Residency of Dávid Somló, presented by PLACCC Festival in partnership with Sofia Underground International Performance Art Festival, 4 + 4 Days in Motion, Movement, Physical and Dance Theatre International Festival
In ‘’Slow Steps Have Ears”, 25 speakers are hidden from sight at public parks, each plays a series of interwoven, site-specific compositions pieced together from locally recorded sounds, snippets of conversations, domestic sounds, and minimalist musical elements. Blending in and out of its surroundings, the piece transforms its location into a unique, dreamlike soundscape that invites the audience on an experience somewhere between a sonic meditation and a treasure hunt of sounds.
The following posts were written during the 2 weeks long run of the installation in Budapest:
HUH. Today, I had one of the most exciting interactions related to my public artworks so far. Around noon, a very agitated and suspicious-looking pair arrived at the park: a bald, tattooed man shouting loudly, and behind him, a tired, limping woman with a huge painted blonde hairdo. After passing by us, they headed towards a secluded area where several speakers were placed, so I followed them, just to be cautious. The pair settled down under a tree with a speaker - as it turned out, for the purpose of consuming heroin. I positioned myself about 10 meters away from them, and thanks to their shouting speech style, I could hear exactly what they were saying.
While they were preparing, suddenly a recording made in the park started playing over their heads. In the recording, four little girls were asking each other what those strange sounds were. The pair was initially very surprised, but then the man began to tell the woman that he also has a daughter, whom he barely knows because he has spent so much time in prison. Once, when they met, the girl recognized him as her father, and how much it meant to him...
After they finished their business, they got up, and the man said, "Well, we've listened to the birds" (there were birds too) and hurried away. Audience spectrum expansion, check.
On Saturday, my installation in Kerekerdő Park, which lasted for over two weeks, came to an end. It was a tremendous experience to have such a diverse audience and to observe how they listened and engaged in a communal space for so many days and hours.
There was a Roma woman who expressed her regret that it was ending because "it's so soothing; sometimes we don't even talk, we just listen." There was also a foreign student yelling "whatthefuckisthisshit", a guy carrying his shopping on his way home who threw himself into the bushes and stayed there for half an hour, an eight-year-old girl who said "I can't take it anymore" and took out one of the speakers and tossed it into the bushes (it wasn't found), an eight-year-old boy who kindly told me "you're skillful," numerous parents with small children who "finally made it to an event", an elderly couple around 80 who, following my suggestions of listening, separated and strolled and listened separately for an hour and of course, many others who didn't react in any way, perhaps not even noticing that something was in the air.
(Other presentations of the piece happened at Sofia Underground Festival ,Sofia, BG and Movement, Physical & Dance Theater International Festival, Tbilisi, GE. In October the piece will be presented at 4X4 Days In Motion Festival, Prague, CZ)
by Dávid Somló