Thuistezien 33 — 24.04.2020

No View, The Radio III
Detached [ but Interconnected ? )
a presentation of sights and sounds from Den Haag

James Alexandropoulos–McEwan & Sasha Zalivako

For this week we have an interactive installation-like piece that can be experienced at home, made by composer James Alexandropoulos–McEwan and visual artist Sasha Zalivako. The work is part of a continuing series of projects in which James explores the clash between modern technologies and traditional concert forms, and how the two forms of music experience - that of live concerts and that of recorded music - can collide to create new forms of expression.

The piece consists of four videos (given below), each to be played on a different device. (For a reduced version of the piece use at least two devices).

1. Use any devices you have available that can stream a video with sound (smartphones, computers, tablets etc.). Invite people you live with to join in and add their devices. With each of the videos make sure to play its accompanying sound! (Play the sound either from the internal speakers of each device, or plug devices into separate speakers if you have some at hand - the more sound variation from different sources the better).
2. Open a different video on each device (if you have more than four devices you can use the same video on different devices). Set the videos to full screen.
3. Start all the videos from the beginning at the same time (a difference of up to 5 sec still works). Adjust volumes where needed to keep them balanced between all the videos. The piece ends when all the videos end.

The musical part of the work includes contributions by: Vasilina Ifanti (flute and live electronics), Gabriele Segantini (vibraphone and live electronics), Gonçalo Oliveira (electric guitar), James Alexandropoulos-McEwan (electric guitar), Laura Nygren (double bass and live electronics), as well as Edvards Broders, Kaan Yazıcı and Soley Sigurjonsdottir who contributed additional electronics heard in the piece.

About the piece, in James Alexandropoulos–McEwan’s own words:

The work is a collaboration between artist and filmmaker Sasha Zalivako and myself, James Alexandropoulos – McEwan, a composer and electric guitarist. Using footage of - pre-Covid-19 - public spaces in Den Haag, it shows the calm city sleeping, waking up and then slowly coming to life. Sounds of the wind, trees, construction work, trams and passers-by are captured and manipulated into chordal textures and combined with electronic and instrumental sounds to create the soundtrack.

The work touches on hopes most of us currently share for our cities and our lives to start up again. For us to go back to normal... In the current context it’s a bitter-sweet feeling: we are longing for future ‘blue skies’, for the everyday joys we currently miss and for the people we love that we have to now keep distance from… but looking forward to these from our current place of confusion, uncertainty and anxiety... At least this is the case for those of us that have been more fortunate so far, as for many the situation has been, and may still become, much more dire...

However what is ‘normal’ feels very debatable at the moment. If normal was the situation that allowed such a crisis to catch us so unprepared, to devastate people’s social and economic lives so quickly and substantially, and to push so many towards (and often over) the brink physically, financially, socially… if normal meant that so many were expected to exist constantly on the edge of a precipice hoping the winds wouldn’t change against them... if normal implies the circumstances that seem to be opening up new socio-political rifts that are now becoming even more apparent, and which have been only growing, even in relatively calm times and in theoretically well functioning countries… if normal means going back to business, despite it pushing us toward unprecedented environmental catastrophes… if normal means an aggressive unwillingness to let people enter our countries, even when they are fleeing from unlivable conditions… if normal means we are fine with overpacked refugee camps remaining in just-out-of-sight disastrous conditions ( it seems the ‘refugee crisis’ never ended and is only going to be getting bigger as global warming makes habitated areas completely unlivable )… if normal means affluent lives feeding of off and pushing down people who get to have no say in the matter... If normal is corporations having unprecedented databases of personal information on us that we never knew we had given them… If this is normal, then it seems the Hong Kong graffiti we’ve been seeing quoted since the crisis became apparent in Europe is very much worth contemplating again: ‘We won’t go back to normal, because normal was the problem’.

Over de serie: No View, The Radio
De kunsten staan op pauze. Theaters, musea, concertzalen en galeries zijn dicht. Voor een groot deel is de kunst onbereikbaar, die juist nu zo broodnodig is. Stel je alleen maar een thuisquarantaine voor verlopen zonder films, zonder boeken, zonder muziek. De deuren naar de kunst mogen dan gesloten zijn, het denken erover is dat niet. De afgedwongen pauze van deze isolatie kan ook een moment zijn voor een herbezinning over, en vanuit de kunsten. De komende weken, zullen we elke vrijdag, originele muziek en/of composities van verschillende artiesten presenteren, geselecteerd door Alex Andropoulos.