next time, die consciously (بیگانگی )                    

LABOUR’s debut work for Berlin Atonal 2018 operates simultaneously on multiple temporalities — from microsounds and stochastic synthesis to rhythmic cycles to acknowledging that which propels beyond — and takes a critical stance towards notions of regulated time by embracing rhythmic instability and sound as sculptural material. 

Born from several years of research and contemplation on the construction-of-self, this work considers the extent to which external forces create us — heteronomy is the condition of all things — the extent to which we are constructable and therefore deconstructable beings, thus providing the potential for great transformation.

short excerpt below, published in Year Zero issue 3, 'introspection:  an orientation before any sound' (2021)

Reflections on the inception of next time, die consciously / a brief lineage:

(N.K.) —> Reading Group —> LABOUR  —> next time, die consciously (بیگانگی)

The first thing we did after closing the venue / project-space we ran for many years in Berlin called N.K., was launch a reading group.  At N.K., we supported various experimental music practices from the underground to the academic with a mission statement of public engagement with the avant-garde.  As we closed the concert room, it made sense to maintain a social project that was discursive and generative; conspiring with our friends Mattin and Sascha Kahir, the reading group was born:  ‘NO-HOW:  a critical series of embodied studies or, in other words — putting ourselves on the line.’  Coming together over specific texts in an evolving and collectively created curriculum,  this weekly meet-up pursued an understanding of ourselves in the world through the ways we are conditioned,  so exploring our own determination from different thematic perspectives such as linguistic, social, sexual, racial, economical, historical, biological and so on, with each session ending in the collective creation of a ‘score’ through which we would attempt to embody some specific and newly discovered insight, thereby testing the possibility of actual transformation.  Very early on in these meetings it became clear, at least to some of us, the desire to  articulate a personal emancipatory practice that could continue well beyond the timeframe of the meetings.

At some point, after reading Wilfred Sellars, Monique Wittig, Shulamith Firestone, Paul Preciado, Feuerbach, ENDNOTES and so on, we read the ‘Dialectics of Labour’ by British philosopher Chris Arthurs, who at some point highlights an interesting and early definition of labour by Marx that gives ontological significance to the realm of work, describing it something like, “one’s coming-to-be for oneself through work” in german, für sich werden.  As we continued to collect production and performance experiences as Hacklander / Hatam in various contexts, this felt like a suitable platform from which to re-articulate our focus on exploring aesthetic potential more intensely and through larger scale works; thus LABOUR was born.

The debut work of LABOUR came almost two years later in 2018 with next time, die consciously (بیگانگی).  In this piece, we sought a syncretism of various musical and visual approaches also in an expanded sense, and so enlisted the collaboration of visual artist Evelyn Bencicova, programmer and artist Fredrik Olofsson, drummer Masaya Hijikata, and bass clarinetist Yoni Silver.  One key text we bonded over in the inception period was ‘Willing Slaves of Capital’ by Frederic Lordon, which thinks through the passionate, desiring life by way of Spinoza and Marx, touching on heteronomy and introducing the term co-linearisation, or the production of suitable desires in accordance to a master-desire.  Beyond the sound and visual world, next time, die consciously embraced an understanding of acoustic space beyond the PA setup by means of thirty additional drummers placed throughout the building on the periphery of the audience and on several levels — ground floor, first floor, and throughout the rafters.  This was applied not only for dramatic purposes, but highlighted specific instances of reverberation throughout the massive Kraftwerk space, where the piece was first shown at Berlin Atonal.  This musical material follows a compositional approach of stochastic distribution, where single points in space played on un-amplified single floor tom drums, produce a sense of shifting densities outside of grid-time.   

This work folded in many aspects of our lives, not only aesthetically, but also in terms of process and even, for example, the re-appropriation of the old stage from N.K. in order to build the base-plates of the stochastically distributed, battery-powered and wirelessly controlled LED lights. 

concept, direction and composition LABOUR
musicians Farahnaz Hatam (electronics + percussion), Colin Hacklander (drum machine + percussion), Masaya Hijikata (percussion) and Yoni Silver (bass clarinet + percussion)
visuals Evelyn Bencicova
additional visuals Jakub Kubica and Jakub Gavelier
stochastic lights Fredrik Olofsson
house light realisation MFO
stochastic drum ensemble 30x drummers (names omitted)
thanks to Gewärtler Stiftung; Berlin Atonal; NU Unruh for the metal percussion

CRACK review