SANCTUARY exhibition Artist Statement:
As a filmmaker, I am geared towards working strictly with moving images. During this sound residency I wanted to strip myself of my usual visual leanings, and immerse myself with sound and examine my relationship to music of the African Diaspora, with a focus on my family's relationship to music from 1930 to present day. I created a series of binaural sound recordings using small mics located within my ears, in order to achieve an immersive surround sound. The goal was to explore my body's response to specific sounds or musical compositions, or autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), described as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the body or “the chills”. Being that the Sanctuary is First Church of Christ Scientist, my intent was to approach my relationship to sound as a scientist.
Binaural recordings were my entry point into the science of how one listens. The binaural mics also allowed me to monitor my recording as I recorded various music genres within the Sanctuary, creating a meta experience of hearing . I also recorded Philadelphia-based members of the Black American community to sing songs from the genres of Negro Spirituals, Gospel, R&B, Soul, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Orisha music, encouraging them to produce the "beat" of the music by utilizing only their bodies and/or the fixtures within the Sanctuary itself. I'm interested in exploring how sound plays a part in how memory is constructed and recalled within the body. I also recorded, replayed, and edited the "sweet spots" of songs that personally give me “the chills" in each genre above to play within the final installation.
I have installed the final recordings and sound experiments from the residency on a set of pews located within the Sanctuary. MOVEMENT I – Sweet Spots is a long form edit of 1,000 songs that I have edited to highlight what i like to refer to as the "sweet spots" of song that give me the chills. MOVEMENT II – Binaural Beats (Mother + Father) is my attempt at creating a binaural beat by taking the songs that I can recall via memory that my father and mother listened to during my childhood before I was able to choose the music that I wanted to listen to. I wanted to approach the idea of my physical self as my parents "binaural beat". I chose songs and experimented with the frequency of the tones to induce a certain feeling within my own body in reference to both of my parents and their narratives. MOVEMENT III-Sanctuary Performances features performances by four Philadelphia-based Black women who I personally recorded using my binaural in-ear mics within the Sanctuary. I feel that these women are a representation of how music of the African Diaspora has manifested within the birthplace of America. My intent is that visitors listen to these recorded performances and experience the feeling of being present in the space of where the sounds were recorded.