Francisco López: Sonic Mmabolela


One of seven great events in 2013. South Africa. Conceived and directed by Francisco López, managed by James Webb, Sonic Mmabolela was a two-week residency for environmental sound artists and composers at Mmabolela Reserve. Mmabolela is a private nature reserve located in the Limpopo Valley Bushveld, northern Limpopo province, South Africa, at the border with Botswana, approximately 7—8 hours drive from Johannesburg.

The workshop/residency involves field work, studio work and theoretical/discussion presentations, with a special focus on creative approaches to the work with field recordings through an extensive exploration of natural sound environments. It does not have a technical character but is instead conceived and directed towards the development and realization of projects of sonic creation by the participant artists/composers with the field recordings gathered.

Sonic Mmabolela draws from previous experience of a similar workshop/residency, also conceived and directed by Francisco López, in the Brazilian Amazon. The Mamori Sound Project, which took place annually from 2005—2011 and which has been attended by 70 artists who have produced to date dozens of releases, sound installations, exhibitions, films, publications and public presentations worldwide, based on the sound materials and experience gathered during that workshop/residency.

The activities of the workshop/residency include: introductory theoretical/discussion presentation sessions on field recordings and sound creation, with a historical/philosophical/critical perspective; field trips (both diurnal and nocturnal) for extensive listening and recording of sound environments; sessions of studio work (with laptop) using these materials; artists’ presentation/discussion sessions on sound creative work/field recordings; development and realization of a sound piece by each participant with the original sound materials gathered in the field work; and presentation of the finished pieces by the participant artists.

Although the dates have not yet been set for 2014, the workshop/residency will likely be two weeks in November/December. The capacity of the workshop/residency is limited to a small group: currently a maximum of 12 participant artists/composers.

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