An outcome exhibition of KIAR 2021-October
Venue: Bikalpa Art Center, Patan
Date: 23rd October 2021
Adam Tinkle (USA)
When you work between music and documentary sound, developing some attunement to the musical qualities of everyday life is both a gift and an inevitability. But even though I came here with the intention of trying to further braid my location recording practice into new musical compositions, Kathmandu has exceeded even my expectations in how profoundly it has invited me to question and dismantle the divisions I assume between the disparate ways I practice: in sounds, images, attempts at understanding, speculations, and embodiment.
Littering the landscape are reminders to listen — the “Om” symbol painted on chortling trucks, the choir of little puja bells that spill out of the windows of neighboring buildings. Construction, ritual, traffic, birds: these sounds count among the innumerable energies, coursing through bodies and cities, which may first present themselves as a knot of overwhelm, but slowly reveal themselves as patterned, meaning-laced flows in time. Sensing these, along with the valley’s iconic sacred geography, rouses me to humble mimicry. The repetition of the white stupa form, along with its attendant wheels and bells, iterating across the city from macrocosm to microcosm, invites a reconsideration of how (and why) I copy and paste. Bronze deities’ many arms and heads capture change and multiplicity in the immediacy of a changeless now, and are, in this way, not unlike the adjacent frames of a video, or the impossible image of a frozen sound. The lines in the landscape and the lines rendered by my sound editing software echo off one another, fusing into a calligraphy of the quotidian and the cosmic. Joni Mitchell might have said it best when she spotted six jet planes: “it was the hexagram of the heavens, it was the strings of my guitar.” Among the findings of this month: the spectrogram of the audio frequencies of the spinning prayer wheel itself resembles the prayer wheel. But probably, so too do the ceaseless sirens. In whatever case, if these rising, spiralling lines point towards deeper listening, they will not have been a false alarm.
Lauren Bickerdike (Irland)
Circulation follows the Nepali community of Kathmandu. This project follows the city’s largest annual festival, Dashain, focusing on the conflicting energies of sanctity and rituals with the cities ongoing construction and industrial development. Since the 2015 Earthquakes Kathmandu has been left in an endless cycle of building, development and industrial sprawl. As citizens fled to the capital, to start new lives after their homes and towns were left in rubble, the need for expansion grew more prevalent. Just as the cycle of pujas, stupa circumambulation and annual festivals rotate so does the constant growth of the cities urban expansion. This work focuses on the prevalent balance between the harmonious living of the community and the continuous sounds of industrial noise.