Memories of ACA
Give it time and space.
Do not choose. Do not judge. Do not use logical thinking.
Use your body instead of your mind.
Be in your own world.
Those are rules I set for musicians I collaborated in my “environment improvisation” program in ACA (Atlantic Center for the Arts), last September. They could also be used to describe how we (32 musicians from 21 countries) set up our relationship through one-month communication mostly with music.
ACA, located in Orlando, the U.S., was in the hottest season. We spent out time among the woods, making (playing) music all day and night. All the 4 tracks presented here keep not only the sounds and the happenings during those days, but most importantly, record the shared memories which are also very intimate for each of us.
1- When the acorns fall
Every morning in ACA, I’d be woken up by squirrels, who would jump across my window on branches, shaking their tails nervously. One morning, acorns fell with raindrops on the big and thick leaves of those tropical plants, combined with squirrels’ jumping, creating an incredible soundscape. With an air route right above my room I guess, there were always airplanes crossing the sky around 7am. And I was never be able to figure out the directions in the woods of ACA.
2 – “So many mosquitoes~”
By Aditi Bhagwat and VAVABOND
Aditi Bhagwat’s home is in Mumbai, where she started dance since 8 years old. With bells tied on her ankles, she uses her feet performing Indian traditional percussion. We made an environment improvisation recording in the morning at a field near the laundry room, where there were lots of birds. She walked with feet naked on the ground, played games with birds… Sometimes you can even hear that she was scratching her feet because there were too many bugs biting, which was the most annoying thing during the residency. Aditi always complained with her Indian accent, saying “So many mosquitoes~!” There was a Polish guy who hadn’t been bitten at all when all of others were bitten with over 50 stings.
3 – Sunrising at the secret base
We found a boat-shaped cabin in the woods, which we made it “a secret base”. I organized an environment improvisation recording session with 7 other musicians at 6am in the morning, when the owl living besides the cabin was still sleeping. After the session, Kyungso Park, a gayageum player from Korea stayed there to practice with the morning clouds and birds. So we two made a recording together. Kyungso once told me that she feels that natural sounds are harmonic and they do care about each other, while “artificial” sounds are very selfish and rude. In our drafting experiment, she listened to the environment very well, but also inevitably slided into self-immersed moments (making sounds which she called “selfish”). It was not a very good recording according to my “standard about environment improvisation”, but it still touched me a lot without reasons.