Fernanda Libman, Reza Mirabi and Marko Ivic, three artists with their own individual practice, joined forces in the New Adventures residency to research the concept of “murmur”. The result of this collective effort will be presented as a work in progress presentation on 19 & 20th of November in Broedplaats de Vlugt, in double bill with Mami Kang. Eager to know more about their collaboration and what this ‘murmur’ is all about, we visited them in the studio.
How did you connect with each other and why did you decide to do this research together?
Reza: I already knew Fernanda and Marko and previously worked with them. We had this idea of murmur that interested us all. So we took that idea as a score, a method of research that we will be doing. We decided to apply to this residency together to explore this further, each from our different practices and see how this would resonate.
Can you explain what you mean with this murmur and why it interests you?
Reza: Murmur interests me because it has so many different meanings and qualities. One meaning is a low continuous sound, another is softly spoken words, another is the sound of leaves or waves and it even has to do with repetition. It also means a flock of birds flying together. We try to not look at these separate meanings or choose which one is correct, but rather use all of them as collective research, a manifold, just like how murmur is a manifold of sounds, that fold into each other.
Murmur holds sounds, but also movements. It resonates strongly with me, even on a political level because murmur happens in a certain place, namely the background. For me, shifting into the background is already an interesting movement. Secondly, there is also the movement of listening that is required. You have to listen to the birds flying around you to be guided by their collective movement. Murmur is almost a language, that is not understandable for the mainstream. So, the background, the listening, and the constellation between the individual and the collective are things that really interest me.
Fernanda: There is a division of multiple things that murmur does. One thing is what it does for us as collaborators. We use the idea of murmur to integrate our practices, to let my practice fly together with yours, and then they can go places that we normally wouldn’t go as individual makers. Secondly, the relation between the individual and the collective. The murmur exists in neither of them, but in between them, from the collective to the individual and vice versa. Lastly, thinking philosophically and beyond movement: if a sentence can become a gesture and a gesture can become a sound, I imagine that murmur happens in these transitions.
Marko: My interest is very compatible with what Reza and Fernanda just said. We are all attracted to the poetry of the concept of murmur and how powerful it can be as a metaphor. One of the things that captivated me the most is that in the process of murmur there is an intelligence that emerges in a collective sense. There is no one specifically guiding, but somehow everyone is guiding.
From what I hear you are all very interested in movement and sound, are they equally important in your research?
Marko: I believe they are equally important indeed. In my opinion they are both present in the exercises we are putting together and the research we are doing. We are trying to pay attention to how one influences the other. How your movement influences the way you are singing for example, or how your body reacts to certain sounds. The connection between movement and sound is something very natural to the world. There can be no sound without movement, every sound you hear derives from a certain level of movement.
Reza: I am also interested in letting murmur itself give the score. We listen to the ideas that are proposed by the many meanings of murmur, and translate that through our bodies and voices. The word “murmur” even comes from the sound that it makes, there is murmur inside of the collective movement and this collective movement is named after the sound that it makes. I think these are indications of how sound and movement are related to each other. We are trying to find ways to translate that into our bodies and the space.
You all come from different disciplines within art, what will you each bring to this research?
Marko: I come from music, but I have a connection with the body and performance in an interdisciplinary way. But I think that since we started talking with each other about murmuring, I became interested in bringing in some voice-research techniques. I try to vocalize with them. Also, I am interested in minimal music, which I hope to bring to the research.
Reza: Our practices are quite similar in their disciplines, we all work with movement, sound and ideas but we have different tools and methods that we use. What is interesting is how we will bring these practices together.
Fernanda: We are all engaged with time-based art, either more through sound or more through movement. With this, we already have a common ground. A good way to describe it might be: we all pass a big pot around and everyone drops in some of their own ingredients, and then we try to cook something out of it. Of course, there already have been some clashes in which we really have to try to understand what the other means. The difficult thing of art is, that it is often so unnamable.
Why did you choose to bring in extra performers?
Fernanda: We felt a need to bring more bodies into the space, to be able to create more sound and movement. We needed more than three people to have a substantial group and to be able to try to have collective movements.
Reza: We would love to have 50 people, and really explore the collective movements we can make.
Fernanda: But this is a good way to plant the seed of this project. After this research we might be able to make it a lot bigger and involve more people.
Are these all trained dancers or vocalists?
Fernanda: All of them have some relation to movement or voices practices. This was important to us because we do not have the time to teach everyone. We only have a few weeks and we wanted to use that time optimally to do our research.
What do you hope to discover during your research here at ICK?
Reza: The physical experience of shifting into the background is something I would like to be able to notice. To feel when I am moved by a collective or very individually listening to something on stage. The difference of proposing something or being moved by someone else. When I am singing to when I become part of the song. I would love to be able to feel these transitions physically.
Fernanda: I hope to explore during this residency how things on stage interact with each other. Can a dance listen to a text? And can a text listen to a sound? Can the effect of one thing on the other be felt on stage? I am interested in not how things speak to each other, but how they actively listen.
Marko: The first word that comes to my mind is togetherness. Collectivity 2.0, an even more connected version. We meet each other within the poetry and beauty of the artistic expressions. We are able to make music, inhabit the space, share that inhabitance with people who come to the presentation. So, togetherness between people and between entities on stage, dance and text, for example.