Elevator Music 3: Studio Sounds, curated by Dahlia Elsayed – 10/21/2016 – 12/17/2016
Visiting artists in their studios is a great pleasure for many reasons – seeing works in progress, learning about a process, hearing an artist talk about their ideas. But there is also a voyeuristic aspect to the studio visit – peeking at scribbled notes and sketches, opened books that are lying around, the sounds or smells, revealing the influences on work which may leave no trace in the finished product.
As artists we make things that go out into the world and often live in sanitized, pristine environments of galleries or institutions, disconnected from their physical space of creation. As a curator, Dahlia Elsayed is often equally interested in the conditions of the making of the work as much as the work itself. What does that studio look like? Smell like? Feel like? Sound like?
For this show Dahlia was interested in what artists listen to while working and how the soundscape of a studio might shape the work they make. The participating artists were asked to think about what they hear while working. Was there an artist/station/podcast on heavy rotation or some music they always come back to? Or is it just the ambient sounds of an environment and the sounds of making work? Is there any specific kind of soundscape conducive to working? And what do other studios sound like in different places?
The 14 artists represent a wide range of mediums and approaches, and are working in varied locations- from San Francisco to Istanbul, Brooklyn to Berlin. Elsayed wanted to bring the sounds of those studios into this intimate space, for a shared asynchronous visit to listen in on them working, to hear the invisible soundtrack behind the work we see silently months later.
Mitra Azar (Nomadic Practice) works in many different locations. The sounds here represent an audiovoyage from China to Southeast Asia to Kurdistan, Lebanon and Syria.
Anne Louise Blicher (Copenhagen, Denmark) often listens to Bæltestedet (The Waist), a daily radio program with two Danish comedians talking about news and odd events in the world like: The goat beauty pageant in Ramygala, Lithuania.
(The winning goat Demyte is owned by Ferdinandas Petkevicius, 74 years old, earlier veterinarian.)
Music plays an important role in Suzan Batu’s (Istanbul, Turkey) work, often including live performances at openings. The piece here was composed for a painting.
Silvina Der-Meguerditchian (Berlin, Germany) listens to music on her computer and likes DJ Lapkat’s monthly podcast of international music and poetry. She frequently returns to listen to a few of them including N. 9 to Istanbul with love
Aiham Dib (Damascus, Syria) writes:
“For a long while I noticed I am not listening to music when I am at my desk. I went totally muted. The place where I am most thirsty for music and feel it and it helps me assorting my ideas and generating new things is when I am on the move, in transition of any kind. Like when I drive my car. Some times I drive just to listen to the music. and that is very specific act and it has its patterns and sets of mood, time of day or the road, it is like studio of ideas.
I have some issues with my ear. I felt something but never noticed seriously until last year when the doctor told me I have two apparent defects in them. I had already bought two new beautiful head sets but now I am not sure it is proper to use them. I bought them in the midst of the Syrian crisis when all was gray and down to below zero – the war is not a crisis compared with the melancholy or the sentiment for war. I was challenging the existing mood for saving and hiding. I thought, “spend it all” cause you may lose it all and it came with a positive effect really, I mean I got the spirit one needs to face challenges.”
Shady ElNoshakty (Cairo, Egypt) listens to minimal bands with long tracks in his studio which he says now looks like an archive room as he is deep in a large project about visual narration in contemporary art from the Middle East.
Echo Eggebrecht’s (Pittsburgh, PA) studio sounds includes the audio from a documentary on Coney Island played on youtube.
Lauren Kelley (New York, NY) loves listening to Christmas music any time of year because of the musicality and kitsch associated with such songs.
Asuka Ohsawa (San Francisco, CA) has recently made a print of Dolly Parton and her soundtrack was rotating between 9 to 5 / My Tennessee Mountain Home / Applejack/Backwoods Barbie/Islands in the Stream / Why’d You Come In Here Looking’ Like That/Coat of Many Colors
Shaw Osha’s (Seattle, WA) studio in Seattle is located in an industrial area, upstairs from a 100-year old scrap metal shop. The sounds are ambient studio sounds from the shop below.
Anne Marte Overaa (Malmo, Sweden) often listens to power electronics, drone and noise music. The repetitive suggestive style makes her focused and sometimes it can be meditative.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed (Brooklyn, NY) selection is from an overheard street sermon.
Michael Rodriguez (New York, NY) hears the printing presses from an upstairs shop presses at work while in his studio in Long Island City.
Vitus Shell’s (Monroe, LA) studio soundtrack depends on the conditions of his everyday life – differing studio work with the music reflecting where he’s at that day.
Published by Gallery Aferro