Hold In/Breathe Out

Sonada festival, The Anatomy Rooms, Aberdeen, 2016
Placing Sound, solo exhibition, Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, 2019
Performed for the camera in 2019
I placed a big fish bowl in front of the projector casting shadows on the wall behind. The audience was seated facing me.
Next, I added water into a bowl slowly, so the audience could focus on the sound that this produced.
I faced the audience, and while kneeling, I immersed my head into the water, triggering a stream of audio-visual recordings of Sarajevo.
The images were partially distorted, while the sounds I used were non-altered fragments of my field recordings.
When coming out of the water, I would stop the stream of images, creating a transition back to a blue light, with the silence disrupted by sounds of my breath, dripping water and the shadow on the wall.

This piece was performed for the first time as a part of the Sonada festival in the Anatomy Rooms in Aberdeen. It explored the memory of a place, specifically, of Sarajevo. The performance involved diving in and out from a giant fish bowl filled with water. With each dive, I would trigger a stream of field recordings from Sarajevo accompanied by distorted photographs of locations in the city that are of significance to me. The stream would stop with me diving out, and the space would be shrouded with silence interrupted with the sound of water dripping from my hair.

While creating this work I focused on a state of displacement, and memory of place. I asked myself how I could bring Sarajevo to an audience who has never been there? How could I show what it means to invoke repeatedly a memory of the place from the perspective of a displaced person. In this process, place is used as a signifier of physical location, endowed with meanings, memories, cultural and private references.

...storytelling is not something we just happen to do. It is something we virtually have to do if we want to remember anything at all. The stories we create are the memories we have. (Schank and Abelson 1995 p. 33)

In the piece, I offered a glimpse of city soundscapes, and images of places that are slightly distorted. By offering just short excerpts, I allow the audience to place sounds experienced as a part of the performance, relative to their own experiences of places more familiar to them.