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Proximity Music: States of Fragility

Multiple venues, The Hague

4—7 April 2024

Proximity Music is a joint exhibition programme initiated in 2021 by iii and Rewire, which seeks to connect music, architecture, technology, ritual, and play through spatial experiences engaging with all the senses. From the 5th till the 7th of April, nine newly commissioned and adapted artworks by emerging and established artists will inhabit various locations across the centre of The Hague.

With contributions by: Marco Fusinato, Nandita Kumar, Sophia Bulgakova, Henk Schut, Jeanine Verloop, Myra-Ida Van der Veen, Andrius Arutiunian, Louis Braddock Clarke, Pelle Schilling 

This year's edition Proximity Music: States of Fragility presents a series of works set against the backdrop of unsustainable and often fragile social, political and ecological systems: from a disturbed ecological balance to ongoing wars and geopolitical tensions. Through the lens of personal, creative, and sometimes unorthodox approaches, artists develop instruments to explore different forms of human and more-than-human knowledge. They invite us to establish new relationships with our immediate surroundings, other geographies, and complex ecologies.

In a time when the world is louder than ever, the exhibition allows us to listen from a diversity of directions and perspectives, and to attune differently to our surroundings. In Lost Sound, Henk Schut invites us to tune in with the earth's frequency beneath us through sonic environments that combine audible environmental sound with infrasonic vibrations to animate local geomaterials. Connecting us directly with the environment is LongStringInstallation by Pelle Schilling, which creates a bodily experience by connecting two acoustic chambers by means of strings with the movement of the trees in the wind, in which their varying tension results in an ever-changing composition. In UNDER BOOM, Louis Braddock Clarke creates a hallucinatory audiovisual environment, in the form of an anthropogenic club experience with infrasound, an inaudible bandwidth of 0–20 Hz filled with shockwaves caused by human activities. The work stems from the discovery of a listening island in the mid-Atlantic, which due to its geo-positioning and low noise ratio is hyper-sensitive to long-wave sounds. 

As the challenges and environmental consequences of climate change manifest, artist Nandita Kumar reflects on the knowledge gap between the scientific community, political spheres, and society at large through her work From Paradigm to Paradigm, into the Biomic Time. Here untrue statements from news headlines are transformed by an algorithmic Haiku generator into a glitching musical score. Contemporary iterations of traditional music and sound cultures call on us to create new (and old) relationships with local forms of wisdom. In the new sound installation Naphtha, They Said, artist and composer Andrius Arutiunian explores how divination rituals, hypnotic sonic structures, and hallucinatory aesthetics form alternative modes of world ordering – both musical and political – exist beyond western imaginaries. Taking us deeper into a world in chaos, the monumental work DESASTRES by Marco Fusinato fuses live-noise performance with a never-ending feed of images sourced from open-source picture libraries, making us aware of the sonic and visual overstimulation that is omnipresent in our highly mediated society. 

Exploring the role of memory and war through personal narratives is what we find in Sophia Bulgakova's Спомини [Spomyny]. Through sonic artefacts, testimonies and conversations with friends, family, and strangers in Ukraine, found footage recordings, social media and news channels, she captures glimpses of extreme experiences within everyday reality and her struggles around being abroad and returning home in times of the ongoing war. 

The need to embrace fragility becomes tangible in Myra-Ida van der Veen's work Second Breath, by creating an instrument in the form of a wearable lung, that explores the challenges of holding onto breath, listening, being heard, and the loss of voice in space, while unravelling the intricate relationship between the human body and the ethereal vibrations that emanate from within. These inner vibrations are also explored in Jeanine Verloop's ChimeChime who works with the fragile and flexible nature of glass and sound to generate movement. Constantly at the brink of destroying itself, Chime allows audiences to enter a more-than-human world while giving them space to interact and reflect on their own position. 

The works of this iteration of Proximity Music foreground fragility as something to be attentive to, while emphasising the need to listen closely to our shared and shifting environments.

Proximity Music: States of Fragility is on view from the 5th to the 7th of April, daily from 12 pm till 8 pm, free of admission. Participating locations include Pulchri Studio, Paleiskerk, WEST Den Haag, Theater aan het Spui, Barthkapel, Kloostertuin, Quartair and Billytown.