Composition for Temple Speakers
with Prerna Bishnoi and Banana Aparatus
CD-based performance, 2014
interactive essay, ongoing
Kere Munishwara Sai Baba temple is on Rhenius Street, opposite Richmond Park. Richmond Park is at the corner of Rhenius Street, opposite Kere Munishwara Sai Baba temple. Overlooking the park and the temple, is Bailey Apartments, where Prerna Bishnoi and I shared a studio and listened to this geography.
Composition for Temple Speakers is an exercise in thinking about sound and territory. As Bangalore’s acoustic space becomes more and more populated, the relationship between loudness and visibility gets stronger and stronger. But sound is unbound and always moves away from its source. It leaks and evades regulation in more ways than one. What this means for densely populated neighbourhoods is that there is a sense of being in everyone’s world all at once, with some sources being “more present” than others. Composition for... playfully attempts to highlight this experience. Working with the musicians, Banana Aparatus, we developed a piece to be transmitted from the temple sound system that emphasized, distorted and collapsed sonic territories in the area. Blessed by the Temple Board and masked as a “scratched CD”, shrieks of birds, horns of traffic, rumbles of generators and hisses of pressure cookers all became part of a “devotional song” that played for 15 minutes.
Recordings of this performance now form a sound bed for an interactive web-based essay, Listening to a Composition for Temple Speakers, whose structure is determined by what is heard. The essay comprises notes based on interviews and observations about sound, territory and listening in the neighbourhood. These notes are being added periodically in the form of video annotations.