece explores the relationship of listening and body and the affect of one on the other, while allowing close and distant biophony inform their movements, breath and ways of being. How can we experience and encounter other beings, if not with our preconceptions of how we perceive the things around us? Challenging anthropocentric perspectives, the work invites sensory and intuitive perception, encouraging mindful reconnection with who and what surrounds us: through listening, moving, resonating and echoing somatic comprehension of coexisting.
The work is a collaboration by Sara Mikolai and Isuru Kumarasinghe, which takes shape as an audio piece in the first part and in a second chapter was further developed into an audio-visual installation. It is situated in a greenhouse, planted with wildflowers; small paths guide to stools, where people are invited to be with themselves and the plants, to experience the sound piece and how its resonance affects their own bodies and togetherness. The video work is a choreographic camera exploration of movement, space, sound and lens and is shot with mobile phones. The performers go through a simple movement sequence, which is guided by active listening. The three mobile cameras follow this movement, hence the viewer witnesses both the captured movement, as well as what the dancers see themselves. The video explores the relationship between moving, seeing and listening, as well as being seen, looking at others, being filmed and filming as an act itself. The sound piece can be experienced in the greenhouse with and without the video work. The work thus invites a sensory experience that addresses different aspects of listening, seeing, being, coexisting and how these are directly interconnected.
Audio-Visual installation (video piece 17 min 27 sec)
Size: 400 × 1500 × 500cm
Material: single channel video monitor, 5.1 speakers,, signpos,chair,wildflowers (Siberian chrysanthemum,Elsholtzia splendens),herbal tea
Concept: Sara Mikolai, Isuru Kumarasinghe
Choreography, video direction & edit: Sara Mikolai
Composition, music direction & sound-design: Isuru Kumarasinghe
Performance: Hasanthi Niriella, Isuru Kumarasinghe, Sara Mikolai
Commissioned by and presented at:
Gangwon Triennale 2021, Gangwon
Echoes of Listening (|)
by Sara Mikolai & Isuru Kumarasinghe
This audio recording is the outcome of collective listening during four weeks of lockdown in the city of Colombo. Taking the relationship of listening and body and the affect of one on the other as a starting point of their dialogue, the practice sessions at the arrival of monsoon in lockdown inevitably attended to the surrounding sounds of the outside entering the interior, as well as short neighbourhood walks. The work explores listening to the layered depths of close and distant biophony and how this mode of listening could move the listeners towards participation in this soundscape. How can a practice of listening be echoed in a process of performance-making, that understands itself as one of multiple layers creating a sonic landscape of the surrounding ecosystem? In the light of human-made ecological ruptures and constructed separateness between humans and other organisms, to both artists listening as a practice has yielded humble possibilities of re-encountering and reconnecting, as listening asks us to pause and be with the heard. The piece inquires how we can be with and mindfully generate from here. Isuru, incorporating his listening practice from music and sound art, and Sara involving her listening approach from the perspective of dance, both exploring movement and resonance, echoing somatic comprehension in a dance that listens and sounds.
concept, performance: Sara Mikolai,Isuru Kumarasinghe
sound design: Isuru Kumarasinghe