For the artist trio Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian music is more than entertainment, it accompanies their daily work and life in Dubai. Now they created a playlist with a very special listening ritual for the Schirn.
The large-scale installations of the Iranian artist collective transport viewers into a world full of references and sidenotes and are currently on view at the Schirn. With melancholic poetry and caustic humor, the artists reflect the abstruse nature of the global world. This is also reflected by the soundtrack Haerizadeh, Haerizadeh and Rahmanian created for the Schirn Magazine. It introduces a ritual of listening to music, similar to the rituals of their art production. For a deeper understanding of the proposed listening process, the artists came up with a formula comparing the playlist to the biological replication of DNA. However, the following descriptions are of a very personal and associative manner—as the playlist is to be understood as a usable artwork, for the readers to delve in to the universe of the choreography of listening:
Our soundtrack is an application of replication, introducing a ritual of listening to music. It stands in opposition to themed or genre playlists of a rather distractive nature. During a residency in Florida we had the chance to dance with the choreographer Deborah Hay, which shifted our attention to the unpredictable sounds of our environment without any music playing. It made us aware of how our bodies and movement are connected to the ubiquitous sounds in our environment. This new form of awareness changed our manner of listening.
After this experience, we started paying more attention to surrounding sounds in general—the mosque’s call to prayer, the birds’ warning signals, the noise made by a vacuum cleaner, the tapping of our dog’s paws on the floor, the continuous sound of scissor lifts hanging billboards across the road, and so on. For some time, this became the soundtrack of our home.
In our culture pathos and joy are intertwined like a double helix. One is not separate from the other.
When working on repetitive tasks, like painting 2000 frames for an animation, we set up a workstation like in an assembly line and repeated one brush stroke or movement over and over again. This ritual prompted us to listen to a single track over and over again which mimicked our bodies’ repetitive movements. The repetition created a kind of abstraction and became spatial.
The music becomes part of your memory
By abstraction we mean a thought process that is liberated from the tyranny of the here and now. When you listen to one track repetitively it gradually becomes part of you and your memory, which then connects the past to the present. Like life remembering itself and cells memorizing their previous acts. As the music repeats and becomes part of the space, everyday gestures and movements are choreographed to the track. All gestures, from drinking water to hosting guests, take on an epic form.
Music becomes a source of contemplation not entertainment. The listening ritual of our playlist is based on the process of DNA replication. The two strands of the double helix, the Leading and Lagging Strands, can be listened to independently within one, or any number of days. Another alternative is to follow the suggested order from beginning to end.
The Helicase tracks unzip the double helix, so that the Primase tracks take over, inspiring a capsule-like, hole arrangement. The Leading and Lagging Strand tracks are repeated as many times as you like. The Primase and Polymerase tracks intercept the Leading Strand one time, whereas the Okazaki Fragment songs can be listened to intercepting the Lagging Strand tracks three times inbetween the Primase and the Polymerase tracks. However, the Exonuclease tracks can be listened to at any point in the formation of the Lagging Strand, which can also be listened to backwards from the last track to the first. Finally, all the Strands are concluded by the Ligase track. These interceptions are marked in the following outline of the music presented in this ritual.
We discovered Isang Yun through Beate Kuhn, a German ceramist whose work we admire. She experienced Isang Yun’s compositions in a highly spatial way and translated them into abstract ceramic works.
Partita for 8 Singers: No. 1. Allemande
“To the left to the right ... 2, 3, 4, 5 ... to the midpoint ... the detail of the pattern is movement, a red diagonal line ... to the left corner ... twelve lines from the midpoint of each of the side [...]”
This track is a reflection of the imaginary vision of the volume of the cacophonous sounds when installing our exhibition at the Schirn. Not being present on the actual site of the show, having to imagine it in consideration of the accuracy of real dimensions of the space and site requirements introduced a mayhem of sounds, geometry, and specifications in the process. The (imagined) cacophony of sounds while creating the 3D walk through the show with our friend in Tehran, envisioning the exhibition space in Frankfurt, keeping in mind the required distances of the hygiene protocols, is amplified by this track.
Four 3 “Beach Birds”
INTERCEPTION: You can now listen to the Primase and Polymerase tracks
This indigenous music from the south of Iran carries a coexistence of Arabic, African and Pakistani cultures. The music reflects the rhythm of the environment, where the sea waves caress the hot desert sand.
The fluidity of the music triggers the image of wind on sand. The sand waves are as delicate as the rib cage of an animal.
Between the Heavens and Me
In our culture pathos and joy are intertwined like a double helix. One is not separate from the other. Grief and joy spin around like lovers. Kayhan Kalhor’s track is the story of this love affair.
Du Yun, Matt Haimovitz
“War not words between friends, lovers wordless exchange, these are your Miranda rights. Simmering exhaustion, claustrophobic tower of Babel releases its tongue in an upheaval of tormented toxins, axis of evil dot dot dot, exist in the nausea[...]”
Du Yun’s music captures the contemporaneity of time. It inspires us to appropriate sound to create space. Perhaps it’s the dialogue between the Eastern and Western instruments that transpires this field of negotiation.
INTERCEPTION: You can now listen to the Okazaki Fragment tracks, as well as the Primase and Polymerase tracks (independently from each other)
Ya Watani (O My Land)
“For life, liberty and dignity, look at those innocent eyes watching the sky, wishing to reach the ocean’s horizon, all the tears of joy and emotion, the nature with the green acacia trees dancing. I wish to live, with tranquility by my side. I want to live and dance with tranquility. My beloved land [...]”
Ilham Al- Madfai
INTERCEPTION: You can now listen to the Okazaki Fragment tracks again, as well as the Primase and Polymerase tracks (independently from each other)
“Of the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Oh, in Mesopotamia Aloofness ran deep. The face of Eve turning. What sky did she see. What garden beneath her feet. The one you drill. You drill pulling the blood of the earth. Little droplets of oil for bracelets [...] Round your own world. We are weeping tears. Rubies. We offer them to you. We are just your Arabian nightmare. We invested the zero. But we mean nothing to you. Your Arabian nightmare.”
Contemplating destruction causes sorrow and grief and lamentation.
Reza Vali, Kian Soltani
Persian Folk Songs: 3. The Girl From Shiraz
INTERCEPTION: You can now listen to the Okazaki Fragment tracks again
“Holes link their host to the environment counterfactually; they give rise to a series of relational ties between the object and what possibly surrounds it. Perhaps one would not say that holes have dispositional properties. But surely if one can think of a hole one must equally be able to think that the hole may or may not be filled.” (Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi, Holes and Other Superficialities)
CoH, Cosey Fanni Tutti
Here I stand Knocking at Your Door
Windsor For The Derby
Masnavikhani – Raze-e No
Outside wanting to go inside lyric-wise. Migration. Metaphor for our times. Do you belong to the space you are in? Do you belong to the environment? Are you part of the membrane? Knocking on doors. Will you be accepted?
The Liszt Project
Saint Francois d’assise la predication aux Oiseaux
Facing North: Chinook
David Rothenberg, Cymin Samawatie
While Birds Chant Praises
Information National Forest
“A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressure.” (Daniel C. Dennet, From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds)
Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Cecile McLorin Salvant
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
Interpretation of the same lyrics by Lorenz Milton Hart passed down like a lullaby as performed by various artists. The lullaby-like interpretive repetition is transformed by its replication.
These songs can be listened to throughout and at any point of the Lagging Strand.
We play this song when setting up a show outside the region, in a foreign urban landscape. Like the pappus of a dandelion dispersed by the wind. It helps us decenter ourselves to balance. It stirs up grief and joy.
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi
Sound of a tombak. Its curves lay against the body, embraced. Caressing strikes. Seducing the sound out of the animal skin. Mortazavi’s music blows away the dandelions.
Pauline Oliveros, Timothy Hill, David Rothenberg
Water Above Sky Below Now, Part 2.
The replication is completed. Sealed into water above and the sky below.
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