A Book of Songs and Places, September 2-7, 2013, Istanbul

Book of Songs and Placesproject by Maxime Hourani
as Part of 13th Istanbul Biennial
curated by Fulya Erdemci

During the workshops different musicians will lead songwriting sessions for artists, architects, sociologists, students and others who are interested. The collaborative workshops will look at several geographical areas in the peripheries of Istanbul where rural life intersects urban developments that are changing the face of Istanbul and that uncover dominating and latent power dynamics. The project will look into the representation of landscape and challenge the conventions of landscape art by exploring different methods of representation that employ visual and aural tactics
The landscapes at the peripheries, often regarded as wastelands and considered to be sites for speculation, are overlooked in the process of city planning and sprawl. The workshops aim to look at these urban fringes as places for investigation and imaginative contemplation. The project is examining the natural and agricultural landscapes that exist outside the center of the city to contest those areas as they are being changed by numerous urban developments.

Each six-day workshop will begin with a field trip to a chosen area in the western or eastern sides of Istanbul. During the field trips the participants will document and record physical traces on the land. Results of the research will be presented in the artist-run space 5533. Musicians and workshop participants will use this research material to write songs and create sounds that interpret the physical and human landscape and its relationship to the urban developments. During the workshops, invited speakers will reflect on the state of the peripheral areas from the standpoint of art history, music, spatial planning, political history and sociology.

Material from the workshop will be compiled into a songbook that will give visual and historical information about the geography of the place. As a medium of representation, the songs will create a soundscape to represent and interpret the contested geography in the rural peripheries of Istanbul.

The first session of “Book of Songs and Places” between September 2 and 7 takes the participants to the area around Formula 1 Park in the district of Tuzla on the Asian side of Istanbul. Korhan Erel will conduct a field recording workshop that explores sonic elements representative of this place’s geography. The manmade and natural sounds from this area on the frontier of Istanbul’s expansion will be analyzed before constructing a graphical score to assist our reproduction of these sounds (in a concrete or abstract manner) by using our voices, bodies, and other found materials.

Korhan Erel is a computer musician, improviser and sound designer based in Istanbul. A founding member of Islak Köpek, Turkey’s pioneer free improvisation group, he performed at many festivals and gave telematic concerts around the world. He was three times an artist-in-resident at STEIM in Amsterdam on sensors and instrument design. He has four CD releases and digitally released albums in Turkey, the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece. Korhan also does sound design for theater, video and dance.

“A Book of Songs and Places” is a project by Maxime Hourani, a Lebanese artist and architect engaged in a cross-disciplinary practice. Often taking the form of performative actions that relate to a specific place or space, his projects conceptually engage in explorations that excavate and interweave layers of histories, forms and relations.

The project is hosted and co-organized by 5533, an experimental non-profit art space that was opened in 2008 by two artists, Nancy Atakan and Volkan Aslan. As part of their yearly director invitation program, Filiz Avunduk has been the 2013 Programs Director. 5533’s aims are to host international projects and interactive events involving exhibitions, artist talks, workshops and round table discussions; to conduct art related research, materialize projects, and share these with IMC neighbors, the art community, as well as general interest.

Workshop participation is open to students and practitioners. No musical background is required.

If you are interested in participating in one of the workshops, please send an e-mail to bookofsongsandplaces@gmail.com with your name. For more information please check imc5533.blogspot.com

The first workshop will begin on Monday morning September 2 with a field trip to Tuzla.

place: 5533
IMC 5th Block No. 5533
Unkapanı, Istanbul

About Korhan Erel

Korhan Erel is a computer musician, improviser, sound designer based in Berlin. He plays instruments he designs on a computer by employing various controllers. He also uses analog and digital electronics. He is a founding member of Islak Köpek, Turkey’s pioneer free improvisation group, which is regarded as the band that started the free improvisation scene in Turkey. He composes and designs sounds for dance, theater, installations and film. He collaborates with dancers, video artists and spoken word artists. Korhan’s collaboration with Sydney-based video artist Fabian Astore “The Threshold” has won the Blake Prize in Australia in 2012. Korhan’s computer performance system is called Omnibus. The instruments within Omnibus are a culmination of Korhan’s musical past and aesthetic choices. Omnibus instruments use concrete sounds (samples, field recordings), morphed and processed in realtime. They can be as simple as one single sample being played using a Nintendo Wii controller to a complex system that employs granular synthesis and spectral processing. The instruments are played interactively using Nintendo Wii controllers (Korhan’s choice of controller when he plays in ensembles with acoustic/electric instrument players), an iPad (used in solo/duo performances as well as ensemble concerts) and several midi controllers. No matter what technology he uses, Korhan always stays focused on the outcome and musicality rather than processes. Korhan is the co-curator (with Nicola Hein) of UnStumm, a project that brings video artists and musicians from Germany and one other country for audiovisual improvised collaboration. Korhan has had three residencies at STEIM (Center for research & development of instruments & tools for performers) in Amsterdam, where he studied use of sensors in music performance and instrument design. He was a guest composer at the Electronic Music Studios in Stockholm in January 2011. Korhan has seven CD releases on Gruenrekorder (Germany), Creative Sources Records (Portugal), Evil Rabbit Records (Netherlands/Germany), A.K. Müzik (Turkey) and Kukuruku Recordings (Greece) as well as several netlabel releases. He performs regularly in Europe and in the Middle East as a solo artist as well as with his projects in Germany and Holland.
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One Response to A Book of Songs and Places, September 2-7, 2013, Istanbul

  1. Pingback: Book of Songs and Places, Concert – 08.10.2013 | Korhan Erel

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