clean room / Juan Dominguez

clean room / Juan Dominguez

On 25.06.13, I played some kind of cameo in ‘clean room’, a performance/experience by Juan Dominguez in Vooruit.

Here are my ‘lines’:

” As a sound artist and a father of three children (daughters), at this point of my life, I am overwhelmed by the multiplicity of things, and more specific: sound and noise. For 10 years, I have been producing music and sound,. Also, I’m a dedicated listener: I make field recordings. I experienced the fact that the multitude can be a problem. For instance to isolate one event or to have a focus on one person during a conversation can be very difficult.I wanted to investigate that phenomenon: multilayering of sound and to find out if it could be a possibility rather than an conflict. I wanted to find out that if I could congest even more the whole collection of sounds that I have in my memory and on my hard disk; maybe a new valuable experience could arise.As Matthieu mentioned, 100 years ago Russolo wrote his manifesto“the art of noise”. Being a futurist, he was interested in the new sound of the industrializing society. At the very same time, Vooruit, since its origin, has been part of big social evolutions. It has been a home for social engagement. I searched for the very early sound events; for example a record of a speech by Edward Anseele, a father of socialist movement in Belgium. I wanted to investigate the way in which the social engagement changed: now it is more about ecology/economy while before it was more focused on socialist concern to liberate workers and preserve social rights. There is a big evolution in this sense and that was my focus to collect sound. The battle for social rights is still an issue , even while in this area of the world, we’re on the maximum of what could be achieved. At this very moment, in this house of Vooruit there’s a reconversion going on.. But today there are also new global issues concerning ecology, the transition towards a green economy etc. And in fact it’s quite complex and interesting because the issues are connected.I have been diving into archives of debates, speeches, activist performers like the Yes men. Working within this Vooruit 100 context, I was really touched by the amount of hours of speeches that passed here… I was listening for about a whole month to these recordings. (At first there were speeches on LP’s that they used to play in the cinema, during silent movies; then there are movies and more recently recording of debates that are happening here in the arts center. The biggest part of the archive is after the 90S and most of it is available in the internet.)Concretely I created a multichannel composition that switches between two extreme situations: a solo- recording and a multi layer compression of simultaneous sounds. And in between, I explored different gradations and transitions. For example if you have 3 people talking it is possible to follow but with 100 people the sound becomes abstract, there is an abstraction of sound and content, it changed texture, it becomes more like an abstract sound surface without content.


I am also an architect and I am interested in how sound is telling something about the environment. The urban context, the physical, spatial presence in field recordings was tempting to work with. I would like to mix speech with field recording of a city but for Vooruit I focused on speeches. For Vooruit 100 I put this interest a bit aside. For example I recorded the performance of Gaetan Bulourde with the white cardboards (manifesting for nothing) and it fits in the context of this installation. If I would layer different environmental sounds, it would have been different, it would work more with the imagination of the people and this could be a next step for the installation.

This multi layering can be considered as pollution. In a way, by making the problem (the congestion) bigger maybe it becomes something else, something new. (A similar concept has been introduced by Rem Koolhaas introduced in Euralille.) Ideally, after visiting the installation, the awareness of surroundings is different and possibly more valuable than before. The aim is to encourage some kind of ‘sustainable listening’. For me it works on your sensitivity: experiencing this can change your perception, hopefully making it sharper.

But I’m aware that it will be completely different to deal with this problematics in reality. In the Domzaal, I can create my own conditions but of course in reality it is completely different, you cannot create and control your own conditions. For instance in the project of the terrace that they are building here in Vooruit, I don’t know if you have seen it, it is right next to the cafe, they are also dealing with this problem but in a different way. The reality here is that you’re in the middle of a city, right next to a busy traffic axis. This means a big amount noise at daytime. And in the evening, maybe you don’t want the sound from the terrace disturbing the quiet late night city.. So we have here a some kind of sound incompatibility. Well Geert, you’re the architect in charge of the project, maybe you can explain it better than me..”

concept & regie: Juan Dominguez / in samenwerking met: María Jerez, Sara Manente, Alice Chauchat / productieleiding: Christian Modersbach / productie: Juan Dominguez / coproductie: Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin, BUDA Arts Centre Kortrijk / in opdracht van Tanz im August und