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An Evening at the Centre for Creative Practices

21 Dec

naked branches. group photo.

by Rhea H. Boyden

Last week I was sitting in bed at 8pm snuggled up and ready for sleep when I saw an enticing description on a Facebook invite to a performance at the Centre for Creative Practices co-hosted by a childhood friend of mine Greg Felton. The performance description read: ‘A very special one off show about love, loss, HIBERNATION and transformation. Using anonymous harvested regrets and dreams and the myth of all myths, a powerful cast of spoken word, vocalists and musicians will weave a stunning, achingly life-filled spell of story and sound that will capture and invite you into experiencing the entire gorgeous mess of life.’

It was the word hibernation that caught my attention first. My flatmate and I had just been discussing the merits of the long winter’s nap and not to feel guilty about it at this time of year especially as this is how dark it is when I arrive at work at 7.43am in Sandyford, Dublin. A darkness that is thankfully punctuated by a crescent moon:

sandyford moon

I decided to pull myself out of my state of hibernation last week to discover the other ideas the perfomance promised to explore: love, loss and transformation. After work I went with a few colleagues of mine to the Centre for Creative Practices on Pembroke Street in Dublin.

The venue, which promotes cultural diversity and artistic entrepreneurship is a cozy and very inviting space. I walked in and greeted my old friend Greg Felton who I had not seen in 15 years. Felton is a talented pianist who has been praised by The Irish Times as being one of Ireland’s most talented composers and players and an exceptional young pianist.

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Greg Felton

The show commenced with Dave Rock, who is a spoken word artist, pacing back and forth across the room, with Felton on keyboards, Jake Quinn on percussion and Aine Ni Heidhn and Ciara Ryan on vocals. Dave then began his story about the people of ancient Ireland and how happy they were and how they sang and laughed and made love to nature. Until one day, creatures came out of the ocean with tongues and eyes as black as oil and the war began and all the trees were cut down and the people forgot how to sing and make love. The entire show was a brilliant example of improv music and spoken word. They had only rehearsed for a few hours the same afternoon, and it was powerful as Dave engaged the audience and asked us questions about what we love in nature and how we feel when we are disconnected.

Dave, who is a talented story teller, spoken word artist, and gifted teacher told me afterwards that the ‘creatures with tongues and eyes as black as oil’ were the Fomorians who in Irish mytholgy were a semi-divine race said to have inhabited Ireland in ancient times. They were the gods of chaos and wild nature. I couldn’t help but focus on the word oil and how oil is driving our insane economy and how on the Thursday before Christmas a wonderful performance like this only draws a dozen audience members because people are too busy Christmas shopping and caught up in pre-Christmas hysteria. This made me even happier that I had made the effort to come to the show and, indeed how wonderful and important improv theatre and music is for bringing people together and celebrating listening and communicating.

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Dave Rock

My interest in the importance of improv now piqued, I decided to google a bit about it and I immediately stumbled upon a TED Talk hosted by a woman named Jen Oleniczak, a teacher who believes fully in the importance of improvisation to make you a better communicator and, above all, a better listener. ‘In improv’ she says ‘you are responsible for everyone and everyone is responsible for you.’ She says that listening is so crucial because every tiny piece of information is important to creating a scene and also that you are vulnerable and you could fail so you have to be fully in the zone and in harmony with the people you are interacting with. She said doing an improv class makes you self aware of how bad a listener you are and how you can take steps to remedy that.

Oleniczak told a story of a woman who had worked in a bank for 8 years who took one of her improv classes and then came up to her after and told her that she had never felt so supported in her life than she had in the improv class. This comes as little surprise that a woman working in a bank does not feel supported by her bosses. Being in the lovely space of the Centre for Creative Practices made me think a lot about how so many of us have our priorities wrong at Christmas. The banks, shops and advertisers have managed to turn Christmas into the biggest money-maker of the year and when I read some of the stories behind this consumerism I can’t help but get a little depressed. Just a few days ago I read an article in The Guardian entitled ‘Santa’s Real Workshop- The town in China that makes the World’s Christmas Decorations.’ The article talks about the ‘Christmas Village’ of Yiwu thousands of miles from the North Pole where workers who have little idea of what Christmas is, slave for more than 12 hours a day making 60 per cent of the world’s Christmas decorations. They get covered in red powder whilst covering polystyrene snowflakes and stars and have to change their face masks multiple times a day. They only earn 200-300 pounds a month making the stars that we can buy for 99 pence at the check out.

At one point during the show Dave asked the audience what feeling you have when you are not connected to the earth and your community. I offered him the most obvious answer: ‘Alienation’. He looked at me and said ‘Yes, alienation’ and then went on to eloquently talk about alienation for the next minute or so. Why did I say alienation? Because I have, to a certain degree, been feeling a bit of alienation since arriving back in Ireland. But I now feel, after attending this lovely improv show at the Centre for Creative Practices that a bit of that alienation that comes with my repatriation is slipping away and I am slowly becoming part of the community again. After the show I also spoke to Nina Panagopoulou who is a Greek artist who works at the Centre for Creative Practices and whose wonderful artwork is currently on display there. I will definitely be returning to this lovely place to attend its shows and exhibits in the future, for the inspiring evening has set the mood and tone that I like for Christmas: focussing on being together, listening, interacting and not forgeting what it is that makes us sing in tune with nature and with our fellow human beings.

Feature image photo credit: Nina Panagopoulou

Check out Nina’s artwork here: http://www.nina-panagopoulou.com/bio.html

A special thanks to Greg Felton and Dave Rock for providing me with their photos and the time to speak to me on the Sunday before Christmas.

Essay about ‘Bereitschaftspotential’

22 Apr

by Rhea H.Boyden

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Exactly half a century ago, in the spring of 1964, Hans Helmut Kornhuber, the chief physician at the department of neurology at Freiburg University, and Lüder Deecke, his doctoral student went for lunch in the beautiful and serene garden of the ‘Gasthaus zum Schwanen’ at the foot of the Schlossberg hill in Freiburg. Their discussion over lunch was about their frustration at worldwide attempts thus far to investigate self-initiated action of the brain and the will. They were inspired, no doubt in part, by the fresh mountain air of the Black Forest to push ahead in their research using the primitive (but most advanced for the time) brain imaging tools at the university. After many test cases and a lot of research, the EEG (electroencephalogram) readings showed that there is an electrical signal in the brain that proves we are going to move a body part even before we want to move it. They had discovered the ‘Readiness potential’ or ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ and debates on whether or not we have free will continue to today in all disciplines from neuroscience to psychology and philosophy.

Now I am no scientist and my knowledge of neuroscience is limited. I have read articles about Alzheimer’s in an attempt to grasp a basic understanding of the disease which is rapidly stripping my dear mother of all sense and vitality, and I have read some articles in the past week or so to understand the title ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ the latest release by Automating which is the solo project of soundscape artist Sasha Margolis from Melbourne, Australia.

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                                                Lüder Deecke- Bereitschaftspotential Brain Image Scan

I have listened to the piece several times through with my good headphones relishing in Sasha’s sounds once again, with my eyes closed in meditation dozing into a dream world and seeing where it takes me thereafter in my writing. I have thought long and hard about why he has titled this piece ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ and what he intends with this title. I have come to the conclusion that it is a heavy and loaded title that has led my thinking and reading to some dead ends and frustration about what to do with all my notes that I have been frantically scribbling trying to make sense of it all from a neuroscientific perspective.

I have decided, therefore to not dwell too much more on the title and have a look at it from a more poetic and philosophical angle, for therein lies my ability to make sense of it. Here I quote Friedrich Nietzsche to send me in a better direction: ‘Free will without fate is no more conceivable than spirit without matter, good without evil.’

Nietzsche spent much of his time in the same stretch of mountains and woods not far from where Kornhuber and Deecke carried out their work, (more than half a century earlier)  and he found the fresh mountain air and peace most conducive to working in. He would take long walks in the woods stopping to take notes before returning to his room to continue working. Quite apart from his many groundbreaking philosophical ideas and writings, Nietzsche took a great interest in the human body.

I believe one reason I have become so frustrated in trying to write this review is because the title ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ forces me to think I should be writing about the mind, brain and consciousness when what I really want to write about here is the body. Nietzsche believed that what living things sought above all, was to discharge their physical strength. He also believed that knowledge was rooted in the body and that the whole of Western philosophy had a deep misunderstanding of the human body. It is little wonder that Nietzsche took such an interest in the body; he suffered immensely thoughout his life from various ailments, many of which were symptoms of the syphilis he supposedly picked up in a brothel during his student days. It is no coincidence that a large part of his philosophy contends that human suffering is inevitable and indeed, necessary to go though in order to achieve greater goals.

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 Photo of Statue of John Henry by Ken Thomas

This idea of Nietzsche’s that living things seek to dispel their energy makes me think of the core of Sasha’s philosophy behind his work and I quote from his website: ‘Sifting through the sonic waste and discarded technology left by the roadside of a world speeding too fast into the future.’ It makes me think of the men who have been replaced time and time again by machines, rendering their bodies and ability to dispel their physical energy useless, in essence, emasculating them. We do have a lot of waste out there, both physical and sonic and I believe it is the duty of everyone to reuse it all in some useful way. If machines have all but replaced our physical work, then what to do with all the machines once they turn to waste but to turn them into art to provide us consolation as we gaze at these post-industrial wastelands. Sasha deals with found sound in his work, but many others work with found objects; turning industrial artifacts that were not intended for artistic purposes into art to make a point, among other things, about waste.

‘Bereitschaftspotential’ released by Iceage Productions, runs for a little over 20 minutes and it is serious food for thought. To me the opening sounds are entirely industrial and repetitive. It is evocative of a machine turning or a small animal digging, trying desperately to get some job done and then in frustration giving up. I hear an electrical generator trying to start and then failing. This failing is frustrating to the humans who are trying to use this generator perhaps, but the peace they can then enjoy is then ever more appreciated; an appreciation which is then heard in birdsong. Quiet contemplation is to be found in nature and not to the sound of a generator.

The idea of this sound being either an animal or a machine is very exciting to me because there are so many examples in which we can compare an animal or a human to its machine counterpart. One example that immediately springs to mind is the horse. It was largely replaced by the train in the United States as the great railway building projects began there. And as exciting as it was to have all these new railways going across the country, they were built at a great cost in men’s lives.

Construction of Big Bend tunnel in West Virginia commenced in 1870 and the work was treacherous for the many men working on this project. They would have welcomed today’s tunnel drilling equipment (and dynamite). At least one hundred men died digging the tunnel, many of them black men. There is a legend about a certain John Henry who has been immortalised in a ballad performed by many singers including Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen. He worked on the railroad and was a ‘steel driving man’ and proud of it. One day however, a salesman came to town boasting that a steam-powered drill could outdrill any of the men. A race began, machine against man and John Henry won, beating the steam drill, but he eventually collapses when his body can take it no longer and dies leaving behind his wife Polly Ann and a baby. There is a constant beating of a drum in ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ which to me is the steady march of the working man before he collapses. To repeat Nietzsche’s quote: ‘Free will without fate is no more conceivable than spirit without matter, good without evil.’ Is this the battle of good and evil between man’s body and the uses and abuses of the machine?

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 Photo of Thomas Bayrle Exhibit at Documenta 13 by Erin Reilly

A couple years ago at the Documenta Contemporary art show I was standing with a friend observing an exhibit by German artist Thomas Bayrle. It was a pumping piston, and as we both stared at it she suddenly said: ‘It’s so sexual’. I had to agree with her. Bayrle says that he believes machines are a reflection of the body and he draws inspiration for his artwork from the precision of machines and engineering. Indeed, what can we do but work artistically with all these wasteful things we have created? Bayrle’s was only one of many exhibits at Documenta that provoked commentary on the effect of machines and waste on our bodies and the environment. In our post-industrial society many men have been left unemployed by the subsequent collapse of many of the machines that once sought to replace them. For the first time in history women hold more jobs and more college degrees in the United States than men and the implications of this are serious indeed for those who still believe in and strive for traditional family structure. A whole reshuffling of gender roles continues to happen and many men and women suffer from confusion and anxiety at what role they should play and a general frustration at modern dating rituals and body image. I know that one of my biggest sources of solace is to get lost in reading and writing and collaborating on meaningful projects with others. In doing so I can escape from the fact that I am nearly 39 years old and single, and have not necessarily fullfilled a certain role that a large part of society expects of me by this age. Thankfully I have an open-minded family who let me do whatever I want and are supportive and don’t judge me, but many women, and men too, suffer from not fullfilling certain expectations; especially when it comes to getting married and having children.

Most of the time I enjoy my solitude and only rarely do I get lonely. The constant barrage of city noise, human noise and industrial noise is hard to escape, and I relish it when I can get away from it. There is a lovely part in ‘Bereitschaftpotential’ that seems to me to be the sound of engines being swallowed by birdsong which again says that nature is triumphant over industrial noise. It signals a retreat into nature where we can again listen to our bodies and give them the peace and rejuvenation that they need. For without a healthy body it is very hard to have a healthy and clear mind to produce new poetry, songs and stories. Indeed, there is a burst of birdsong in ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ which is evidence to me that the willful person or animal has happily found peace again amongst the elements. The piece ends very abruptly leaving you suddenly staring into an abyss of silence which is quite uncomfortable. As much as we humans seek silence, its suddenness and completeness can be disconcerting. Nietzsche also said: ‘if you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.’

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Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche by Walter Kaufman 1882 (Princeton Archive)

I have spent considerable time gazing into an abyss and thinking about ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ and in the final analysis I can say that it has inspired me to think of our bodies, machines, animals, birds, walking in the woods, new creativity and then I think repeatedly about the horse. 2014 is the year of the horse in the Chinese calendar and it is a great year to gallop ahead into new adventure and take some risk. As I mentioned earlier, it was the horse’s body that was replaced by machines. 2014 is also exactly one hundred years since the outbreak of World War One which showed the disasterous consequences of cavalry warfare mixed with modern machine guns. Again: Bodies against machines! And to conclude it must be pointed out that Nietzsche, in his madness, finally broke down and embraced a horse that had collapsed on the streets of Turin in January 1889 before he then went completely mad and was commited to a sanitorium. There have been various speculations as to what was going through Nietzsche’s mind at the time, but I like to believe the assumption that it was the philosopher who was most skeptical of showing compassion for human suffering finally showing it for himself (he loathed self-pity) and for one of the most beautiful of animals, in a vain hope that both their bodies can have the will to survive against the machines and noise that drive them both mad.

Featured image is artwork by Ieva Arcadia accompanying  ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ released by Iceage Productions (courtesy of Sasha Margolis).

Link to listen to and purchase ‘Bereitschaftspotential’ by Automating on Bandcamp: https://iceageproductions.bandcamp.com/album/bereitschaftspotential

Review of Somnambulist

28 Mar

by Rhea H. Boyden

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‘Dreams are the touchstones of our characters’ -Henry David Thoreau

‘Mayday, Mayday!’ We hear this distress call repeatedly in the track ‘Projection’ but do we get the help we are looking for? Not always when we project all our hopes and dreams onto another person. The album ‘Somnambulist’ by ‘Automating’ which is the solo project of Sasha Margolis from Melbourne, Australia explores hopes, dreams and fears in an 18-track album. The album, released under the label ‘Wood and Wire’ is a tantalising collection of field recordings, found sound and tape manipulation. With track titles such as ‘PET Scan’, ‘Neuronal Response’ and ‘Repetition Compulsion’ we can expect this album to explore deeper states of consciousness and a yearning to make sense of the world through an understanding, in particular, of dreaming and various sleep states.

The album opens with the track ‘Alpha Wave’ and we hear the sound of a chirping bird. Is this a sign that the day has commenced happily? The Alpha brainwaves are present when we are relaxed, meditative, aware and enjoying the moment. It’s a positive note to start on, but as we listen to the album we hear that it explores a whole range of human emotions experienced in various states of sleep. The track ‘Delta Wave’ does not keep one in a happy and relaxed manner for long. It is sinister, spooky and frankly, quite terrifying to listen to. In fact, much of the terror, stressors and stimulants of modern life prevent many of us from reaching the delta brainwave state as often as we should- it is the state of deep sleep and unconciousness that is most restorative. Following this is ‘Voices of the Dead’ and in this track we hear a lot of wind and water. The voices of those we have lost can be found in nature if we listen closely, but we cannot stop the passage of time and hold onto that which has slipped away. I am reminded, when listening to these tracks, of the Gothic poem by Edgar Allan Poe: ‘A Dream within a Dream’- ‘I stand amid the roar, of a surf-tormented shore’ writes Poe, in great despair, realising that he cannot hold onto the dream that is slipping away from him. He sees that he cannot even hold onto one grain of sand that slips from his hand making him question the passing of time-the sands of time- and also whether everything he ever experienced was just a dream and never reality at all. Where does the border lie between dreams and reality? And what happens in that hazy land between waking consciousness and deeper sleep?

A lot of really interesting things can happen in that hazy land and that is the part of this album that to my mind, is really exciting. The track ‘Hypnopompia’ samples distant eerie voices. Are these the voices of creativity that speak to us as we awaken in the morning? The hypnopompic state is the state of semi-consciousness that is experienced coming out of sleep and many a writer and composer swears that the insights that hit them at this moment are the ones that turn into the best stories, songs and poetry. We all know that feeling we have in our gut first thing in the morning-the one that puts us in tune with our strongest emotions- erotic feelings or feelings of deep mourning. Sentiments of joy or loss. If we can capture the truth at the core of these feelings right then and there we can turn them into new energy and life in our various creative pursuits. The track that follows ‘Hypnopompia’ is ‘Synaptic Transmission’ and in it we hear fireworks which are a wonderful way of sonically sampling and expressing the workings of the synapses. Are perhaps the fireworks a celebration of the ideas that have been successfully captured in the hypnopompic state? Happy creative synapses at work that have been well exercised in the dream state?

In other tracks we hear chanting, church bells, organs, bleating sheep, speeding trains, a didgeridoo and muffled voices. How to make sense of all of this? In the track ‘Acoustic Encoding’ I am reminded once again of that Edgar Allan Poe poem, or indeed, any poem I love that begs to be read out loud. For this is what ‘acoustic encoding’ is: the process of remembering and understanding things you hear. When we read a poem out loud we are engaging in acoustic encoding.

The album ends with the track ‘Theta Wave’. This is the perfect finale as the Theta brainwaves are activated when you are falling asleep. New ideas and enhanced creativity occur in a Theta brainwave state. And after listening to an album that makes me ponder the colourful spectrum of human emotions in a dream state, it is very pleasing to end on a track that is a gateway to learning, healing and spiritual growth. In the Theta state we retreat again to the voices and signals that come from within us, and, most beautifully, we can connect to the divine, readying us again for a new morning in the hypnopompic state: another day of capturing our dreams and commencing the cycle over. ‘Somnambulist’ (which means sleepwalker) is a truly inspiring and thought-provoking album on many levels.

Images courtesy of Sasha Margolis

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In Memory of Taidhg Burke-Neff

25 Oct

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of the frequent weekend trips my dad would take my brother and me on up the beautiful Mealagh Valley to spend glorious weekends with the Burke-Neff and the Wieler families. We would spend wonderful hours romping through the fields, walking up the mountain and going down to the river with all the kids. West Cork, Ireland was truly such a wonderful place to grow up. I am deeply saddened by the events of the past days and of the tragic death of Taidhg Burke-Neff, but I also see what a strong and supportive community we have in Bantry and how much love is shown and shared at this difficult time. My thoughts are with Taidhg’s amazing parents Sandie and Noel and his sisters Niamh and Roisin, and also with the Wieler family: Fred, Janny, Flora, Frank, Sunny and Myrthe. Love and hugs to you all from Berlin. May Taidhg’s beautiful soul and music carry everyone through this difficult time. Love and condolences to all. RIP Taidhg. xxxxx

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Michael Lovatt- Bio

13 Oct

Michael Pygmalion

by Rhea H. Boyden

Irish-born producer and Dj Michael Lovatt spent his early childhood in the United States, where he became interested in music in his early teens. He developed a love of hip hop while listening to pirate radio stations in Philadelphia in the 80’s. He then started making his own music when he got his first sampler, an Ensoniq EPS. His first tunes were inspired by 80’s synth pop and ebm like OMD, Kraftwerk, DAF, New Order, Depeche Mode, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and classic Chicago house. He spent the 90’s in Greece where his music was further influenced by his love of rave, acid house, trip hop, techno, progressive house, acid jazz and drum and bass. He became immersed in the illegal rave scene in Athens, djing at many private parties. He was resident dj for 3 years at Athens’ only electro bar Inoteka. As the years passed, he played in various bands, dj’d a lot and continued to pursue his love of 80’s electro, techno and house. In the late 90’s he decided to take a break from the music to focus on his career as a graphic designer. He realised soon enough though, that he was dying a slow creative death and listened to the voice of reason and another dear dj friend, and put his soul back into making music fully in 2002. In 2005, he moved back to Dublin where he became resident Dj with a collective known as The Hospital Crew where he played weekly gigs. He has since played at festivals all over Ireland and also in Switzerland and Germany, and has released music on record labels Melonsound (DK), Subtec Records (DK), Dublin Express (IE) and Echo Deluxe (BR). His sets flow between deep, soulful house to hard hitting techno and classic party tunes. One of his successful side projects is ‘Urban Response’ which is a mix of funky and soulful Brazilian flavoured trip hop. He has recently relocated to Berlin where he is already feeling very inspired to produce more music in this fabulous city that is famous for its techno, electro and house music scene.

Michael Lovatt Bio and Link

Sasha’s Sonic Waste

22 Sep

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by Rhea H.Boyden

Last Christmas I found myself wandering through one of Berlin’s many Christmas markets on a Wednesday evening. The market was practically empty and I was in a sombre mood. I had some money in my pocket and wanted to buy some gifts for the people I loved, but I was feeling uninspired by what I saw. ‘There is a lot of lovely stuff here’ I thought, ‘but it’s the same junk as every year’. I strolled through the whole market and purchased nothing but a simple ceramic bowl that caught my eye.

After strolling some more, I found myself standing in front of the market’s Christmas tree. The ‘tree’ was constructed of lots of metal pipes from which were strung various pieces of junk. Old tires, smashed up radios, ancient computers and broken bikes. It was strung with a nice strand of lights, only half of which were illuminated. In front of the tree was a big sign reminding us of how much waste we humans have produced and how we really should think carefully about what we purchase before doing so especially considering we are in the middle of a recession. ‘Well’ I thought, ‘Here we are being told NOT to buy things in the middle of a market in the middle of the Christmas season which is the most important time of year for retail business to make its biggest profits and turnover’. I heeded the sign and didn’t buy another thing at that market. I did end up buying small gifts for my family and friends last year, but I spent most of my money on good food instead.

A couple weeks later, I met an interesting young man from Melbourne,  Australia named Sasha Margolis. Sasha, whose  artist’s name is ‘Automating’ creates the most interesting sounds that really make me think deeply about our material world. While listening, I read his biography of his craft and it says: ‘Sifting through the sonic waste and discarded technology left by the roadside of a world speeding too fast into the future. Field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units. Currently pursuing live and studio created binaural soundscapes and archaic tape based drones.’ When I read this I immediately thought of the Christmas tree again and all the junk that has been left by the roadside that people had nicely reused to decorate a tree and make a point at the same time. Sasha, as far as I can see, is reusing sonic waste and turning it into something useful: deeply inspiring sounds. As I mature, I start to really see the value of contemporary art forms, something I simply did not understand or see any worth in when I was younger. This past summer when I was at Documenta Contemporary Art show, I found myself standing in front of a big pile of scrap metal and junk that was one of the exhibits. One then asks: ‘Is this art?’ and ‘What is the value of this?’ The value of this of course, is to make us think about how much we waste and ponder more creative and artistic ways in which we can reuse, reduce and recycle and make our planet a more sustainable place for future generations.

Sasha pic living room

Sasha Margolis

I was recently killing time flipping through  a high end women’s fashion magazine in a doctor’s waiting room. The magazine was full of advertisements for very expensive make-up, jewellry and clothing. The article that caught my eye however, was one that claimed that you do not have to be ashamed to say you are broke and unemployed in the middle of a recession. It showed you how you can creatively mix and match the clothes you already own without wasting money you don’t have on more junk you don’t need. This article impressed me as quite ironic sandwiched in between advertisements for expensive luxury products, just as the scrap and junk Christmas tree was placed in the middle of a market which is there for one reason: to make a profit.

Some mornings when I am getting dressed for work, I realise I am all nicely dressed up to greet a new client and then I swing around, look in the mirror and spot a lovely hole in my black tights. I don’t let it bother me though. I go to work anyway, and at least several better dressed people will point it out to me during the day, and I just blithely say ‘Oh really, I didn’t see that, never mind!’ If there is one thing a girl could go bankrupt on, it is constantly wasting money on new tights every time the tiniest hole appears in them. I do, of course, eventually splurge on more tights and throw the old ones to the junk heap, but not before I get the chance to wear the ones with lots of holes in them, two pairs at a time, under jeans, where no one knows the holes are there apart from me, in the depths of Berlin winter. This is just one way that I try and reuse and reduce waste. The other morning, Sasha sent me a link to his latest album and again it immediately made me think of waste reduction methods. Sasha’s sounds keep me thinking for hours about art, renewal, waste, death and the cycle of life. He samples so many different sounds from engines to sheep, to fireworks and birds. Sounds from from rural areas and from cityscapes. His sounds send me into a dream world and a trance and inspire me to write about all kinds of topics, which is interesting because his latest album ‘Somnambulist’ released under the label Wood & Wire deals partially with sleep states. Well done, Sasha!

Sasha’s music is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

To read reviews of Sasha’s music check out his reviews page.