Untitled (inwardness, juice, natures)
For the occasion of collaboration with Isabel Lewis and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy for the Sharjah Biennial 14, Hacklander-Hatam (of LABOUR) developed a spatial-compositional approach that guided the audience in sonic dramaturgy through a large physical area by encouraging both active listening and curiosity. Incorporating three adjacent rooms of a large out-of-use ice manufacturing factory and its surrounding area including its dirt parking lot, nearby sand ridges and main road, this work engaged and enlisted the sounds of the nearby nature reserve via extensive field recordings, the efforts of local Dubai-based musicians, and the duo’s own sound synthesis and percussion playing through the following methods they devised for the work:
enmeshed sound - reproduced sonic image, mapped onto the present, according to similarity of source & environment; hybrid sound - reproduced sonic images in conversation with advanced processes of further technological enhancement, manipulation and transformation; transforming sound - digitally synthesised sounds via SuperCollider sound synthesis programming environment; crystallised events - discrete essences/practices, reframed; conversations with natures - improvising musicians attempting high level integration with recorded or hybrid sounds; expansion of sonic periphery - articulated by drumming-events; dance of the automobiles - physically spatialised and in-motion sound via loudspeakers in cars, physical filters via car doors opening and closing, courtesy of assistants riding along, digital sound material developed for maximum spatial disorientation.
Unfolding over one hour, the work began with full sonic activation of the ice factory and surrounding area via loudspeakers before settling into a sequence of localised sonic events placed variously throughout the large area, comprised of musicians and loudspeakers in dialogue. Towards the end of each unique localised moment, electronic sound would slowly approach the audience from afar, eventually building into full sonic saturation, and temporarily obscure the localised sound. As each long sonic wave would recede, a new outer edge of the sonic periphery was audibly revealed, as the distant drumming from two drum set performers became audible at the tail end of the massive electronic sound event; their specific positioning not only articulated an expanding sonic periphery, but simultaneously created a unique reverberation between a large outer wall of the ice factory and a nearby storage building, resulting in a quite psychedelic natural slap delay effect for those standing in the ‘center’ of the work’s area. As the drums and electronic event faded away, the next localised sonic event from a distance would become apparent, audible; through this gesture the audience was gently invited to discover its source, and continue the journey through the work. Following all localised events — trio of flute, violin and underwater clams recorded via hydrophone; duet of qanun with electronic drone transforming into noise; septet of ghanian percussion, drum sets and electronic sound — three automobiles entered the piece from afar, from the main road, ushering in a transformation of sonic material through wireless bluetooth speakers in their backseats. In a choreographic sequence designed together with Lewis, she enters the piece as the figure of Kali in a brief and high energy dance, before she moves inside the factory for the final section of the piece, beckoning the audience to join her as the sound crossfades from the cars to the building’s outside, and finally inside.
This one-time piece served as an initiation for the sound installation that continued on-site for the next three months, the duration of the biennial, in dialogue with Lutz-Kinoy’s large paintings, pausing only for the call-to-prayer.
sound, sonic dramaturgy and musical direction Hacklander / Hatam (LABOUR)
performance, concept, and direction Isabel Lewis
paintings and ceramics Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
sound synthesis Farahnaz Hatam
field recordings Colin Hacklander and Isabel Lewis
qanun Nagham Debal
drumsets Ziad Baig and Colin Hacklander
flute Reemaz Al Oqbi
violin Lydia Shepherd
drum ensemble 5-piece Ras Pinto Group (Aya African Drum and Dance via Ghana)
curator Claire Tancons
production Sharjah Biennial 14