Installations, variable dimension, variable disposition,
10 channel sound composition, sound sculptures
-1x quadrophonic set up plus 1 sub woofer
-3 clusters of sound sculptures composed of : repurposed copper receptacles, red jerrycans , tap tea pots, pumps controlled by interfaces locally or by computer program, custom microphones, electronic interfaces, vinyl tubes and stoppers, , calabashes, polymerised cotton thread figures, hemp roots, plant fibres, moss/lichen filled tree branches (found) ,
-glowing set of animated modelled eyeballs in and around broken coconut shells,
-mycelium beds with embedded broken coconut shells, electric cables, text, hand written glyphs/ sound baffles,
-1x quadrophonic set up plus 1 sub woofer
-midi controlled LED animated ideoglyphs
‘mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3’ for Position #5, constitutes new fragments and recent excerpts within ‘sǒ bàtú reflections’ (2016-ongoing); a series of installations, live sonic sketches, processions, kinetic and sound sculptures, through which Eyongakpa explores ideas around portals, crossings, ancient self-preservation practices and water, in relation to resistance movements from the oil and natural gas-rich region of the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
”Mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ” is one of the smallercaves known to some Eyoŋowa1 villages as a refuge in times of conflict. Folk stories have it that there exist other worlds inside some of the larger caves, said to play host
to vulnerable communities.‘barɨŋ’ translates as ‘veins’ in Kɛnyaŋ2, ‘báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ as ‘clock birds’, ‘barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ would literally translate as ‘veins of clock birds’. ‘sǒ’ translates as to bathe, to cleanse, while ‘sǒ bàtú’ would be ‘to bathe one’s ears’, to or ‘ear bath’. For ‘mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3’, Eyongakpa mimics a temporal refuge, an alternating hourly experience, wherein fragmentary narratives are forged via the medium of sound, light, sculpture,ancient ideoglyphs, and bio degraded text.
Drawing from real events, folklore, and clock/time signatures recurrent in Manyu and the larger Congo basin,
while looking at the displacements following the ongoing Conflict in former Southern Cameroons, narratives
are interwoven and amplified through the corridors of the central, larger gallery. The environment is conceived as a cave-like setting or an underground forest refuge,
staying within Nsibidi3 aesthetics of double significance, in addition to the animated ideoglyphs. You will find
house hold materials, red jerrycans to popular old Dutch tap tea pots ‘kraantjes pot’ / ‘kraantjes kan’ and
calabashes re-purposed into instruments, generating rhythms andbeats, 6 weeks buried mycelium
landscapes, ‘sound baffles’ with embedded text, wires and broken coconut shells evoking burial sites
common to the cross river people or burial assemblages in the Upemba depression. These airy sculptures are placed in a setting that evoke a sense of emergency. Tables and furniture made of moss and lichen filled tree branches are present, with webs of sǒ bàtú’scotton thread structures and calabash receptacles. These are interspersed with mycelium beds with degraded texts/ideoglyphs,coconut shells, glowing eyeball-like structures in a dimly lit room.
The sonic backdrop is composed from recordings made in Eyongowa forests, streams, lakes, rivers and
oceans in Southern Cameroons, vents and pipes from the artist’s studio, North Holland, Bondoukou
in North-East Cote d’Ivoire and the Mediterranean. These are woven with poetic recitals and found sounds
from elsewhere and the ongoing conflict in Southern Cameroons, stories on self-preservations, alternative
self-defence pointers. The 59’59” multichannel composition interacts with the water and oil fuelled sound sculptures, rhythm generators from barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk.
The smaller gallery hosts most of the vocal references, as well as a light score or a digital LED ideoglyphic
transcription. We invite you to spend time here -listening to and experiencing theses spaces.
1/ Eyoŋowa is a clan within Manyu indigenous nation states.
2/ Kɛnyaŋ is a language spoken in the Cross River basin of Manyu.
3 / Nsibidi (Nsibiri) the system of
recording, hiding, conveying knowledge used by various men and women
associations in the larger cross river region (present day Manyu in the
Cameroons and Cross River state in Nigeria)
inter-sessions within “Mɔ́ ntai bɛrrɛ” installation at CCA Lagos Library.
kɛrakaraka literally translates as “sixth fingers” in Kɛnyaŋ . Recent water-based polyrhythmic sound sculptures from “barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk”, consisting six veins/tentacles each. For every sculpture, the 6th vein is set/locked around clock/time signatures mimicking idiophones employed in various rhyhmic variations from erstwhile Southern Cameroons and the larger Congo basin. The unlocked channels are set to distort water drops/flow on prepared membranophones and idiophones . The generated sounds are transformed by granular synthesis , accentuating on deep tones (recurrent with the cross river membranophones), as well as shaken and plucked ideophones. The set up is controlled by a custom live interface “e-MungoWest #7 ”; controlling flows in the water fuelled sound sculptures, dependent predominantly on atmospheric pressure.
For kɛrakaraka #3-i / mɔ́ ntai bɛrrɛ, three of the six-veined analog polyrhythm generators from barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk. interact with fragments from “Mɔ́ ntai bɛrrɛ” multichannel sound installation in the course of inter-sessions (sonic lectures/ interventions/live sets ) at CCA lagos over a period of 2 days.
Continues 2 October – 7 December 2019
Installations, variable dimension, variable disposition, variable sound conbination
(7 channel sound composition that interacts with 4 sound sculptures)
-1x quadrophonic set up plus 3 sub woofers,
-2X clusters of 02 sound sculptures composed of; repurposed copper receptacles, calabashes,
prepared membranophones , electronic interfaces, pumps controlled by interfaces locally or by computer program, custom microphones, vinyl tubes and stoppers, polymerised cotton thread figures, hemp roots, plant fibres, moss/lichen filled tree branches/ tree backs, river sand,
-mycelium landscapes with embedded broken coconut shells, electric cables, text, glyphs/ sound baffles,
-midi controlled LED animated ideoglyphs
The Showroom presents Tahjwèsè #3i / barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #4, an immersive sculptural environment and the first solo commission in the UK by artist Em’kal Eyongakpa. The installation forms part of sǒ bàtú reflections (2016-), an ongoing body of work including installations, live sonic sketches, processions, kinetic and sound sculptures through which Eyongakpa explores ideas around portals, crossings, ancient community preservation practices and water in relation to resistance movements from the oil and natural gas-rich region of the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
Tahjwèsè #3i/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #4 constitutes interacting fragments developed both onsite at The Showroom and at Eyongakpa’s studios throughout summer 2019. The title is written in Kɛnyaŋ, a language widely spoken in the Cross River basin in Cameroon. ‘Tahjwèsè’ in Eshobi, Southwest Cameroons, is located approximately seven kilometres from the confluence of the river Manyu, and is believed to be the site of a portal from where ‘barem’ (ancestral spirits) emerge periodically to chant, luring people into long, unconscious states. ‘barɨŋ’ translates as veins, and ‘báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ as clock birds, so ‘barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ literally means veins of clock birds. ‘sǒ’ translates as to bathe or to cleanse and ‘sǒ bàtú’ is to bathe one’s ears, or ear bath. These subtitles consequently have multiple readings that draw from indigenous aesthetics recurrent in the Manyu region and clock/time signatures from rhythmic structures, which inform Eyongakpa’s new water-based sound sculptures, or rhythm generators, for sǒ bàtú reflections.
Tahjèsè #3i/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #4 includes a multi-channel sound composition produced from a combination of field recordings made in and around Tahjwèsè and from various bodies of water – streams, rivers, lakes and oceans – in the former Southern Cameroons and the Mediterranean; as well as recordings from water pipes and wind channelled through air vents in Eyongakpa’s workspaces. At The Showroom the composition interacts and alternates with sounds generated by water-based polyrhythmic sound sculptures, and found sound excerpts from the ongoing conflict in former Southern Cameroons.
This immersive, sonic environment is set in an electronic organic installation in which bio-polymerised fungal mycelium-scapes are embedded with texts, plant fibres, electric wires and coconut shells. Structures of hardened cotton and plant fibre are interwoven with polyrhythmic sound sculptures, whilst the resulting sounds are transcribed visually by custom-made, touch-triggered and midi-controlled sound/light interfaces, which have been developed by Eyongakpa with collaborators.
For the past three years, Eyongakpa’s sǒ bàtú has developed across a range of sites internationally, and with shifting constellations of collaborators. A few of the forms that the ideas around sǒ bàtú have taken include an installation in a cluster of historic prison cells under the colonial-era Batavia House in Fatahillah square, Central Jakarta, and a cycling procession in which live, analogue, water- and oil-based kinetic sound sculptures were carried on Dutch bakfiet bicycles from Ken Saro-Wiwa Street to Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam. Since 2017, sonic dialogues and conversations with sound artists, poets and musicians: mbì-ɛshobì inter-sessions at Bɔ́ Bɛtɔk / Bijlmer station in Amsterdam, and Arhgbrou 4.3 which premiered in Amsterdam and Lagos. Workshops continue to be developed by Eyongakpa with displaced communities focused on building analogue rhythmic systems.
Curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Lily Hall.
Installation view, Tahjwèsè #3i/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk at The Showroom
courtesy the artist, Bɔ́ Bɛtɔk, The Showroom.
Photographs © Eyongakpa