Feral cities – Paris, France
Join us in Paris, as this field recording takes us to the Trocadero metro station, where a group of Jewish musicians play a klezmer-style arrangement of the traditional song Shalom Aleichem, which is typically sung on Friday evenings upon returning home from synagogue prayers and means “peace be upon you”.
This performance represents one aspect of Jewish culture being played out across the city, and how in a healthy city there is space for multiple cultures, religions and beliefs to co-exist simultaneously.
Dinah Mullen reimagined this field recording into an evocative composition called “Feral cities”, which she explains below.
“The field recording I chose captures a moment of collective celebration, a group of musicians performing in a street. For me, it really captures something timeless, something we as humans have always done, express ourselves through music and voice, we perform and we are entertained.
“In the piece I wanted to expand this idea of a collective moment, to include all life within a city, not just human life. To provoke questions about how we perceive ourselves within our familiar environment and to interrupt the hierarchy of what it means to be a resident in a city, and to be part of nature, in that same place.
“In my solo practice I have been responding to the mental health crisis; catalysed by Covid-19 and an increasingly isolated and challenged society. I have been creating work that encourages audiences to engage with their natural environments in gentle, sensory ways. My work seeks to decentralise us as humans in response to climate emergency.
“In the work I combine processed samples of the original recording with original electronic composition, processed field recording of natural sounds, and spoken word. The text included presents images of natural environments within cities with a particular focus on how we experience this with our senses. It offers suggestions of actions we might undertake in that moment, locating us in the here and now.
“The text is asking the audience to consider how we can re-awaken and attune senses we have bypassed through evolution as a way of re-wilding ourselves? The Spacious, ambient composition combined with the offers contained within the text are aimed to invoke a moment of mindful calm, suggesting that exploring our senses and connecting with the natural element of our cities can have a positive effect on our wellbeing.
“There are moments where the original recording comes to the foreground, or combines and peaks with the natural sounds and composition, this represents a vision of humans existing within cities as part of nature rather than seeking to control and limit it.
“If we became a bit more feral, would this change our relationship to the natural world and our effect on it?”