Sonic Narratives

The Simultan Association presents in Timisoara a new edition of the project SONIC NARRATIVES. From May 26th to June 10th, artists from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Norway, and Romania propose types of reading of contemporary realities through their art and invite us to reflect on the diversity of the world, but especially on its fragility. 

The official opening of the program takes place on Saturday, May 27th, at 3:00 PM, at the former Constructorul building on the bank of the Bega River (by the River's Tale terrace).

The third edition of the SONIC NARRATIVES takes place along a river - Bega - to talk about all rivers and privileges a sense - hearing - to open our perceptive capacity in a complex and, for most of us, surprising and exciting way. We invite the audience to prepare their tools for reading and interpretation of the real, of the environment in contexts of augmented or directed perception, through sounds, words, steps, stories, through instances of collective listening, true journeys on known routes, described by someone else or imagined. Once we perceive the "round and alive" acoustic environment that accompanies us permanently, the dialogue between natural and human sounds, and the possibilities offered by interpretive, creative or critical listening, we become aware of our place in the world and among other living beings.

Each artist and event within the SONIC NARRATIVES speaks about rivers and waters, about the quality of the acoustic environment, about ways of building the city in a sonic harmony, about resonances and soundscapes, about the potential for life of the natural environment in our cities. Artists from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Norway, and Romania propose types of reading of the contemporary realities through their art and invite us to reflect on the diversity of the world, but especially on its fragility. Water, rivers, and the sounds of nature are at the center of their work and demonstrate the necessity of a firm position regarding the degradation of the natural environment whose silent witnesses we are: we indulge in conveying ecological slogans, but we don't find time and resources for concrete action at the personal, social, and political level.

The SONIC NARRATIVES program is divided into four themes that meet and intertwine like the tributaries of a river, creating opportunities for dialogue with the invited artists through ideas flowing and fluid like water, floating like driftwood or steady as stones. Rivers and other waters is the central theme, which hosts the main innovation of this edition, namely the auditions of radio art works that take place in a pool on the bank of the Bega Canal: "là où se rejoignent les rivières" by Antoine Richard tells the story of two rivers merging (with subtitles in Romanian) and "Sails" by Ilinca Stihi tells the history of the world through an aquatic journey (a binaural work, listening with wireless headphones). A cruise on the Pelican boat to the Utvin lock brings us together, in a kind of guided tour, with the poetry performers from Cenaclub and the readers of aquatic territories from Ecluze pe Bega. On the return journey, the boat vibrates with the power of the engines from the Water Plant through the composition performed by Jakob Kirkegaard. The Danube is part of the program with 5 compositions with sounds recorded at Port Cetate within the Sonic Future Residencies (listening devices at the vaporetto stations) and with the beaver families from Linz brought in a performance by Abby Lee Tee, who also presents the film "Syntopia:Bega" together with the artist Andreea Săsăran.

Maria Balabaș's soundwalks, inspired by Elena Biserna's books, open the Cities theme. Along with Caroline Claus, who talks about sound and urbanism in the contemporary city, Elena Biserna presents the soundwalk as a tool for working with space and territory, in a conference hosted by the Faculty of Architecture and the Order of Architects. A field recording initiation workshop is led by Stephane Marin, visual artist Ana Kun marks graphically her favorite sonic spaces, and the musicians from Makunouchi Bento process recordings from hidden corners of Timișoara in a concert.

Anna Kravets invites us to experiment the cohabitation through words spoken or whispered in a bunker, a project started during the first bombings in Kiev. First far, then close, Further away theme also features a concert by Mirian Kolev with recordings from abandoned Bulgarian villages, and an audition of the radio art piece "Tres Fronteras" by Stephane Marin, the poetic transcription of a journey in the Amazon. The film "Invisible Landscapes" by Ivo Bystřičan reveals the richness of soundscapes and the importance of their preservation, while the series of mini-films "Son Seul/Wildtracks" by Felix Blume takes us around the world with humor, a microphone, and 34 sonic jewels.

Resonances and Objects is the theme dedicated to sound installations selected and proposed by curator Carsten Seiffarth in two distinct spaces. Gallery 5 (formerly Frizeria Igiena) in the center of Timisoara hosts the Tourist Information Center, a space created by Ionu and Tovarasu D., which questions the impact of tourism on contemporary societies. The Constructorul building on the banks of the Bega Canal will be sonically populated by "coin-cidence" by Nika Schmitt, a kinetic sculpture that seeks its way on uneven surfaces, and by "Harmonic intervention" by Raul Keller, which transforms the space into a resonant chamber for a better understanding of specific acoustics. The sound installation "Mineral Amnesia" by Ioana Vreme Moser explores the evolution and degradation of the first programmable memory of the digital Middle Ages and its shadows through the perspective of an outdated device, that ended up discarded to form toxic wastelands over the geological layer of the earth.

From soundwalks and events that highlight the acoustic properties of different spaces along the river, to concerts, films, and listening devices in pools and abandoned buildings on the banks of the Bega Canal, SONIC NARRATIVES sounds an alarm, demonstrates a potential, and invites to creativity in how we manage our relationship with Bega today and, especially, in the ways we can affirm its presence in the urban space of the future.

Partners: SEMI SILENT, Singuhr projects, Ecluze pe Bega, FAUT - Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism Timișoara, STPT, Under the Bridge, Pelican.
Supported by: French Institute, Czech Center Bucharest, Goethe Institut, German Cultural Center in Timișoara.

Proiectul face parte din Programul cultural național „Timișoara – Capitală Europeană a Culturii în anul 2023” și este finanțat de Municipiul Timișoara prin Centrul de Proiecte. This project is part of the national cultural programme "Timișoara – European Capital of Culture in the year 2023" and is funded by the City of Timișoara, through the Center for Projects. This project is part of the national cultural Programme „Timișoara - European Capital of Culture 2023” and is funded through the BEGA programme, carried out by the Cultural and Art Center of Timiș County, with funds allocated from the state budget through the Ministry of Culture.