© Michael Nique

30/9/2023 at Cercle Cité (LU)

15.00-21.00: A sound-installation using composed as well as technologically recomposed field recordings of animal and element sounds from the Minett, creating recognisable sound-scapes as well as fictive dreamscapes.

16.00 and 19.00: A 30-minute sounding the body landscape performance : sonic landscapes created from our sensing, sounding and shifting bodily landscapes, through different temporalities, layering and transformation.

A 1st sharing of the current research project through sensuous landscapes and as part of my DYCP under the curation of Anastasia Chaguidouline.

I invite you to the first iteration of my current research into sound, place and the body, through my interests in deep listening and in relation to deep time. The history of the building of the Cercle Cité, having been the seat of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), led me to go back to the Minette, where I grew up. Inspired by sedimentary rocks and metamorphism, such as iron ore, providing us with steel, I come to reflect on matter, time and geological processes, on which lives are running, and consider how we relate to them. What is the relational as opposed to extractivism? What is our sensuous relationship to the sensuousness of a landscape?

I went to Rumelange, Esch-sur-Alzette, Belvaux and the Giele Botter to listen to the landscape’s pluralities and to what possibilities might emerge. With the field recordings I created a sound-scape composition, consisting of animal and element sounds and their technologically manipulated fictive dreamscapes. At Cercle Cité, in addition to the sound-installation, I invite the audience to the sounding the body landscape performance: sonic landscapes created from our sounding, sensing and shifting bodily landscapes, through cyclicality, different temporalities, layering and transformation.

Conception and direction: Tania Soubry

Sound artist and assistant: Jose Macabra

Performers and collaborators: Laura Doehler, Christine Sollie and Tania Soubry

Dramaturgical collaborator: Alexandra Baybutt

In conversation and with thanks to Michael Nique

About the sounding the body-landscape practice:

Sounding with an emphasis on feeling the vibrations in our bodies, we send the voice into different body parts to sense the vibrations there and in return sound from these body landscapes. Sounding our moving body landscapes and creating sonic voluminous landscapes therefrom. 

The practice is a sensual relating between the voice, the vibrations, the body matter and movement. The body is porous, sensitive and listening , a resonant and fluid body.

The deep listening and putting attention to the physically felt sensations of the vocal vibrations is what will be the agent of movement. The affect of sound on our body has the effect of shifting our body matter like sand or rock particles. The (agency) of the sound makes us move, and we are moving the sounding in return, always connected to breath, moving in relation to the in-breath and to the sounding of the out-breath . 

Progressing from sounding our body-landscape to sounding the space and each other we shift our attention to the sonic landscapes we create in space. The space will be amplified by the mics and the body landscape sounds will be recorded and gradually over-layered, creating sediments of voices, resulting in a collective resonant body-landscapes/sound-scapes hum.

From there we let ourselves be transformed and moved by the sound-scape we created. 

A practice initiated within my Conway Hall Artist residency 2014-2016.

© cerlce cité

Field -recording journal

1st Day (2/7/2023)

For our current research project “through sensuous landscapes” we visited an underground mine through the Musée National des Mines Rumelange, the national museum of mines in the Minett in Luxembourg, la terre rouge. With the mine train we went on a journey of about 3km, and through the underground tunnels of the “Walert” iron ore mine which were dug between 1891 and 1963. The large tunnels are on two different levels and more than 70m below ground.

The tour was full of stories and historical information, as well as a chronological walk through  more than a century of technical progress. The machines and tooling seen underground bear witness to iron ore mining in the entire region from the 1860s to the closure of the last Lorraine mine in 1997. 

Impressive to be in the belly of the earth, to see the different strata of iron ore, from red to yellow to grey, and to get a sense of the hard and precarious work of the miners. The iron ore was washed, mixed, heated, and made into steel. Sweat, coal, heat and steel were the ingredients of the economic success in the Minett.

Minette is a type of mineral deposit, consisting of iron ore of sedimentary origin, found in the south of Luxembourg and in Lorraine. This minette ore was deposited in the Early and Middle Jurassic.  

Our industrial and economic prosperity through the extraction and transformation of this mineral resource was based on geological processes dating about 180 million years, and upon which our European Union is built on. 

Following a speech on May 9, 1950, Robert Schuman proposed the creation of the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) with the goal of preventing a new conflict between France and Germany and making war “not only unthinkable, but also materially impossible.” From 1953 to 1969, the Cercle Municipal served as the seat for the ECSC.

On July 23, 1952 at the Hotel de Ville of Luxembourgish City, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Grand Duchy signed the ECSC treaty establishing a single market of coal and steel to last for the duration of 40 years. The ECSC Treaty was the origin of the EU institutions as we know them today. Created in the aftermath of World War II, the ECSC represented the first step towards European integration.

2nd Day (3/7/2023)

Sleeping at the Camping Gaalgebierg  in Esch-sur-Alzette, I woke up to the sounds of the nearby peacock, as well as listening to other more familiar birds in the distance , like pigeons and swallows. A quiet liveliness. A vibrancy in the stillness.

From Pétange we walked on the Minett Trail, hiking  through the Prënzebierg  and Giele Botter nature reserve, moving through dense forests and renatured  open pit iron mining areas where  nature has and is reclaiming the landscape. The red rocks, shining around a pond, and are encircled by trees. Some iron ore is crumbling into sand, where once there was sea. Upon touch, the iron ore sand is colouring my skin. Being moved by and moving with the landscape, I am immersed in a vast dance of minerals, dragonflies, butterflies and the sunshine from above. I close my eyes and listen, allowing my body to move in relation to what I hear. Body and dance want to expand into different directions, diffusing into timespace.

We walked along the Gaalgebierg” forest of Belvaux, where I grew up during nine years.  Listening to bird songs, their call and response rhythms, I feel listened to by the birds in response, and their song changed when I moved on. I also listened to the resurfacing of memories,  from more than twenty years ago. I am trying to listen to as wide a sense of time as possible, as well as to as many relationships in this field as possible.

Walking, moving, being and listening, I did field recordings of these various relationships I heard, of the wind through the leaves, of the the tree branch creaking under the pull of gravity,  and the birds singing in conversations with each other.

3rd Day (4/7/2023)

The third day we walked from Tétange towards the Haard and Hesselsbierg nature reserve, through dense forests populated with larches and birches, and along some massive boulders and red rock faces. The landscapes are numerous and varied biotopes, rich in fauna and flora. We did some field recordings in a field full of wild flowers and buzzing with insects, bees and grasshopper’s stories.

I have since been back to Rumelange, to the Gaalegebierg in Esch-sur-Alzette and a few times to the Giele Botter, where we also go to and start with a score on the day of the performance, a score we share with the audience in the program notes, an invitation for them to go there with the same set of guidelines as a starting point for their experience.