WHISTLE, MINOTAURE! 3 [curated by Francesco Cavaliere & Marcel Türkowsky]
13 Stations of the Snakebraid
When I was growing up my free time was largely spent playing in the woods behind my house. While I don't recall anything particularly miraculous or strange happening in this time I still feel the resonance of a constant stream of almost imperceptible quasi-religious moments-- the kind likely experienced by all youths who spend a lot of time alone in the woods... the unshakable silent terror-drone of the forest, the sense of thousands of animals in hiding, waiting for that horrific moment of chaos and death to recircle. These things are not thought out-loud, but absorbed.
I've read articles on how scientists predict that one day we will be able to analyze the vibrations of the molecules in, say, the wall of a room... that with further advances of technology we could theoretically create machines which could dissect the sound vibration patterns and listen back to everything that had ever happened in that room... to hear old conversations, etc. Though it feels like the stuff of science fiction, cities are filled with this potential energy-- the complicated layering of vibrations and reverberations from the past, molecules vibrating at the frequency of 1,000 years of civilization, war, and so on. I would argue that this chaotic molecular usurpation by human sound, particularly in the urban environment, is perceptible on a subliminal level and that this resonating past is more clearly felt by those who do not grow up amidst it (often leading to a seemingly baseless sense of stress, panic and fear upon their entering a city).
While I won't venture into some Babylonian argument on civilization's corruption of sound, it's safe to ascertain that urbanites have a (if not inferior then at least) different sense of connection to their surroundings. "Purpose" is everywhere in an urban environment-- everything is justified, designed, and so there is less need to absorb [anything] because the mind and body adjust to an assumed trust in this design. The development of the perceptional modus operandi of a person raised in a noise-polluted environment thereby accounts for this noise in the short-term (by blocking out certain sounds) and in the long-term (wiring the brain without the effect of other types of nuanced silence), meanwhile fetishising the sounds of nature without actually wanting to experience them (think of CDs of whale calls or sleep-aide/relaxation machines which mimic rainfall).
But city bodies are not merely hardened to the quietness and deeper resonances of the wilderness; they also suffer a separation from the religious moment, the physical, if subliminal, confrontation with the greater purposelessness of a forest. Therein resides a double-lacking: first a physical unfulfillment of biological stillness, and then the lack of a definitive physical religious encounter with the environment (in the same way a wild animal would 'religiously' encounter it, for example). It could be posited that this absence of "authentic" religious experience has given rise first to secularity and then to the discursive current paradigm of moral relativism, but also, perhaps unexpectedly, to fundamentalism, new age spiritualism, fanatical environmentalism and other cultural-maladjustments to or 'over-corrections' for modernity.
The resulting societal mode, which either discourages superstition in favor of empirical knowledge (such as when fundamentalists use science as 'proof' of their stance/doctrine) or else a filling of the faith-void with a new god (the environment, 'energies', science, etc.), poses a threat to authentic belief itself since the beauty of faith in anything is not that you "know" it to be true, but the inverse: that you know it may not be true yet you believe in it nonetheless.
For me, the necessary process of redefining what is 'sacred' is personal and private, stemming from the resonances of my upbringing, incorporating both the profane and the divine into an individual sense of holiness which somehow becomes universally applicable, at least internally. I feel little sense of fundamental knowledge, only this sort of grainy yet firm Belief which is more properly described as "Religious" than Spiritual, for it's not about the spirits which reside there, but the specific understanding of the Greater (questions/purposes/) nature of the universe which dictates my rituals and moral code.
"13 Stations of the Snakebraid" is an exhibition of personal mythologies and superstitions, in all of their human vulnerabilities. As is the directive of Whistle, Minotaure!, the focus is on the moment of sound and the unhearable traces of sounds which subliminally enter our bodies (whether conceptually or through more metaphysical means). My ears take in sound as something very tender, and also horrific, entwined in objects and environment, yet which holds the potential for pure (authentic) transcendence. Here are shrines to Joint Snakes, music for ghosts, stitchings for fallen trees.