A temporary recording studio at Contour Biennale 8’s Opening Weekend Public Programme / DAI Roaming Assembly #12, Café Univers draws on conversations, music and live internet/FM radio feeds from across the globe to dialogue freely around sound, place and histories of struggle. The episodes navigate mainstream radio stations via the Radio Garden website as well as music chosen by presenters. The project melds sonic exploration of south/south solidarity and the collapsing of physical/digital spaces vis a vis the chaotic dynamics of listening to the radio while rotating the globe.
Café Univers is a project conducted by Syma Tariq and Francesca Savoldi and supported by R22 RadioAppartement22
Episodes 1, 2 & 3: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam have been making films together for three decades on the recurrent subject of Tibet, in which they are intimately involved.They chat with us about the music of their film ‘Drapchi Elegy‘ and the songs performed and recorded by a group of nuns imprisoned for protesting peacefully. We chat as well about the role of radio in the Tibetan diaspora, music of exile and the meaning of its contemporary influences.
Episodes 4 & 5: Karrabing Film Collective are from the Belyuen community on the Cox Peninsula across Darwin Harbour, Australia. They took up filmmaking after being made homeless, and use media as a means to express protection for their ancestors, sacred sites and mother country. The films represent their lives, create bonds with their land, and intervene in global images of indigeneity. Gavin Bianamu, Rex Edmunds and Elizabeth A. Povinelli speak to us about filming, family, Australian radio music and screwing copyright.
Episodes 6 & 7: Denise Ferreira da Silva offered at Contour Biennale 8’s Public Programme notes on a theory of transformative justice, assessing contemporary (total, institutional, symbolic) violence and raciality while interrogating a value-based proposal for practical decolonisation (ie, construing and then demanding the wealth back). She speaks to Café Univers about Brazilian radio novelas, cultural value extraction and hip hop, among other personal subjects.
Episode 8: Pedro Neves Marques is (together with Mariana Silva) behind inhabitants – an online channel for exploratory video and reporting. He comments on one of the works presented at Contour Biennale 8, ‘Hobby Lobby vs. The Allegory of Justice’, which revolves around an interesting case from 2014 in the US, where corporations claimed for the first time their religious rights to suppress providing health care and contraceptives to employees. Travelling together though Radio Garden we try to find evidence of the Trump era on US airwaves.
Episode 9: A chat with Mariana Silva, co-founder of inhabitants with Pedro Neves Marque. She is a Portuguese artist based in New York. As well as navigating Radio Garden with us through night radio broadcasts and transmissions from the Azorean archipelago, she connects some of the works produced for Contour Biennale 8 with her reflections on the US Women’s March on Washington, which took place on March 8 2017.
Episode 10: Pedro Gómez-Egaña drops by to tell us about the piece he produced for Contour Biennale 8 and related research that explores the complex tradition of riddles in polyphonic manuscripts of the Flemish region, and the enigmatic silence they contain. Continuing with the task of listening, we tune into the airwaves of his homeland, Bucaramanga (Colombia). Pedro is an artist whose recent works gravitate around questions of temporality in the intersection between technology and culture.
Episode 11: A recording of the last eight minutes of Rana Hamadeh‘s soundplay, « Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls? » (40″). Structured through the oratorical tradition of the Shiite ceremony of Ashoura, it takes its political, military and legal expressions with the Lebanese/Syrian contexts as its field for commentary and research. Centred around the murder of Hussain, the Prophet’s grandson, it is a terrible and beautiful mixture of vocal trauma and dark trance. Headphones advised.