In February 2020 I had the chance to attend a one month artist residency in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Reading a lot about the city and especially its Electronic Noise Music scene, I was very much looking forward to explore new soundscapes. For this journey I brought a DIY antenna made out of a badminton racket, an OC818 microphone by Austrian Audio and an action camera to record sounds and capture videos in different badminton halls and sports courts. My idea was to engage with various people and communities in Jogjakarta, not just from the arts field to get to know more about social and political issues within this city. Could it be that (badminton) sport offers a place where people meet and connect without questioning social backgrounds, religions, etc and where a community building culture exists besides the capitalist order?
I talked to many different people and did some interviews but mainly I was focusing on the different soundscapes and noises of badminton halls. As it was raining season it was a very specific and very noisy experience. Badminton gymnasiums can be found in any imaginable size in Jogjakarta. I found myself very often standing underneath a roof of white noise, being sure to understand better why there is such a brilliant “Noise Music Scene” in Jogjakarta. Heavy rain was falling onto mainly iron roofs and the acoustic of the gymnasiums quite often changed dramatically. I did many recordings in hypercardioid and cardioid mode from a very close distance standing at corner points of the courts and from a more distant position recording from stands.
If I remember all the sound and visual excitements: this one month felt like a dream. And dreaming is a concept I wanted to relate to the project from the very beginning, so I brought two books: “The Fall of Sleep” written by Jean-Luc Nancy, because I was working recently with this book during my project selfieDREAMER and “How to Sleep” by Matthew Fuller. Sleep as glitches, body parts falling asleep, repetition and flickering pulses have been the narrative guidelines of the sound and video composition. The soundtrack of the film starts with an electromagnetic recording of strip lights. It’s a sound not easy to grasp on the surface and it’s non audible. I built an antenna made out of a badminton racket to record the electromagnetic noises. A battle starts between two sides but just the squeaking of the shoes is left. Who is playing here? Whose voices are cut out? We listen to fragments of a conversation explaining key moments of playing badminton, a practice and method of how to play together and maybe how to find ways of communication beyond language.
Find out more about the project: Jogja Badminton Noise
Cedrik Fermont & Dimitri de la Faille (2016), Not your world music: Noise in South East Asia. Art, politics, identity, gender and global capitalism, published by Syrphe (Berlin, Germany) and Hushush (Ottawa, Canada)
Matthew Fuller (2018) How to Sleep / The art, biology and culture of unconsciousness, Bloomsbury Publishing Pc
Jean-Luc Nancy (2013), Vom Schlaf, diaphanes, Zürich-Berlin