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presents two new works by the Belgrade born artist Arsenije Jovanovic.
Both take specific spatial and materials situations as starting points
to develop around broader themes.
1) ”The Souvenirs from Marchés aux Puces” by Arsenije Jovanovic
The objects being used in “The Souvenirs from Marches aux Puces”, the way traditional instruments are used, were:
- a couple of big empty oil barrels collected from Belgrade municipal debris stored in the open air field in the city neighbourhood
- from the same place dozens of broken metal objects, mainly high quality steel, different shape and size like tools for metal crafting and shaping, pipes of different sizes, steel rods and bangs, parts of various machines and instruments, e.g. surgical and others, what objects reacts to the punch with rich resonance
- bottles of various sizes to be used eventually as the wind instruments
- glass and metal plates of different thicknesses, glass marbles and glass balloons
- a bird, the pigeon, trapped in the cave where acoustic material was taken
- the metal objects were hung on the elastic rubber ropes, fixed between the cave stalactites, hanging out freely in the space in order to produce the clear resonance without any undesirable sonority
- some of the microphones were hanging freely inside of the barrels
WHAT I HAD IN MIND WITH THIS COMPOSITION?
Primarily to discover the invisible content and values of the thrown objects whose use was once very different and never in the field of music or art.
To draw attention to the circumstance that many things and gadgets around us, rejected or not, are hiding in itself other worth and goodness than for which they were originally designed – many Gypsies in East European countries are making their homes from these debris got for free from municipal debris places or from wherever, I was trying to make music from it.
If we treat these objects as musical instruments, not looking at them as thrown useless objects, they may be musical instruments such as the flutes, drums, pianos and others.
This way of thinking could also be applied to many other areas, not merely to the hard and inorganic world and not only in the sphere of music and art.
The presence of a bird – to simplify the metaphor – highlights the apparent distance between the living world and dead objects, its function helps also to create the acoustic perspective of the composition.
2) “Tunnels inside of a tunnel” by Arsenije Jovanovic
The piece originated in the tunnel Dubovice on the island of Hvar in Dalmatia during a few days of field recording while attending the 2012 Prix Marulic festival. It was not my intent at the time to make just a documentary based on the real sounds found in the tunnel. However, I was inevitably drawn back to them over and over.
Quite amazingly, at each opposite ends of the Tunnel Dubovica, not so far one from the other, we are met by dissimilar landscapes, with a remarkably diverse flora. This should not be deemed, however, as some kind of miracle. It just happens to be so.
One of the things that fascinated me in these underground places, sometimes hundreds of meters deep, were the silences which cannot be compared with any silence of any studio anywhere. Compared with it, a studio silence resembles an artificial imitation of silence. The sounds in the Dubovica Tunnel brought back memories of my experiences in some caves, an environment which served as my "studio" many times and produced "Resava Cave", "Invasions", "Caves of my Ancestors", "Under water cave" and others. It would not be far-fetched to think of me as mining sound in caves. A joyous cave addiction.
Usually, caves have one entrance, which can prove unluckily fatal for some, a narrative familiar in many mythological stories. No unlike many old tunnels, real and imaginary. My take on tunnels is, discounting their utilitarian meaning, that they are caves possessing an entrance and an exit. They hold the mystery of secret passages as exemplified by thousands of legends, which are common in the local folklore of many countries. I would be in my element as well recording in deserted tunnels growing with myths and stories, like wild mushrooms. Each ‘tunnel with personality’ owns its own legend, representing a source emanating the earth's energy, creating a more esoteric notion of channels and paths. The tunnel on the island of Hvar is not very unique, it’s relatively short, and as tunnels go, not much different from any tunnel anywhere else. It is a young tunnel, in good condition, except for the pathway used by the tunnel's maintenance crew, walking over cracked cement slabs sounded like a percussion instrument under my steps.
In contrast to the common, rather unremarkable Dubovica Tunnel there exists another tunnel, on the other side of the island of Hvar, a low, narrow, winding dark passage seemingly dug out by some biblical beasts – not men. A perfect hideaway for Caliban. There is an approachable innocence about the Dubovica Tunnel. Say, a baby tunnel, yet when you find yourself not in a car, but standing in it, it does project the hidden chthonic mystery found in subterranean darkness.
Far from claiming a discovery at Dubovica of some particular earth energy or a sighting of ‘The Tempest' exiled Caliban, what I immediately note is the space's particular psychedelic sound architecture. This acoustic miracle triggered my first step – a leap from the outdoor soundscape to its interior, which lead me, in turn, to explore the tunnels of my consciousness and imagination.
Freud and Jung had various psychological interpretations for the symbolic meanings of tunnels which may have played a role in some interpretations and myths about them. Therein likely lays the answer to my own cave mania.
(Arsenije Jovanovic, 2013)
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