“Nothing here does not hear you” is a site specific, sound installation created from research made into the space formerly known as the 1820 Settler’s Monument in Makhanda. The process began when a group of individuals were invited to take a walk through the building and its environs to talk about the situation. The guests included historians, cultural workers, political activists, and sangomas, as well as members of the building’s maintenance and technical staff.
All the interviewees spoke in different ways of blockages, barriers, clots, stuck places, and obstacles. The building, and the land in particular, was spoken of as an energy that needs to be listened and attended to: the Monument has to be rethought, opened up, and become many monuments.
The recorded interviews were shared with a writer who developed a series of texts that could, when spoken, work as blessings. These ideas form a manifesto of spiritual intent: an opening of channels, a putting to rest the uneasiness, a calling for creativity and wisdom, and a token of gratitude for lessons learnt and lessons to come. The text is vocalised in soft voices, reminiscent of lullabies, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), and mantra, and in whispers, referencing stage cues as well as the focused transmission of special knowledge. When broadcast in the space these voices might be thought of as working towards a subtle, sonic reorientation of the building.
The blessings are punctuated by 5 sets of sonic indexes summoning various metaphorical blockages so that they may be named and dispensed with.
The artwork is installed in the Bridge, an architectural folly in the building that offers a breathtaking perspective of Makhanda and the surrounding areas. The audio component is diffused through transducers attached to the windows of the room, turning the glass into speakers, and allowing for the sound to be linked with the view of the land.
This installation is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Maart who worked in the building and contributed to the project in a site reading.
The work is live streamed below from “The Bridge” in the Monument Building looking out to the East over the city of Makhanda.