Maria Komarova, a Belarusian artist who is working in the fields of theater and sound, will be presenting an adaptation of her performative sound piece ‘555 Bugs’ at the festival in de Warande on Sunday 26th of September. We met up through a zoom call and talked about her practice, old and new projects and how excited she is to introduce her work to children and family audiences.
For STORMOPKOMST you are transforming your ‘555 Bugs’ work into an open sound laboratorium for children and their parents. Could you elaborate on the 555 bugs installation and how the labo will work?
"'555 Beestjes' is an adaptation of ‘555 Bugs’ which I started to develop in 2019 at Overtoon in Brussels, a platform which focuses on sound and media art. 555 Bugs originated out of the interest to create sound sources where I don't use amplification but where the sound would be produced either by tiny speakers or existing objects. By creating a circuit for the objects I was able to manipulate the sounds and create different sound compositions.
For STORMOPKOMST I will present an open labo where children and their parents are invited to bring material from their houses and collectively build a sound installation with me. For example someone could bring an empty candy box and together we place electronics and batteries inside, or place a motor in its tail. Together we will simultaneously make the object move and produce sounds. "
So people can bring their own objects and then turn it into a sound object?
"Yes, we can try to animate any objects you find at home. It can be any object which you think could produce sound; like empty candy boxes or small cardboard boxes, tic tac packs, cans, cups etc.. It would be amazing if the installation is only made with objects from Turnhout and its inhabitants. "
Will it be the first time for you to co-create and activate the bugs together with an audience? Are you curious to see what will happen?
"Yes, I’m really looking forward to it because I love working with children. The ‘555 Beestjes’ labo carries the same curiosity of a kid, it’s about exploring things and about being fascinated by everything that moves. "
You work with found objects to create the soundscape. Why is that and do the objects have an aesthetic importance or is the focus solely on the sound they produce?
"I love working with found objects because I’m fascinated by the feeling, history and stories behind them. I can not separate the objects and their produced sounds. It would be a huge difference if there would only be a recorded soundscape. However recently I had an opportunity working with a radio show and being focused on the sound alone, which opened up a whole new perspective for me. Normally I don’t work solely with field recordings or digital sounds so it was super interesting to approach the objects in a different way."
Do you think you would record the sounds during the STORMOPKOMSTfestival?
"I might record it this time, as it can be a quite unique experience, working with children for the first time. I'm especially curious about what will happen during the labo and how the audience will react to sounds that could be perceived as ‘annoying’, or ‘monotonous’ at times."
Is there something you hope the audience will experience from the labo? Is there some message or feeling you wish that participants experience?
"Maybe awareness, this is something we all have as children but forget about as adults. I would like to make people aware again about the subtlety of our surroundings and create a new sensitivity around that. "
I’m sure the installation will spark loads of curiosity! Is there something else you like to share before we meet you on Sunday?
"Together with my theater collective PYL we are currently creating a new project Reality Surfing. Here we will also explore the format of an open studio and co-creating an installation with children and adults. The project is made to be kid friendly and open for any kind of visitor. So I hope to get tons of new inspiration for this project at the STORMOPKOMST festival this Sunday!"
It sounds really exciting! We will empty our kitchen cabinets and join you at the open labo. See you soon, Maria!
More info on this project here.