Cycles seem natural and eternal, however their constant metamorphosis is never the same. Cycles follow their own trajectory of evolutions and emergences as strings of moments. Moments are sliced, lived and experienced, almost materialized in experience. Experience that can perceive a cycle, however only thought can follow a trajectory from the past through the present moment into the future.
Curators: Irena Pivka, Jasmina Založnik, Brane Zorman
Coaches: Anna Friz, Brane Zorman
Producer: CONA – Institute for Contemporary Arts Processing
Cycles composition was commissioned for radioCona:0.2425 FM Exhibition.
Statement about performance Cycles, sonic close-up with live crickets Acheta domesticus at the festival Sound Topographies: Contexts.
Cycles is an attempt at exploring sympoesis. Sympoesis for me signifies an important word, even a manner of being in this world. To put it most simply, Donna Haraway conceptualized it as working together or making, creating together.
This is what I try to manifest with Cycles: I try to work and artistically produce, create together with crickets. I try to give them space and I learned their name Acheta domesticus. Well at least the name of their species. Still an anthropocentric denomination, but at least some type of a name. Unfortunately, I cannot name them individually, one by one, as my perception is still too narrow to be able to distinguish them individually.
However, what I can do is try to acknowledge them as something more than fodder or foodstuff. For those of you who do not know, crickets in human capitalist society with its crazed consumer culture are most of the time grown and sold as food – for larger mammals, lizards, hedgehogs, spiders and in some parts of the world also for people. Their nutritional value is being researched and crickets are being considered as possible future superfood, as a nutritional supplement, which we might in the future be able to simply nibble in various protein bars and drink in smoothies.
In cricket farms, where they are grown, they have short lifetime spans where they literally never see any light and never meet any other biological species besides their caretakers. Mostly, the crickets are grown in plastic boxes with some carton pieces to offer them hiding from light. We as humans do not treat them any better than we do cows, chickens, pigs and other farm animals in farm factories. As an animal species that cannot become a person’s pet companion with fluffy hair and big round eyes, such as dogs and cats posess, they are even more exposed to being treated as products instead of living organisms or even living beings, I guess.
I do my best to provide the crickets with another role in the world, so they might for a moment be seen as something else or even perhaps as someone else, as a subject. It was not easy to learn how to treat them, how to provide an environment where they can easily thrive. I must admit there were victims due to my lack of knowledge and lack of sensibility for their needs.
Now I think I have actually learned how to take care of them, however, I still have a long way to go. Slowly, I am building a relationship with them, and I keep exploring and learning how to upgrade it. Of course now, this seems as a utopian and impossible mission. However, every experiment opens up new plane of possibilities, and their manifestation always depends on the accumulated knowledge.
During the performance, while improvising, I try to create sound situations where the crickets would be heard as different and diverse in different contexts of soundwaves. If I succeed, they do not sound alone and lonely, but are heard within the context of an ecosystem of sounds from which they actually come from. They are for me part of the biophonic landscape from which the species was taken and put into a box on the shelf of a pet shop. Locked into the one-dimensional category of food.
Do not worry, I am not going to rant about a vegetarian or vegan diet. Every individual persons’ food habits are a very intimate choice. I hope a conscious decision where the fact that needs of every individual human body are different is being considered in view of the impact of certain industries that have grown much too large or use particular methods that are not sustainable for our planet.
Besides, I also know that there needs to be a circle of life and that the food chain is a real fact so that humans and other creatures on this planet can actually survive. However, once in a while it is nice to thank other creatures and think about how much we take from them and also how much we are actually given every day without even asking. I have never asked crickets to chirp, and yet they do it. Their sounds make all of the long summer evenings quite special for me. So this performance is basically me saying ‘thank you’ for sharing the biophonic landscape with me. I am thanking these wonderful little sound masters, so dear to me, but in a way so foreign. So long and thanks for all the chirps!
Cycles, sonic close-up with live crickets Acheta domesticus
Statement: Saša Spačal
Proofreading: Jedrt Maležič Lapuh
Photos: Vera Marmelo / Lisboa Soa Festival
Lom space, Bratislava, Slovakia [Feb. 2019]
Château de Bruniquel, Bruniquel, France [Nov. 2018]
Architecture and Senses Plasy Symposium, Agosto Foundation, Center for Architectural Heritage Plasy, Czech [Oct. 2018]
Sound Topographies: Contexts, Škuc gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia [Oct. 2017]
Festival Lisboa Soa, Lisbon, Portugal [Sept. 2017]
Triennale Device_art 5.016, Eastern Bloc Art Center, Montreal, Canada [May 2016]