It’s in My Nature
by Brane Zorman
As certain spaces and times have become over-saturated, due to urbanization and the population explosion, certain (animal) species have began withdrawing to underpopulated landscapes and unoccupied times – into the night. We understand these withdrawals as a search for solutions that could lead to a ‘better quality of life’, an existence that would be better than the one offered to us by over-saturated spaces-times.
Because of the culling, disease, shrinking of the natural habitat and living environment of the already decimated wolf packs, humans are counting wolf packs and its members, mapping their paths, statistically recording their minimal growth or decline. While researchers and volunteers try to count wolfs’ current population on the terrain on the one hand, demands by stock breeders, hunter organizations, illegal shootings by wild hunters, numerous traffic accidents after wolfs crossing roads at night-time are constantly reducing those numbers on the other hand. A cynical paradox, so present and embedded in human society, shows its real face here as well: first, we take their land and resources; then we limit their numbers according to remained territories; and at the very end, classifying them as endangered species, we launch calls to protect them.
With the above mentioned, Zorman approached his It’s in My Nature composition creating a sound work as a fluctuating collective echoing night scream against loneliness, despair, solitude, isolation and surrender.
by Irena Pivka (concept, video and illustrations)
Brane Zorman (conduction and composition),
Irena Pivka, Jasmina Založnik (text)
Sunčan Stone (photo and video sources)
A frightening and beautiful sound from a distant nocturnal landscape. When howling, wolves acoustically mark their environment and connect with their pack members. They holler on clear, calm nights, preferably during the period of twilight or at the onset of the night. Wolf howling forms and defines most relationships in the community as a means of communication. Collective instinct, joint action, and common decisions always prevail over the individual. The age of the Anthropocene is marked by dense urbanization, demand for higher productivity of work, and the proliferation of individualism.
The democratic need to listen to the opinions of groups, or to other voices, is gradually being reduced. What can we learn from wolves? About connecting, participating and the responses of an individual to the community? Or about mutual respect between different packs and their territories? Could we consider wolf howling as a good example of possible sustainable relationships between citizens as well as other beings in our biosphere?
Interview with Irena Pivka and Brane Zorman (CONA Institute)
By Olga Yegorova, on 20/11/17
Olga: You have been selected to take part in R! with a particular work, but what characterizes your art more in general?
CONA: In our common work, we produce a sound art radio platform that is called radioCona. In the last few years, we focussed specifically on sound, sound walk performances, acoustic ecology and bio-music. Our common artworks are always focussed on sound-work and listening experiences that address the understanding of space and time, nature and urbanity combining knowledge from different fields.
Olga: R! covers a variety of themes and concepts, where all projects relate to notions such as participation, democracy, community media and/or power, always in very diverse ways. From your point of view, which of these concepts play a role in your project?
CONA: In this project, we turn our gaze from the Anthropocene to nature so that notions such as democracy, participation or power can play a role as a result of the observation of wolfs.
We reflect on how they are living in a pack together and communicate within the packs and between different packs. Wolf packs manage to communicate through sound in wide territories. By howling, they connect to each other and mark their location in relation to other packs. Thereby, they are protective of their own territory through howling so that other packs do not interfere in their territory. But they, in turn, also do not interfere in others’ territories. They do not want to fight about territories. Instead, listening to one another helps them to prevent conflict.
Olga: You already touched upon the importance of listening between wolfs and their packs. How could that be translated in relation to human societies or democratic systems?
CONA: Listening is one of the most important senses, which humans have. However, if we compare wolfs’ behaviour with most of our human behaviour nowadays, we notice that we are not listening to one another. There is often no mutual respect. We are not able to do what wolfs may achieve through their simple tools, just telling each other: “We are here. We respect your position and you should respect ours.” Conflicts evolve because neither nations nor citizens listen to each other in the political, cultural, religious or social realms.
Instead of listening to each other, many countries impose their own beliefs per se on their folk and other countries. They have the power position to rule the world and engagements do not take place with each other but always against each other. It happens through blaming behaviour that is inflaming the situation with stupid, childish and dangerous statements, that are, in turn, becoming a norm in the public sphere. This is problematic as we can see for instance in the case of North Korea and the United States at the moment.
Listening becomes even more problematic because we are bombarded with so much (digital) information on a daily basis. The visual aspect of understanding seems to dominate and to increase even more. We are confronted with always more photos and videos shared on social media platforms.
Olga: You talked about wolfs’ interactions in packs. What role does the relationship between the individual and the group play in your project?
CONA: We are normally too stuck into being individuals. In this performance, we form a group of various people to put this ego-part within us at a secondary position. That is why it is also important that people who pass by can join us, so that this is not an exclusive event. Other people can join the performance anytime, as it is open and very clear. It easy to join also because it is obvious what was going on.
This is important because it blurs the line between the artists and the public. The artists are the ones who initiate, but then it is up to the others to join and share the idea. We are trying to encourage the active role of the individual and how he/she interacts with the society.
Olga: Why is it important to you that the wolFMoon howling performance takes place in the urban space?
CONA: We consciously chose to make the wolFMoon howlings in public spaces where citizens may hear them so that we create a connection with nature within an urban setting. This is important because we are usually departing from intellectual urban systems and ways of thinking.
With our performance, we are also reminded of the fact that we are part of something bigger. When you are on an airplane, you see everything from above as clean and organized. We want to bring awareness of the wider picture on our planet into this really specialized micro-space of cities.
Olga: Your project points to a crisis, or a conflict, between humans and nature. How do you address this crisis (and possibly, suggest a solution to it)?
CONA: At the core of our performance is communication, understanding, accepting other positions without denying them, especially if you are holding a stronger power position than someone else. We urge for the reflection about how the Anthropocene treats nature and more powerless beings through annexing their space into an urban logic. We are already master of the whole planet. Our mind is not just driven by intuition and instinct, but we can be aware of it in contrast to many animals. This also increases our responsibility to use our power towards nature wisely. We are accountable to make sure that other species’ existence is secured, or at least not threatened by us.
Unless we do this, we are going to destroy everything. However, it is not enough to wake up after we have already destroyed most of it. People and international co-operations took away so much land from all of the species that are nowadays endangered. Then, at some point, institutions are shocked that some species are at the risk of becoming extinct. We then mark them as endangered species and create zoos or national parks to protect them. This is a paradox. Thinking about the consequences of our behaviour has to start earlier and not just be recognized when it is too late. When we will not have any air to breath, we will not be in the position of questioning our actions anymore and initiate change.
- Display at the Participation Matters exhibition
- Performance on 9.12.2017 during the R! Festival
Work at Respublika!
WolFMoon howling: Irena Pivka / Brane Zorman
Instructions for WolFMoon by Irena Pivka, Brane Zorman and The Cypriot Howling Team
WolFMoon howling (with participation of local artists and audience): Irena Pivka / Brane Zorman / Cyprus Howling Team, conducted by Hayal Gezer