Prior to leaving for the OPENLab residency in Richmond (South Africa) in July, I started contemplating a new body of work. Having stayed with me throughout OPENLab as well as the consecutive residency, OtherLands.OtherSounds (Portugal) recently held in August, I feel ready to step into this space.
The genesis to this new body of work is a CNN report (June 19 2018) titled "The sound of children crying for their parents" and deals with the child / parent separations that occurred due to Trump's US / Mexico regulations. There is a 1min/48sec video where the sounds of young children can be heard calling 'Mami' and 'Papá.' Listening to these primal cries are hard enough but when a Spanish border agent, in response to these cries, says: 'All we need is a conductor', I was unable for this to simply slip by my consciousness unnoticed. This then has become my starting point to - what I suspect - will be a new body dealing with the politics of sound.
The real-time performance exposure number 4 held last week certainly also had an impact on me, as I have started painting in my studio with the broken-off extensions I used during the happening.
There is an analogy for me between the empathic distance within the border video and the extended paintbrush sticks.
Or perhaps, I am conducting?
Photo credit: Jemima Kola