Radio Quarantine – Sarah Davachi: Dominions (2016)


SARAH DAVACHI is a Canadian SOUND ARTIST. That’s a new term for me but certainly a concept that’s occupied a lot of my time and even popped up in the last few days, the idea of painting or sculpting with sound rather than a physical medium. Not that sound isn’t physical. It’s vibration and what is vibration if not physical. It isn’t solid yet moves air and matter. She is new to me also, but of course she is. I’ve only just really begun exploring this genre of music and composing if not quite in depth. Let’s say I’ve become willing to eliminate other elements of music and find the micro-textures and tighter frequencies of drone music. I’ve only just become willing to consider it music at all. That’s my own ego and shortsightedness though, and ego also. Who am I, after all?

So if you’re willing to let go and sink into the vibration:

I wasn’t able to reach “the place” again this morning when meditating. It was like standing outside the door in the rain and wind with peace and security just inside, yet not being able to push the door open. And of course if you push too hard you somehow bypass the place altogether and end up on the other side. There is still some unfinished business nagging away, yet less clarity than ever on what the unfinished business is. There is definitely such thing as overthinking any matter and now it’s all cloudier and more distant. I’m going to let it go for now and relax my shoulders and it will all be clear eventually. It takes effort to repress or suppress anything and that’s just not me. That’s effort I won’t make anymore.

I did think more this morning (and last night) about photography and purpose and my interest in it. There are people that take photos with the intent of being the author of a story. Some of those stories especially in recent times, are autobiographical. Of those, some are honest and some are decidedly not. There are those that are merely biographical, non-fiction insofar as the shooter is telling a story as he sees it, whether right or wrong.

I’ve done both of those as I take more and more photographs on a daily basis. I’ve found more frequently though that my main interest likes not in telling a story, my own or anyone else’s, but in relating an image (perhaps manipulating it with scale and proximity and letting the viewer create their story. It’s sort of like handing someone a lump of clay or a box of Lego, and giving them license to build their own.

I don’t even know how to tell my own story, really. My memoir of years and years turned out disastrous as a work unto itself. It’s not a question of it being bad. It’s definitely brutally honest in detail. Where it falls short of honesty is that it’s incomplete. It’s a brutal self-evisceration, not entirely devoid of humor, but truly lacking in balance. My life was simply not that bad, but to knock out 75,000 words on just the horror and doubt and fear diminishes the truth of the whole. It is an Atrocity Exhibition. I have to wonder what sort of reaction I would have wanted should it have been published. What was my motivation? There is an aggression in a relentless Atrocity Exhibition. Who might I have wanted to punish? Specific people? Everyone?

The photos are different. There are similarities in that I find it fascinating that you can look at something beautiful, a flower for example, so closely that it can become grotesque. The excruciating close-up detail, or the desire to reach it is the same. What will it look like inside out? How close can I come to make the delicate and fragile look terrifying? It’s not that I want to defile the object so much as perhaps I want to challenge perspective and expose that the beautiful and horrible are both made up of the same stuff. They are equal. All the elements of both exist simultaneously, and they are equal and the same. We shape them with distances that we find comfortable.

Maybe sound is the same. Rather than compose something with many notes, drill down to a small handful and extend them. Drone them. Find the textures and the unfamiliar territory in the peaks and the valleys of the frequencies. Find the strange and alien places within it. But i’m too lazy to read up on theory, either in a general sense or with individual artists. What was there intent and vision? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find it on my own or accept my own visceral reactions as the truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s