When I arrived at Blaise Diagne International, Dakar’s airport, I felt like I was setting foot on a foreign planet. This was my first intercontinental trip, so the impressions of the landscapes, soundscapes, technological and cultural aspects and differences that I felt were enhanced. It seemed like a lot of things like cars and buildings were repaired, reused, dismantled, altered and almost never new. The fine Sahara dust was everywhere.
With the help and guidance of the team at Kër Thiossane, we made some very revealing trips to different parts of the city. From metal workshops to markets and beaches, and a lot in between, I got an idea of the living and working conditions in Dakar. Those tours helped me to get my bearings and understand where I was. In some moments I had the feeling of wandering on the poorly healed scars left by colonialism. It took a few days. But very soon there was the will to create something and search for material and more inspiration.
Kër Thiossane provided a good mixture of a quiet working space and fluctuation and smaller events or working sessions of other projects and people, which led to interesting conversations and innovative impulses. Soon I entered a phase of practical experimentation with an installative approach and recording of sounds, soundscapes and noises. It was hard, and maybe even unnecessary, to concentrate on only one topic. So I collected a lot of different recordings, like the sound of machines, animals, people in urban areas and religious gatherings, the ocean and other things.
Throughout the residency, I really appreciated the people I spent the time with. It was of great value to share and discuss my personal and artistic impressions with them and hear their points of view, which might be very different from mine. Those conversations helped me to gain a greater understanding of our work in this project and its significance in the context of Dakar.
Speaker Flying Object – SFO – Space Mango
This installation is composed of two speakers suspended on wires, a water dispenser bottle, a cylindrical metal frame, cable, anamplifier and a mango tree.
The upper speaker’s membrane is facing up. It is hung from a branch of the mango tree and attached to the water dispenser bottle, which is “hovering” above the speaker. The lower speaker’s membrane is facing down, and it is suspended in the cylindrical metal frame, right below the upper speaker. The kinetic idea is that the magnetic forces of the speakers keep the upper speaker in continuous motion, due to the repelling forces of the magnets at its natural resting point.
The audial aspect of this installation is a 30-minute-long sound piece, composed of field recordings and generated frequencies. It is set up to be looped and played back by the two speakers.
Visually, the SFO might remind the recipient of a space capsule in the process of docking. The motion of the upper speaker could be described as hovering, searching but never resting.