Episōdo: Beyond the ExhibitionMomentary inhabitations of time
Indian sound artist Ish SHEHRAWAT (Ish S) and Indonesian artist Venzha Christ present the installation Sound Reasons, comprising two components, at the Lecture Hall of the Yokohama Museum of Art. This is the first in the Sound Reasons series to be held in Japan.
Dates: September 16 – 27, 2020 *Closed: September 17 and 24.
Venue: Lecture Hall, Yokohama Museum of Art
Online Walkthrough was held on 19 September, and its archive can be viewed at
Please access to the official Sound Reasons Instagram for more information on the related events that are organized by Ish S and Venzha Christ.
An invisible immateriality, traveling, dissipating rapidly, embedding in somatic ways: Sound constitutes memories of encounters and moods, fears and limits, encompasses both unknowable and prohibited. It envelops, asks for discernment of intensity or withdrawal of its presence. The journey through mimicry, translucence, solitude, and togetherness is enlisted through the transversal qualities experienced in and with sound, asking us to become agile, move across senses, across membranes, across thresholds, beyond our finitude, towards an infinity of scales of becoming. To concentrate and attenuate our attention to this porous, boundary-crossing through mediums and cultures of listening and producing sound, we offer this Episōdo, inviting sound artists to awaken our sensing of extensive and expansive worlds.
Ish SHEHRAWAT (Ish S)
Born in 1978 in New Delhi, India. Lives and works in New Delhi. Shehrawat is a composer, sound artist, curator and musician, and his primary fields of interest are sound art and installations, along with electro-acoustic and improvised music. Trained as a classical guitar player, he has produced various sound art installations, albums and composed music for independent short films, plays, performances and contemporary dance recitals worldwide. He also curates the Sound Reasons Festival for sound art and experimental electronic music, which has taken place in India and the South Asia region since 2012. In 2018 he received a grant from India Foundation for the Arts under its Arts Practice Programme, with support from the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT).
Born in 1973 in Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Lives and works in Yogyakarta. Christ is a founder of House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a new media art laboratory in Yogyakarta that has been active since 1999, where he explores a number of art projects that work towards the development of art, science, and technology for society. He has also been a director of the Indonesia Space Science Society (ISSS) since 2015. Christ has focused on space science and space exploration research since the beginning of his career and has actively created collaborative projects with more than forty institutions and universities in this field worldwide. His latest projects including NASA are MARS Desert Research Station - MDRS (2018) and Simulation of Human Isolation Research for Antarctica-based Space Engineering - SHIRASE (2019).
By Ish S
The world is heard; its sonic space and time is generated through the complex unity of listening and perception. At Sound Reasons this listening and the phenomenological become the foci for innovative and generative practices as strategies of engagement to explore different creative and curatorial landscapes. The center point here is Techne, which in ancient Greek philosophy signifies 'a mode of knowing', being able to see, hear, inhabit and experience in the widest sense, and essentially, apprehend what is present as a continuum and the phenomenal. At Sound Reasons the 'essence of knowing' as Alethia, which brings into the present the processes and activities of creative reflections and abstractions, is the focus.
Sound as a medium is very dynamic and its activities and forms can be experienced and appreciated through a continuous engagement over time. The characteristics of continuity and redefinitions are complex, yet vital, to positioning Sound Art and contemporary electro acoustic music as truly post-modern forms. Sound Reasons, apart from its origins in sound and music, has at its core the processes of amalgamation of evolving phenomena, research and Praxis. It is a space for creative and sonic entanglements, and it has taken on a lot of different shapes and forms. Interestingly, in 'Logical semantics', or in language so to speak, 'Sound Reasons' stands for (or means) something reliable and sensible. Therefore, in praxis, Sound Reasons, just like Techne, brings forward knowledge-based experiences into the world, into the present, out of concealment and into their 'multiplicity of appearances'. This aspect is closest to the philosophical concept of Rhizome as developed by Deleuze and Guattari, which apprehends this multiplicity as a study of Phenomenology (Husserl & Merleau-Ponty), and in Sound Reasons we engage with it via experiences, creations, preservations, explorations, abstractions and perceptions.
Having this multi-faceted research and praxis-based approach as a festival, music label, studio and production space, Sound Reasons is engaged with numerous curatorial as well as creative platforms. Over the last decade we have managed to represent around 90 artists. The experience of the works and activities we have engaged outline a unique spectrum of the many possibilities of sound art, electronic and contemporary music practices. At Sound Reasons we always want to initiate such varied approaches and processes. This is possible only through creative and curatorial explorations along with inter-media intersections as we sonically engage with the world and our lived experiences of the same.
EVOLUTION OF THE UNKNOWN VII
8 DIY Antennas, 8 DIY Signal Receivers, 4 speakers, 2 Frequency Visualisations
The first installation for the Episodo SOUND REASONS is by Venzha Christ, named 'Evolution of the Unknown VII'. It is a graceful sound sculpture that uses DIY receivers to convert, synthesise and articulate astronomical radio waves from space into an audible spectrum. As a work of playful poetry, its structural complexity opens like a sonic bloom to reveal the phenomenological and intricate series of relationships of astronomical radio waves, with its artistic abstractions as an ongoing interplay between the radio waves, spatiality, sonifications, synthesis and the essence of the universe as intersections of being and listening.
AN OCTAGON AND A SQUARE II
12 Channel Spatialised Sound Installation
The second installation, called 'An Octagon and a Square,' by me (Ish S) is a sonic horizon, which constitutes heterogeneous sound fields that can be inhabited and experienced from both the inside and outside of the installation. There are various layered sounds composed and synthesised for the installation, therefore the movement of the listeners within the installation space and their respective positioning as sonic observer plays an important part in the perception and the listening(s) of the work. I have coined this spatial phenomenon as “Sonic Sculpting in Space”. Here, the sound fields are always in motion as they reflect, oppose each other and at times exchange positions, flip and juxtapose overtones and movements. There is a folding and unfolding of the phenomenal, the opening up of multi layered listening fields that are brought into 'various clearings' both within the space and outside of it. This spatially illustrates some of the very intricate melodic intervals (1) of Indian classical music within the contemporary format of a 12 channel sound art installation.
More importantly this installation is directed towards the phenomenological, and it brings the visitor/ observer into the complex fields of dynamic listening processes and closer to the finer points of 'Indian classical music' (2), like that of the 'Rasa. (3) Based on minimalism and sound spatalisation, all the locations within the installation provide for infinite listening experiences as these perspectives and the layered sonic phenomena of inhabiting a space are sculpted as a sound installation.
As an artist I really like the idea of observing this sound field from the both from the inside and the outside. This leads to an interesting scope of inhabiting it, as well as observing it as a sonic horizon from a distance. The visitor is encouraged to move in and around the work in order to gather multiple perspectives of the installation. These movements of the observer/ listener create multiple layers of sonic experiences, and more importantly engage the body as a medium. The idea is to elaborate these engagements and multiplicities of experiences within the phenomenology of listening, thereby preventing any single sense from imposing itself at the very outset of the phenomenological processes. (4) Just like the blank space surrounding a word permits typographical adjustments, spatial compositions here are structural modifications of Indian classical music intervals, bringing forth the poetics of a newer form of listening and being.
At Sound Reasons we believe that 'art' through 'sound and music' can be the origin and the beginning, and therefore have a spring forward into a clearing, into a newer form of listening and being rather than just remaining a routine appendix to be carried out as a cultural and social phenomenon.
Sound Reasons therefore becomes a place where the layering of the so called concepts, boundaries, processes and elements can change and overlap and influence each other in a non-linear and non-historical set up – so that other creative and curatorial realms can be brought forward into the clearing and into the present. These can be a clearing to other 'access points' for the works, space and time and therefore reinterpretation of the poesy.
In the Heideggerian sense of interpretation, within these installations and live performances there is an interplay of imagination and poetry as a projection, a clearing, a creation of a region to be experienced. There unfolds an unconcealment, so to speak. It is a 'creation of an open region' that poetry allows and in this 'nowness' the perceptions and experiences intersect.
Music before everything else.
and, to that end.
Prefer the uneven
more vague and more soluble in air with
nothing in it that is heavy or still.
- VERLAINE Art Poitique
To name an object is to suppress three-fourths of the enjoyment of the poem, which is composed of the pleasure of guessing little by little: to suggest . . . there is the dream
We will be doing various other events with and before the installation dates like live performances, radio shows, talks etc. Please refer to the website and this space for updates.
Footnotes and Citations
(1) An interval is the distance (in scale steps) between two pitches. A melodic interval occurs when two notes are played in sequence, one after the other. Intervals can also be harmonic, meaning that the two notes are played together at the same time. For example, taking C as the tonic the "1" (Sa in Indian classical music or the first degree/note of the scale), then the third degree of the C major scale is E (Ga in Indian classical), so the interval between C and E is called a major third. If the second tone in a major interval is lowered by one half step, the interval becomes minor.
(2) I have used the scale from the Marwah Thaat (catergorisation or grouping of Indian classical scales) to compose and synthesise sounds for the installation. These ragas are performed from late night-time till early morning, like Marwah, Puriya and Sohini. These are special 6 note-hexatonic ragas which have the 4th note sharp - Ma Sharp - and omit the 5th note Pa completely as 5th denotes the sun. This leads this system to a very special set of notes that usually do not exist in the western performance tradition. This installation interprets the soundings of these notes and creates a unique space-time and with these intervals (and others) as en-harmonic musical and experiential relationships. These are put forward as artistic representations to bring into the realm a newer phenomenological listening of Indian classical music.
(3) In Indian aesthetics, a rasa (Sanskrit: रस) literally means "juice, essence or taste". It connotes a concept in Indian arts about the aesthetic flavour of any visual, literary or musical work that evokes an emotion or feeling in the reader or audience but cannot be described. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2013)] It refers to the emotional flavors/essence crafted into the work by the writer and relished by a 'sensitive spectator' or sahṛdaya, literally one who "has heart", and can connect to the work with emotion, without dryness. Rasas are created by bhavas: the state of mind. [ Wikipedia ]
(4) I want to create listening experiences which are heterogeneous within the installations, so that the attention can be drawn to the intricacies of Indian classical music like Shrutis, Raas, and the unique melodic intervals within the notes along with the compound and polymetric rhythms. These above-mentioned parameters along with others are often very important aspects of the classical form, and I feel that interpreting them in the contemporary format of 'sound installations' becomes an immersive and powerful medium to bring about heterogeneous interpretations and listener experiences that bring forward newer experiences of classical music into the clearing.
Now, there is a 'learning curve to the listening (here)' and one has to hear these installations over 3 to 4 times if possible to sense the complexities of the phenomenological engagements herein. The practice of listening will get sharper with each listening session, that is, conscious application to the sonic phenomenon and its intricacies are experienced. One will be able to track the movements of sounds within these examples, which are not too linear and will be able to follow the shapes of these movement, tracing them as diagonal, circles and parabolas (around you)
This very Phenomenology, in the great philosopher Husserl’s sense, is not a science in the sense that physics or mathematics is a science. Phenomenology is not a matter of forming inductive theories to explain phenomena, and is not a matter of drawing deductive conclusions from them. Any such going beyond the directly given is risky and subject to error.
Phenomenology, then, does not argue; it describes. Husserl makes this point again and again. Phenomenology, for Husserl, is not a matter of learning to think clearly or to reason properly. It is a matter of learning to see all over again. This “describing” of the phenomena is not a simple task. It involves discipline and training. Training in phenomenology is rather like the training a painter gets. The painter must learn to be sensitive to nuances that all of us in a sense see, although most of us don’t notice them. The 'phenomenological heterogeneous experiences' afforded spatially within the installation will be of these deeply immersive listening(s) which will eventually over a period of time lead to a training in sonic phenomena.