darbnica instrumenti izdotie lauka dalibnieki notikumi lukotava



T.T – First of all I'd like to say that I'm happy that event took place. We are very close nations
and cooperation between Estonian and Latvian sound artists should continue.
M.S. – The event turned to be consistently international. We had participants from Latvia,
Estonia, Finland, US/UK, US/EE, 2 artists from Holland joined our group in Andrejsala powerplant. The challenge of the project was in spontaneous collaboration of participants from different countries with different backgrounds brought together in unknown environment, when time and means of expression are limited. In such conditions collaboration requires high level of attention, care and comprehension, along with ability of "understanding" space as a field of interrelated activities.
…All improvised sound collages performed by a group during the workshop were site specific
and turned to be a unique collective experience expressed in spatial sound compositions, structured and performed in real time and real space, using only objects and specific characteristics of the site.
J.N. – Idea and techniques of exploring sounds in space is not new for composers, but usually
it's expressed in different way. It's more about exploring techniques of particular musical instruments and preparing academic compositions to be performed in space with determined
acoustic properties. During workshop main challenge for me as for composer and chamber music player was the opportunity to work with sounds that come from particular place while being
in that place. It is like composing in place for that place. It's a great experience. Professional
musicians usually play interpretation of musical pieces in space, but almost never composing in
space. Currently I'm composing music for theater, where sound has direct relation with artistic
activity in space and during the workshop I had a lot of new ideas that are very useful in that
I.S. – How much such site specific sound activities represent site? I have a feeling that any activity even the most spontaneous or site specific is based on previous experience and personality that tend to dominate over actual situation and therefore most expressions take similar forms, sometimes even ignoring environment.
T.T. – For me every place comes out in a different way. Its of course true that when I go to the
place I carry my own aura and experience that I relate to the place, but I try to keep it away, and
focus on surrounding space which I invade. So I think that pieces performed or composed in
different places are very different. Even if sometimes they seem to sound alike – experience is always different. And I think it's very important to understand that it is not just a sound project –
it's much more about relating with things, with space and yourself.
M.S. – I would call similarity of expression in different locations – a language. Language of
sound art is actively developing and is in constant mutation as collaboration and sharing of
experience is a basic strategy for sound artists. Sometimes it smooth edges of personal originality
– but benefit of collaboration is of higher value.
I.S. – The media format of the workshop was soundfilm. What was the main focus- to create a
live sound structure or to perform in a space in front of the camera?
T.T. – it's an open topic for participants. To create a sound structure requires more attention and
focus comparing to visual performance that expresses personal feeling of the space. For me it
was a mixture of both ways, a kind of compromises.
M.S. – There was no predetermined criteria of final product or strict rules. Expression was a quest for a balance in between space, personal potential and shared collective activity. So we have experienced different types of activities including very tense, focused towards sound, where participants were very still, often turned to the camera with back or even out of the frame, and very different situations when everybody is moving around keeping in frame and being very theatrical. All situations and differences were a pure collective reaction to space, as none of us was in those places before, we never agreed on strategy in advance and we had only 2-3
hours to get familiar with the place, to prepare a performance and to perform. Sometimes it was
someone's idea provoked by the place that we followed, sometimes those were just overlapping
series of personal activities that in time synchronized as shared soundscape, sometimes it was just one object or type of activity that naturally attracted all participants.
J.N. – Very important experience in mentioned conditions was to get know which things U don't
have to do, and what is not good. It becomes clear by trying different things and repeating them
over time in different combinations.
I.S. – The average number of participants was about 10 each day. Some activities involved only
4 people, some 7, some involved all participants. Do you think there are limitations or premises
in number of participants?
M.S. – I don't think there are limitations. Just different spaces or types of activities involve
different amount of people. We were 13, and I never felt that we are too many or few for certain
activity or place. If we would be only 3 or on contrary -30, then activity would probably take a
different shape, but I'm sure it would still find its balance.
T.T. – If you want people to collaborate more you take 10 people and put them in one room, if
you want them to go more deep inwards themselves then you make a duo and it's a very deep connection. We didn't define it in the beginning if it should be one way or another, choice was
always spontaneous, and I think it was good, it gave more dynamics.
M.S. - The larger group is the higher should be the level of awareness. If understanding is
achieved then collective act is of strong emotional delight. For social species feeling of being
part of a group is exciting in itself but if group is of self reference organization (without
permanent leader or linear progression) then experience is outstanding.
I.S. – I think sequence of sites visited in those 3 days was very successful. After workshop I have
very personal feeling about those places.
M.S. - That is very nice to hear it, because I myself have a very similar feeling afterwards, and
it was the main abstract goal of the workshop – to achieve very personal experience in places
that are familiar to public from media sources, but are not personally accessible. Sequence of
sites was narrative. It was structured on very basic compositional precepts of contrast, similarity
and rhythm to create a feeling of continuity, feeling of a trip. By coincidence two artists from
Holland joined our group in Andrejsala powerplant. The next day I found out that their recent
project is about mind mapping. That was a very symbolic coincidence – we spent a long evening
discussing the topic. Sequence of experiences picked from different sites during the workshop
created invisible, but meaningful collective mindmap that traced a new social communication
pattern in urban environment. In our collective artistic act we have created a brend new mental
route that linked certain points of the city in a structured scenario. It showed us a potential of
personal geomantic experience. By adding new toponomes and shaping new routes the mind
map would grow covering more areas and increasing its density. In topographical mapping it
might remind an underground metro scheme, which has its own character synchronized with
function of the city and linked with overground structure in certain points.
I.S. – Is there any wider use of such mindmapping for public? Do you expect any consequences
of the workshop, or it's just a personal experience of a small closed group of specialized
character and nothing more?
M.S. – I believe that our example would work as a pushing media for creative investigation
of the city in many different directions. Our project had no rational or officially promoted
background and was entirely based on personal initiative and ambition, but it still found a warm
support in several art and city development organizations. That's why I dare to believe that it
might awake even more ambitious follow-ups in other fields. It's also just an example how to
step out of narrow borders of specialization we are forced to keep in contemporary society.
Stepping out by means of freaking out is very common, but it gives only temporary relief from
stress. Instead we tried to propose more sustainable pattern of alternative behaviour, which

involves creativity and opens new ways for personal and collaborative growth according own
interests that are not determined by coincidences of consumer ideology and propaganda.
J.N. – We showed that there are always new things to explore that are hardly accessible if you
just sit at home or follow academic approach. You have to go out to find those things. Very often
people have no motivation for trying anything new. And that's really sad.
I.S. – What is the material of the workshop beside your personal experience?
M.S. – We have 6 hours of video material, audio material is even more, and of course
photo documentation. At the moment John and Toomas edited 30 min documentary
summering up our activity during 3+1 days. Documentary will open the program of video
festival "Waterpiecies'07". The next fixed postproduction point is international sound
installation event "SKAN" that will take place in Riga on September 29-30. We will prepare and
present a few soundfilms from the workshop to show at the exhibition in full length.
I.S. – How do you see the progression of the practice you have started in that workshop? What
shape could it take in, lets say, 6 years? What consequences could it make on your future?
J.N. – I don't think about changes it could make in the future. It's important now, at the moment,
because I'm learning now. Art project should be useful at the moment of its appearance, its false
attitude to plan it as a permanent value or a source of personal benefit in the future.
T.T. – As an architect, how do you see the connection of that artistic research with design of
urban environment?
M.S. – In my opinion our practice was an act of creating a pattern of social architecture.
T.T. – But in more practical way. Does that type of activity affect the way how architect works?
M.S. – During the workshop we filled abandoned or incomplete architectural spaces with our presence, we interacted with space, and we made use of wasted areas by filling them with our specific function. That act underlines the role of architectural space as an interactive environment of specific or multifunctional purpose rather then a work of sculpture of some kind of aesthetical or ideological value that is built to impress, to show wealth or someone's power.
T.T. – But by creating space for particular function there are many properties that are rarely
considered, but which have a permanent side effect on people inhabiting space or room. Does that sound art investigation help to reveal those properties in some way?
M.S. – I hope so. Responsibility of architects is very deep, because contemporary society is forced to inhabit almost pure artificial urban environment. Balance, which in nature is achieved in millions years of mutation and interaction of live organisms with environment in cities is created in a few hundred years or even decades and is based on different academic precepts, but even more often on coincidence. Social development, that shapes cities, is rather chaotic then determined, and understanding of that came only recently in mid of 20 century. By calling development chaotic I try to say that it's so complex that it's hardly predictable for a longer period of time. There is a very educative project of Italian architects called stalkerlab. They focus on research of so called zones, which in material appearance are abandoned wasted lands on the edges of large cities, but from philosophical point they speak about zone of mutable potential possibilities that lie unshaped and therefore have a very strong energetic field, which influences the mind of intruder while being changed by intruder's mental activity and experience. Philosophy of the group is based on ideas of Andrey Tarkovskij, most clearly expressed in his film "Stalker". Our sound investigation activities, philosophy of zones expressed by stalkerlab group and many other similar projects at first seem crazy or highly intellectual or even speculative, which from certain point of view is true, but in my personal opinion that type of activities and theories serve to refresh simplistic tendency which dominates in scientific approach. It reveals the complex nature of environment and fragility of tiny relations that tie all organic and non organic matter.