20th Jan 2009 - sound mapping exercise with Richard - ‘Patterns in randomness’
I would like to start with why I got involved. After reading yet another forward on the art practices in the city, what really caught my attention with this project was the fact that it was about the city and would be within its streets (and not another galleries or studio). It took some convincing in figuring out why artists from across the globe ‘intervene’ the city’s streets with art practices that would sound esoteric to the communities in these pockets. I was still uncertain with the ‘fear and gender’ concept. So the best way to figure it all out was to go see for myself.
I met Ana and Richard on the 20th of Jan 2009, at St. Mary’s Church in Shivajinagar, missed Liz’s mapping intervention due to some ‘permission’ issues. Was hoping to take Ana’s photo-mapping project, but she was still scouting for people and wasn’t prepared with the cameras. Richard had planned for a ‘Sound Mapping’ exercise, so since we were there…we just joined in.
Follow the leader….listen…observe…feel (the last one I added)!!
Auto horns, children crying,
Fruit vendors, a flute seller,
The flower lady
The butcher’s knife
A bollywood tune,
one o’clock prayers from the loudspeaker of a mosque..
All rapped up and thrown in together! Noise…or sounds.
We were asked to sort of follow a leader who led us through the tiny lanes of Shivajinagar avoiding contact with anyone- he specified not just to refrain from speech but also eye contact. “Just follow and observe the sounds you hear”.
At the end of a ten minute walk through the very busy market I caught myself making rhythms and music with all clutter-clatter around me. But after all the collection, there was no closure… I had just gathered sounds and voices in my head.. it was long before I let it diffuse.
Personally I’ve been in and out of these streets and they sound very much like any other market in the city. But there was something about the volume and intensity of the sounds. It takes you into a swirl and you can’t help but notice the increasing and decreasing of sound decibels from one lane to another.
I couldn’t stop the voice in my head that constantly kept updating me with my visual imagery of the sounds. We did share our responses with the group which consisted of Anoushka and Mrinalini from Srishti, me and Poornima. And of course Richard who was also our leader for the exercise. I found the process very interesting but couldn’t direct my ‘emotions and questions’ to any paved route. I felt we were left to interpret the process into our own vague abstract conclusions.
But then again this was my first day at the intervention. The Srishti students were initiated into it much ahead of us. So I stopped complaining and let my lost self gather the experience and save the questions for later.
Looking back now, I can tell you that the exercise and the unanswered have made me want to walk and observe very closely the sounds, its patterns in randomness. This makes me wonder what it was that Richard was trying to achieve through that process and my incomplete answer to that would be to ‘be aware’ of not just the ‘self’ but also ‘how’ the self maneuvers itself through the varied experiences in a day. And sounds to me represent the everyday elements that we consciously omit but unconsciously seep into our patterned routines.