School for Sonic Memory
MENTOR: Onassis Stegi, Theatrum Mundi
WHEN: November 2021 – July 2022
ALEXANDRIA: (RE)ACTIVATING COMMON URBAN IMAGINARIES – Onassis Foundation
About the residency:
As part of the ALEX project, Theatrum Mundi and Onassis Stegi produced a pluri-disciplinary nomadic residency program exploring sound, memory and trans-Mediterranean resonances. The curatorial lead for this program was Theatrum Mundi, with the support of CLUSTER and Institut Français in Egypt.
The call was aimed at anyone engaged in the study, protection or production of collective urban memory – in the form of built heritage, soundscape, music, stories, social and political practice, with sound as a primary medium of research. Together, and in collaboration with local artists, urbanists and researchers, the participants formed a ‘school’ for sonic memory, investigating the ways that three cities across the Mediterranean resonate with one another, how elements of a connected and conflictual past are made audible within them.
The school developed a shared conversation over the course of the residencies – learning from local urbanists, activists and cultural producers as well as one another – leading to a collection of new, interrelated works in the form of texts, sound and/or film. The residencies valued the perspective of the visitor – rather than aiming for a historical account of each city, we are interested in the particular shared space that is created through exchange between three cities across the Mediterranean, the ways sonic memories are carried between, and resonate within them. Heritage, of course, can be a shared resource for remembering and infrastructure for belonging, but it can also be misappropriated, distorting urban development for exclusion and private profit. By developing new ideas and artefacts through sonic methods, we are proposing to think of heritage as something made through active processes of creative remembering, as we move between places that echo within us.
Questions for the research
· How are the rhythms of one city transposed to another? Are they in sync, counter-rhythm, or poly-rhythm?
· How have the acoustics of public spaces shaped or been shaped by public gatherings? How are these resonances appropriated now?
· Can we identify trans-Mediterranean sonic practices?· Can the past of one city be heard in another’s sonic culture?
· Is it possible to find sonic traces of what has marked the city, or become absent?
· What role does each city’s sounds play in the dreams, nostalgias, or hopes of another?
· How do cities speak to one another about their experiences?
· How does classification as a heritage site affect the overall dynamics of the surrounding urban environment and what are the politics of preservation
· One completely new text, score, or recorded audio-visual work produced individually or in collaboration with a contributor from one of the cities visited
· Live presentation of this work in at least one public event (i.e. as a talk, solo performance, or screening)
· Recorded/exhibited presentation of the work in two other public events. Works produced must be easily transportable from one exhibition location to another and should not take the form of voluminous/heavy constructions or depend on sophisticated technology for their installation.
We called for expressions of interest to join a 6-month production process, based around 3 weeks of creative research residencies in:
· Athens, November 2021
· Alexandria, January 2022
· Marseille, March 2022
The selected artists travelled to all 3 cities and collaborated with a group of local artists. A final week-long event was organized in Biella, Italy in July 2022 to share insights and results of the residency.
Local participants Alexandria
Local participants Athens
Local participants Marseille
School for Sonic Memory in Marseille – Residency Report
Scroll down to visualise this report in PDF format. Dates: 28 March – 2 April 2022 Marseille – France – Various Locations The aim of the third and final stop of the School for Sonic Memory (SSM) residency was to enable artists to deepen their understanding of the three Mediterranean cities they visited during the […]