On Drawing a Fascinating and Relevant Soundscape of Cultural Values and References
The earliest art memory that I can recall was a trip to a Dalí Museum in the small town of Figueres in Spain, near Barcelona, with my parents. I remember being blown away by how magical and crazy it all looked—I must have been about 8 years old. The museum was designed by Dalí after the mayor of Figueres contacted him to get one of his work—the artist decided to make the museum as an artwork. I also remember visual experiences, watching surrealist films via the Franco-German TV channel Arte such as Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou (1929) or Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren (1943).
The best way to know an artist is by doing a studio visit! Conversing with them about what they might be reading and watching is one of the best approach to learn about their interests and get to know them. I have been running The Stars Below, a regular radio show on Noods Radio, a Bristol-based independently run radio. On it I have been interviewing artists for the past 2 years with a specific set of questions. The last three are very telling about someone’s personality: their star signs, if they had one superpower what would it be and what they are currently reading.
If I ever need to reboot my mind I usually go for an extremely long cycling session or swim. Also going back to where I grew up, in the middle of the country side. It is a blissful—and I am conscious, privileged—way to meditate and reflect on the current state of the world. I also listen to these albums: Nala Sinephro’s 1.8; Patricia Wolf’s I’ll look for you in others; and Tanka & Meiti’s Hydration.
My tips to multitasking efficiently on different projects are (1) Keeping deadlines and priority lists. I keep lists everywhere, on my phone, my computer, and on notebooks; (2) Making time. The main aspect of my practice is to make time to produce sound, soundscapes, and trailers. For instance for music project with the music production house Alpha or with MANAEDS. It means that I need to have a specific time for concentration for each of those; (3) Collaborations: I am also working with a Czech republic festival called PAF Olomouc, which is a yearly event where I have been taking part in and developing different projects including a set of screenings.
The best advice I every received was to keep on doing what you love even if it means working on it on your after-hours and weekends. Keep on believing in it, anything is possible as long as you make it happen, manifest it!
The worst advice has to be to say yes to everything, without thinking or being selective.
My ideal holiday has to include my sound-card, mic and computer, as well as five books!
My favourite piece of tech is my phone! I know that’s quite commun and boring but that’s the most useful device for me. When I travel, I always take my music with me that’s why my phone is essential.
The perfect future invention would be a device to communicate through telepathy. Or a time machine, that comes near second.
The book that still haunts me is Parable of The Sowers by Octavia Butler because the story starts off by being incredibly dystopian but it then shows that a way out is possible if you have the right community around you.
Essentials. Other types of arts such as music, dance, films are all important for me because the enter the realm of art and culture, i.e. going to concerts, shows, events, watching movies are an essential part of my life where work and pleasure blend into one. It could be a concert by John Glacier, which was a great visual experience; reading poetry by James Massiah; or seeing the conceptual choreography show imagining what would happen if Tupac was depressed, He’s Dead, by Mariscicrycrycry; and also The Dan Daw Show, which was an amazing production featuring kink and BDSM for a disabled gay man.
Caring about communication and accessibility. Curating and producing is all about communication and collaborating, discussing our options, the details of a project, ways of solving potential problems. All these needing to happen with care and respect to the artists, the works, and the audience. One point to be conscious of too is accessibility for instance in terms of captioning or information about images.
If I could meet any person, dead or alive, it would be artist Ana Mendieta or sci-fi writer N K Jemisin, to talk about alternative worlds and/or discuss other societal possibilities.
If I weren’t curating I would probably have a farm in the middle of nowhere.
Anne Duffau is a cultural producer, researcher, and founder of A—Z, an exploratory/nomadic curatorial platform. A—Z aims at opening up to audiences by sharing discursive practices in order to challenge preconceived ideas on race, gender identities and the so-called history in terms of power relationship. Anne was the interim curator at Wysing for the Polyphonic Festival 2020/2021 Editions – she is a Tutor at the Royal College of Art in Contemporary Art Practice. She is part of the collective Transmissions.tv and Décalé. She produces live music under Alpha through several projects and collaborations (Décalé, MAENADS, Polisonics). Forthcoming in December 2022, Duffau is curating a series of screening at PAF Olomouc (Czech Rep.) and she is programming Gallery 31 at Somerset Studios for a show running until March, 2023.