dystopic mirage

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Dystopic Mirage

Meinblau, Dystopia Sound Art Festival, Berlin 2018

Collaboration with Peter Cusack. 6 sound channels: 5 loudspeakers + Subwoofer, 20 min loop.

Ani—the ancient city of 1001 churches—is located in Eastern Turkey on a plateau above the Akhurian river, the closed border between Turkey and Armenia. It is a site that looks back to the past and also refers to the impasse of Turkish and Armenian views of their shared history. Ani’s dramatic and violent history of success, decline and then destruction by bloody invasion and catastrophic earthquake seems to exemplify ideas of Dystopia. After its depopulation around 1600, neglected ruins remain in the empty mountain landscape. Today’s national flags flutter on opposite sides of the river ravine.

Such places invite reflections on the administration of space and the creation of territory. Do ideas of Dystopia help to understand real places or are they a distraction from other, more necessary insights? Perhaps they should only be applied generally. Ruins offer both a utopic and a dystopic vision of a past culture. Societies oscillate between utopic and dystopic states: remembering and imagining, progress and regress, construction and destruction. Our reflections were exposed in 2 texts which were exposed at the installation. My reflection concerned borders, territories and some abstract concepts which seemed related to dystopian realities for me. Thinking about Dystopia and relating it to our current world, I came to the conclusion that in real life we find no pure forms of Utopias or Dystopias, but mixed forms or Dysutopias. The installation was a composition of the sounds of the Turkish flag waving at the hilltop of the Ani citadel. Sounds from within its metal tube and atmospheric sounds outside, mixed with wind, were the most present sounds. The composition had more abstract and more realistic parts of sound, fading from one into the other using the spatial setup of sound sources in the room. At one point the sound arrives from a dislocated point above our heads. 

 

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