All Begins With A: inspired by the SUNRISE

Digital photographs, interventions in public space, listening journal, compositions, digital film: PAL, 16:9, stereo audio, HD, 15’42’’, 2014. Essay by Capucine Vever.

All living beings experience the cyclic movement of night transitioning to day, and of day returning to night, as an existential rhythm. Humans have mirrored this rhythm through the practice of walking or travelling in circles, embodying the movements of the stars and celestial vault. I have come to experience the breath, and implicitly the expired vocal sound, as the same kind of effortless cycle, without intention – thus the relation between the body, position, and cosmological elements such as the sunrise are central to my artistic practice.

For one month I documented my daily walking, listening and singing around the island of Vassivière. Getting up for the morning twilight, and the experience of shorter and longer days, informs an awareness of the cyclical nature of time in relation to the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon.

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‘All Begins With A: inspired by the SUNRISE’ is my long-term research project about the transition of night into day. It puts into question how one can perceive the flowing of cosmological time in relation to chronological clock time, physical experiential time and human interventions of machinery. Through a daily practice of walking, listening, singing, writing, photographing and sound recordings I investigated the acoustic surroundings along the shore of the island.

The island is the inverted mode of a stereotypical lake, with the shape of a circle. The circle represents a form to accomplish: walking around the island and finishing its circle. This is a gesture parallel to that of one breath. Encircling as well as breathing embodies the continuity of a beginning and ending at the same time. It also relates to a circular notion of the day and night cycles. Taking the sun as the generator of movement and working in the morning twilight, this project is a sonic research into a moment of transition and radical change of the daily life on the island. A lot is happening during the sunrise and different characteristics of the place can be discovered.

In the project I make use of a singing technique that is rooted in the North-Indian tradition of Dhrupad music (as taught by Marianne Svašek and Amelia Cuni). It comes from an exercise of sustaining tones in the lowest register with the vowel /a/. Singing these long tones for at least a half hour, enables an attentive listening where breathing, body and environment are concentrated in the ‘now’ moment.

This version of the project resulted in a video made with Capucine Vever, including a composition of audio recordings and my texts. The video originates from an action we did together during the solstice, the shortest day of the year: we encircled the island in one movement, with a canoe. This was the conclusion of the month-long cycle that I completed on different positions along the shore.

Presented at a.o. De l’île au monde, Centre international d’art et du paysage, Île de Vassivière, 2019. Intervention made with Capucine Vever, encircling the island on canoe during the sunrise on 21 December 2013.

Voice-over, editing text: Frédérique Bruyas. Editing text: Johanna Gampe, Kristina Hedtjarn, Rory Pilgrim. Mentoring, sound mastering, underwater recordings: Christian Galarreta. Sound recordings, composition, text, intervention, video direction: Janneke van der Putten. Intervention, camera, video editing: Capucine Vever. Special thanks to Renate Hoffmann-Korth. Made during residencies at Le Château, Centre international d’art et du paysage, Île de Vassivière (FR) 2013. Supported by the Mondriaan Fund. Photo: Janssen/Adriaans, TENT, Rotterdam, 2015.

Photo by Janneke van der Putten.
Photo by Aad Hoogendoorn.
Listening journal by Janneke van der Putten.
Photo by Koos Siep.
Photo by Aad Hoogendoorn.
Photo by Aad Hoogendoorn.