18 – 20 November Ex-Situ Sonic Sculpture

HYENAZ + Yusuph Suso
17 – 20 November 2021
at EXIT (Wienerstrasse 32, 10999 Berlin)
Facebook Event

Ex-Situ is a multimedia performance, interactive sonic sculpture and audiovisual work which explores how human beings can exist in past, current and future homeland(s), simultaneously. Ex-Situ refers to the linkage that occurs between people who have lost the physical location of their former home but maintain bonds despite living in disparate location(s) and home(s). It has been awarded a Musikfonds FEB grant. The premiere will be held at EXIT on the 18. November and be on exhibit until the 20. November.

As part of Foreign Bodies, a series of performances, compositions and research exploring the phenomenon of human bodies in motion and migration, HYENAZ collaborated with the Gambian singer and migrant Yusuph Suso on the island of Sicily. Suso comes from a line of musicians stretching back to the ancient kingdom of Mali and now works as an interpreter for others navigating the Italian migration system. HYENAZ and Suso recorded music and interviews in Mandinka and English that connect Suso back to Gambia, to his life in Sicily, and to us as European musicians.

HYENAZ and Suso will develop these recordings into a composition and performance called “Ex-Situ” (a Latin term which has been used to describe a form of belonging not tied to space), to be performed simultaneously in Palermo and Berlin. The idea of “Nation Ex-Situ” — a nation of stateless people, no longer able to live in their homelands — coined and explored by professor Maxine Burkett, was inspiring to us in the formulation of this work.

As societies emerge unequally from a global health crisis which has extended restrictions on movement, Ex-Situ explores how performers and audiences can be present for one another without being physically proximate. It asks audiences how we can create and sustain communities when we are not physically present with the people and places at the core of our identity.

For the exhibit the artists have remediated this musical work into a levitating sound sculpture comprising a “mobile of mobile phones”, a network of damaged and destroyed mobile phones, suspended in space, each looping elements of the musical work and Yusuph’s text and song at differing intervals such that a new, generative sonic work emerges that is never the same in any moment.Visitors will be able to record their own stories of movement, motion and migration using their own devices. These texts will be musically transformed and woven into the sound sculpture.Yusuph will appear at the Berlin event virtually, calling in from a small simultaneous event in Palermo.

Adding to the sound installation will be contributions from visitors and virtual visitors from around the world. We are working with creative coder Rodrigo Frenk to create a mobile app that will record visitors migration stories. They can do this at their own leisure or when they visit the event. The stories are then sonically manipulated with a vocoder to play in tune with the key of the installation. Therefore, as visitors or end-users add their migration stories, these two will become part of the sonic landscape of the installation.

Ex-Situ is the fifth release in our on-going Foreign Bodies project: a series of singles, mixed-reality performances and a/v installations that engage with relational bodies–bodies in motion, bodies in migration, bodies in resistance.

Along with the gallery installation and launch of the web interface, we will also release the Ex-Situ video and EP, which will include a remix by Sky Deep.

Yusuph Suso – Text, Vocals
Mad Kate and Adrienne Teicher (HYENAZ) – Sculpture Design, Composition, Recording
Lau Bau – Sculpture Design, Construction
Rodrigo Frenk – Creative Code