1525: Tapestries of Sound: Collaborative Soundscapes to Counter Solastalgia

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We are a collective of four creative practitioners working with Nottingham Contemporary who organized an event titled Tapestries of Sound: Collaborative Soundscapes to Counter Solastalgia.

On the 24th of November, we invited creative thinkers and practitioners from the 1525 Collective to join us in creating a collaborative soundscape, with the aim of easing anxieties about the future. We want to ask how we can empower one another through everyday sensory practices of care that counter the collective sense of urgency around our futures of climate change, resource scarcity, and post-pandemic life.

This event took place within The Temple installation by artist Grace Ndiritu, taking inspiration from indigenous sweat lodges as spaces of ritualistic purification, which forms part of the Our Silver City, 2094 exhibition.

The event was started with a guided meditation, which allowed the creatives to relax within the space. The meditation focused on breathing, and calming the body down into a tranquil state. Through the meditation, the next exercise was introduced, in which we asked participants to think about the future and what that means for them.

We gave the young creatives writing prompts to inspire them:

  • What words would the future you want to hear?
  • How can you establish a connection with your future self?
  • What does it mean to care for yourself in the future?

The writing prompts allowed the creatives to explore their thoughts and put them into words and phrases. The ambient Tibetan bowl music which we played throughout the workshop really set the tone and calming atmosphere throughout this whole exercise. The space in which we held the workshop also immediately set the tone, which takes inspiration from spaces of ritualistic purification.

Afterwards, we created a live soundscape though found objects that each participant had chosen from a selection. By first taking time to hold and touch these objects, we could start to appreciate the way they felt in our hands and then experiment with sound and rhythm. Through the soundscape, we showed the participants how experimenting with object triggers, similar to ASMR, can be used as a meditative tool in moments of stress.

The creatives enjoyed having the opportunity to explore these anxieties by creating a resource for themselves which they can refer back to. The workshop was successful in conveying our message of self-assurance and empowerment through collaboration, to combat our anxieties about the future. It was important to us to have a collaborative element in creating this piece, after the lack of collaborative opportunities young artists have had throughout the pandemic. I think the whole experience allowed us to take time out of our busy lives, to think ahead and manifest through creating.

The recordings of the participants' words of affirmation for the future were turned into an ASMR inspired soundscape, with layered sounds and voices of the people involved. We hope that anyone feeling stressed about the future can use this collaborative recording as a tool, and connect with the anonymous words of empowerment.

Project by Maria Leonor Banha, Sophie Lagden, Ellis Molinghen, and Alia Hamadeh.

Your support is vital

A small one-off or regular donation helps us present free exhibitions, events and education programmes across the city, up and down the UK, and around the world.