Module 2: “Golden hour in the woods with Nina Simone” & “Out at Dusk” by Maggi & Evie

by | Jun 24, 2022 | 5: Summer Course 2022, 5a Course Preparations | 1 comment

Tags: Module 2

I frequently find myself looking up at the golden sky, staring at all the colors and the way they are interlaced with each other. Eventually they vanish as darkness consumes them. I like walking during this time of the day, “the golden hour”. It provokes thoughts.

Maggi and I decided to walk “our lands” during this time of the day, both at the same time but not so much, since we live in different places with different time zones. The notion of time here is modified -besides it’s socially constructed- by our lived experience(s).

Mixing our ideas/propositions, I walked by the sea at sunset. My main purpose was not to walk by the sea but to walk across the woods. I prefer the latter scenery more than the former. However, the main idea was to walk while listening to our surroundings, to “our” music perhaps, and be somewhat spontaneous. So, I ended up at the beach.

The sky colors were ever-changing. The streets were not that crowded, but I decided to walk the alleys anyway to feel more secluded. I had my headphones on but I still had the ability to perceive surrounding sounds. As I was approaching the woods I could hear the birds chirping and a group of young people laughing while having some beer. I followed a path that led me back to the main city road. The sonic environment changed radically. All I could hear was car engines, drills against concrete walls and knives squeaking on porcelain plates in tavernas· urbanity.

Soon after, I had reached my destination. The beach had no people, the wind was in my hair, the waves were throbbing against the rocks and the sky was so “pigmented”. The deep orange turned into purplish pink before it went completely dark within seconds. As Maggi proposed, I tried to move around freely, so I started walking along the beach barefoot while listening to one of my favourite songs. The sand felt wet on my feet and my shadow was dancing, copying my every move.

At the end of the beach I found some pebbles. They were beautiful. I put my shoes on and then I saw a mask that was thrown away. A relic of the pandemic, “common trash” that nowadays can be found anywhere.

I went back home at twilight. I followed the same route in reverse. The drills had stopped, the group of people had left and the roads were flooded by cars. I got inside my house, locked the door and listened to the silence of my aloneness.

I very much enjoyed Evie’s proposition and had various experiences and reflections along the way. It was beautiful to walk in the woods during the golden hour.

I had never previously been as attuned to the sensation and the duration of the light. I tried to experience it as the Earth rotating instead of the sun moving and considered finding new words for “sunrise” and “sunset” to match the actual phenomenon. I had a long and varied playlist on shuffle and let myself be surprised by the music. Different songs completely changed the experience and the mood.

Some songs offered a strange juxtaposition of commercialism and industrialisation against the natural surroundings. Other songs complemented the scenery and enhanced the natural sensations. It became obvious that our surroundings influence the creation of music, influence the art that we make. The intensity of the landscapes, the number of hours of daylight, the number of things that might kill you.

I liked hearing the birds chirping and the rustling of plants over the music. I considered how the sounds that surround us influence the music we make, as well as how available materials determine what instruments we make and the familiarity of these sounds and the music traditions influence our sense of belonging, our sense of identity and our feeling of home.

It became fascinating that so many people listen to the same music now and that these top hits are very strange to listen to out in nature.

1 Comment

  1. Tormod Wallem Anundsen

    Dear Evie & Maggi, Thank you for sharing your propositions and experiences & reflections! I find it interesting to see what happens when we focus more on one sensorial aspect – like sound or movement – to go beyond our everyday routines and ways of experiencing our interactions with our surroundings. It also helps us get beyond a predominant visual approach, I reckon.

    In my own experience of walking / moving with soundtracks, I find myself ambivalent as to whether this opens me up to or shuts me off from interacting & experiencing. Probably it is just different (and I enjoyed the Nina Simone take!).

    One question I am interested in, is how to document and process these experiences of movement, sound, presence, interaction etc. I often record a reflection on my walks (in spoken words), but that of course is quite verbal. Sometimes a video of the path walked, which becomes a bit frontal, not so interesting in itself. So the combination of storytelling techniques that you have started out on here is something worth elaborating on in itself, I find.

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