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Soundphiles by women artists explore issues through audio

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A wide gamut of issues ranging from sex education to female body builders have been turned into a series of audio projects and installations by women artists and filmmakers to emphasise the art of listening.

The series 'Soundphiles - As quiet as possible as loud as you can' were part of the recently held 12th IAWRT Asian Women Film Festival 2016 here.

The IAWRT is one of the few festivals in the country where works related to sound and radio is exhibited annually.

Aruna Rao's 'Sonderfroosh' is a short narrative of when sounds come together to form words examines 'How was language formed? How did meaning become? Where were the sounds and how did they come together?

"I have always felt a strong sense of the ability to communicate, yet the inability to do so, has always intrigued me. Sonderfroosh has sound, vibrations and a lot of gibberish. I want to convey how a lot of sound is infact abstract. Even those that take up meaning are pursued differently by different people," Rao says.

The 27-year-old, who currently works at Google Culture Institute, says that her work can be "an expression, outburst or experimental".

"I think the beauty of sound is it can not be classified into one. It is limitless."


A radio documentary "Birds Do It. Bees Do It" by Sana Amir and Farhan Aqueel Zaidiwas talks about taboo subjects like sex education through the "secretive" medium of radio.

"When it comes to radio, the subject matters a lot. We chose to talk about a sensitive topic like sex education through this medium. People were more forthcoming with their replies and shed their inhibitions because they were being heard, not seen," says Sana.

The documentary that crowd-sourced its replies from men and women from different places, also took a dig at political leaders who often scoff at the prospect of teaching sex education in schools.

"Topics like sex education, condoms, periods, AIDS still

draw flak from the so-called righteous members of our society. Birds Do It. Bees Do It breaks barriers surrounding these issues," says Farhan.

"Its important for society to provide a platform for such issues as they need to be discussed and not brushed under the carpet. If the channel is blocked, people will only get little knowledge and not the right one," says Farhan.

Bengaluru-based artist Zulfiya Hamzaki's 'Body Talk' is a conversation with women body builders, as they share what it means to tread the thin line between having a masculine and feminine body in the sport of muscularity.

Also in "In a Sea of Other Voices", Gurgaon based artists Namrata Mehta and Prerna Bishnoi has created a soundphile where tongues touch the top of the palette to create sounds, that become words, that become sentences, recorded and repeated - to listen to, rely upon, act in accordance to and embody over time.

Iram Gufran, one of the curators of Soundphiles, says that the current edition of the festival dealt with amateurs as the organisers were clear on getting "raw" sound.

"We were aiming at a certain rawness of sound. We did not want the sound polished in a studio. We got a host of entries that were raw yet interesting," she says.

First Published: Tue, March 08 2016. 12:32 IST
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