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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 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.

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

3. Echoes of listening_photo of studio performance recording_Isuru, Sara.jpg
Echoes of Listening (|): being with
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, come together with their mediums – an Esraj and Salangai (dance footbells) – in a sonic dialogue with each other, the neighbourhood soundscapes and the architecture of a living room, both bodies exploring movement and resonance, echoing somatic comprehension in a dance that listens and sounds. 

Audio piece

Concept: Sara Mikolai & Isuru Kumarasinghe
Performance audio recording: Sara Mikolai & Isuru Kumarasinghe
Sound design: Isuru Kumarasinghe

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