15. Oktobar 2014. Bivši Bar. ImprovE 2.22. Fight night. ROUND 1: Gastarbeiter vs Stang. ROUND 2: Lobotune vs Filtercutter. ROUND 3: Emily joins us on accordion. VERDICT: We all shake hands and part as friends. We got your recording of Round 1 right here. Post-production: Igor Čubrilović.
And so it came to pass that Aeon and Nature both published one of my pieces on the same day.
The Humanitarian Future was difficult. The original article was trying to be three things: a potted history of the modern humanitarian sector, an outline of what needs to change for ‘humanitarianism’ to survive in the now-times, and a brief personal account of my work. My editor Brigid Hains took one look at that and realised it wasn’t going to work. The final version doesn’t capture everything that I wanted to say, but, contrary to what the internet wants you to believe, it doesn’t have to. This is a small part of a wider discussion, across many platforms and in many fora. Go read.
The tiger waiting on the shore, by contrast, was easy. I had been enjoying the Nature Futures podcast for a few months, and wondered if they had an open submissions policy. They did, so I wrote the story in less than a day, and sent it off with no expectations. Editor Colin Sullivan accepted it immediately, and it’s printed more or less as I originally wrote it. Writers’ lesson for the day: you never know where you might find a platform for your work. The story is a science fiction / horror / family drama – a bit more obscure than most of the stories that Nature publishes, and it fills me with a feeling I can’t quite describe.
The team had so much interesting material this year, they decided to release two Soundwalks. Broadly speaking, the artists on “Sounds of” focused on the field recordings themselves, twisting and turning the cityscape; meanwhile the artists on “Sounds for” used thosee recordings as inspirations for a range of compositions.
If I had to pick some favourites, I’d go for Andagainandagain’s Walking to Geozavod building, and Igor Miskovic’s Dockyard Echoes on Sounds of; and Zartzinfekt’s Route 2, and Jasna Jovićević’s Route 5 on Sounds for. (Jay Zr’s Bridge Over Tromboned Water wins best title, obviously.) But I change my opinion on a daily basis, so my opinion is worth nothing.
Both sets are fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because my track Sedmina was included on “Sounds of” under my pointless pseudonym of The Black Mountain Installation. The ideal way to experience these is to listen while walking along the actual routes recorded, since each track is the same duration as the walk it was inspired by. IT’S MAGIC.
I composed a track for this year’s Zvučne šetnje Savamalom (Savamala Soundwalk, if you don’t speak Serbian), made out of sounds sampled from a walk along Karađorđeva (with some additional samples from Freesound). “Sedmina” means “Seventh”, but it also means something else.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a writer is to sit around waiting for other people to recognize your genius. There are two reasons for this: first, you’re not a genius; and second, people are idiots. (You may notice that these two are basically the same point.)
My resolution this year was to write, but also to perform. I’ve always envied visual artists who can take over a space and force themselves into the public consciousness; on the other hand, visual art can easily become wallpaper in a way that performance usually doesn’t.
Originally I wanted Pete Chaffey to play the role of the drone pilot, and ŽeljkoMaksimović to play the psychopathic doctor. Unfortunately Pete was playing golf in South Africa working, so I was forced to don the white coat – my first time on stage in 20 years.
Feedback from the audience was great, although obviously nobody rushes up to tell you how much you sucked. We recorded some video, but… let’s just say, it’s not the best video ever. You can download the story script of No Place To Run No Place To in PDF.
Earlier this year I gave a talk called “A Resilient Serbia?” at the 2014 Mikser Festival. The concept of “resilience” hasn’t really entered the culture in Serbia, so this was intended to be an introduction to resilience in the context of national recovery after the massive floods that struck the region in May.
So the talk – to a packed room, cough cough – was a quick tour through the post-flood situation in Serbia, the basic idea of resilience, and how we might use that idea in approaching the recovery and reconstruction of flood-affected communities. The response was generally positive, but (surprise!) government plans are unlikely to pick up on these ideas.
Unfortunately Mikser didn’t record any of the festival talks, which was a shame – there were some really interesting speakers. You can download a PDF file of my presentation and speaking notes from this link: A Resilient Serbia?
The White Review is a fantastic magazine that supports experimental writing, and Chiral is a stream-of-consciousness story. It’s only three paragraphs long, but each paragraph is one sentence, and each sentence is 1500 words.