Here, I collaborate with a Mongolian throat singer living in the US, inviting him to step into public space to harmonize with the city sounds that he encounters; air conditioners, water pumps, electricity generators and all other buzzes and hums that we find in the urban environment, which now becomes his substitute landscape of yurts, yaks and grasslands in which he grew up.
Where overtone singing traditionally is used to lull babies to sleep, lure wild and semi-domesticated animals and help gain the favor of the spirit of the place, applying the harmonization within the built environment becomes an attempt to discuss the liminal space between being part of a system and not being part of this set of codes.
This idea discusses the process of assimilation, where the rules, culture and history of an individual are recomposed in a new living environment. Through this re-composing performance existing sounds in the city are appropriated and enriched with traditional ways of mapping the space, spiritually connecting to it and functionally using it as a sound-board. It is as much about blending-in as it is about conserving one's cultural heritage.
The resulting performance constitutes the Urban Songline that effectively describes the migratory path of the throat singer as a 'Displaced Harmony'. It is the space between the cultures, between the countries that is described in this act. This space is universal and is relevant to all peoples migrating into new territories, voluntarily or forcibly dis-located.
This work is executed by Allard van Hoorn in collaboration with Tamir Hargana, a Mongolian throat singer living in the United States.
Part of the project Urban Songlines, a utopian/dystopian series of collaborative translations of buildings, urban structures and public spaces into music through site-specific sound-generation. These performances are a way of connecting to places by listening to them as well as a research into how we use and experience the public domain and to what degree we can claim ownership over it, discussing notions of inclusion, becoming and belonging.