Foto: Belly full of blind highways

Dear - Belly full of blind highways

Samen met kunstenaarsinitiatief Dear, hebben we Belly full of blind highways ontwikkeld: een serie van vier kunstenaarsbrieven op tape. 

Als voorloper van de digitale voice note of voice memo nemen audiobrieven, meestal opgenomen op cassetteband, een belangrijke plaats in binnen het veld van de mondelinge geschiedenis. Als een medium dat verbonden is met en geïnformeerd wordt door migratie, geletterdheid en intimiteit, boden audiobrieven decennialang een manier om in contact te blijven met geliefden en om levensgebeurtenissen, privéberichten en getuigenissen over te brengen en te documenteren.

Belly full of blind highways brengt vier audiobrieven samen van kunstenaars en schrijvers Laura Grace Ford, Palestinian Sound Archive (Mo'min Swaitat), Wendy Morris en Raoni Muzho Saleh. De brieven reflecteren, telkens op hun eigen manier, op space and belonging, door middel van stemwerk, geluid, ruis, gevonden beeldmateriaal en muziek. Alle tapes bevatten een brief van vijf tot zes minuten en zijn verpakt in een cover en riso gedrukte J-card met een afbeelding gekozen door de kunstenaar en informatie over de brief. Het ontwerp voor de serie is van Ivan Martinez en al het drukwerk is verzorgd door Risiko Press.

We brengen één tape per week uit, waarvoor je je kunt aanmelden via Bandcamp. De tapes worden doorlopend verstuurd, dus afhankelijk van het aantal tapes waarvoor je je opgeeft, ontvang jij (of degene aan wie je de tape doorstuurt) 1 tot 4 tapes in de loop van vier weken. De tapes worden wereldwijd verstuurd vanuit België.

Ga naar de Bandcamp pagina

Tape 1 - Laura Grace Ford

The past four decades have been underscored by a neoliberal drive towards self-interest, competition and entrepreneurialism; the letter by Laura Grace Ford is a process of summoning absent social formations by listening to a range of voices, to the stories that persist despite systematic efforts to erase them. 

Through internal monologue, part stream of consciousness and part auditory hallucination the letter seeks to reconnect with an old friend. And it is in this way that it operates at the edge of subjectivity, in the porous, liminal reaches of dreaming and fiction.

To receive the tape letter by Laura Grace Ford at home, or send it to someone else, follow the link below to our bandcamp where you can sign up! Tapes are shipped worldwide. 

”In a basement where a sound system's playing heavy distorted dub, 

you handed me a flyer.

You wrote an address on the back of it 'Remembrance Road, CV3'”

Check the first tape

Tape 2 - Palestinian Sound Archive

Originally recorded in Palestine, the second letter of Belly full of blind highways is a reissued excerpt of a field recording made at a Bedouin event in a Palestinian village in the 1970s. Introduced by Mo’min Swaitat, the tape forms a powerful and urgent but delicate correspondence from the past to the future.

The tape was found by Mo’min Swaitat in 2020 amongst many other tapes, in Jenin, Palestine, in 2020 during the COVID lockdown, at Tariq Cassettes, a local shop he frequented while growing up. Unearthing the tapes from underneath a layer of dust together with Tariq, Swaitat discovered an invaluable collection of recordings that form a vital part of Palestinian and broader Arab cultural history and heritage, of which many were considered lost since the Nakba. The collection of tapes found at Tariq’s were salvaged by Swaitat and formed the start of the Palestinian Sound Archive: an archive, label and radio program that preserves the work and memory of the many artists who formed the backbone of Palestinian cultural identity.

The specific excerpt reissued for Belly full of blind highways comes from a recording of a Bedouin event, where Swaitat’s uncle Atef Switat, a famous wedding musician, plays the Yarghul (a handmade bamboo flute). 

To receive the tape letter by Palestinian Sound Archive (Mo’min Swaitat) at home, or send it to someone else, follow the link below to our bandcamp where you can sign up! Tapes are shipped worldwide. 

Listen to the second tape 

Tape 3 - Wendy Morris

Composed in December 2022, the tape letter by Wendy Morris is written from the perspective of a Wandering Womb and addressed to the wild wort Savin. In response to recent developments in which we saw Roe v Wade overturned, and a near total abortion ban put in place in Poland, the letter is a call to resume a relationship with a plant which once provided us with a means to control fertility. Savin was the abortifacient of choice amongst (European) women. The transmission of that knowledge has since been eroded and the tape letter wishes to sing it back into circulation.

For the soundscape of her letter Wendy Morris collaborated with Mariske Broekmeyer, for the images featured on the J-card she worked together with Tim Theo Deceunick.

To receive the tape letter by Wendy Morris at home, or send it to someone else, follow the link below to our bandcamp where you can sign up! Tapes are shipped worldwide.

”She gathered rue and savin 

She poured them in an earthen pot with calamint and dill

And to the brim with coltweed and camphora she did fill

That potent brew caused many drops of milk and blood to spill”

Explore the third tape 

Tape 4 - Raoni Muzho Saleh

Departing from a soundscape which sonically elaborates and builds on the notion of the ‘transmoan’, developed by Raoni Muzho Saleh in collaboration with composer Abel Kroon, the letter traces the multiple landscapes appearing and disappearing through the sound of the transmoan in order to come to a proposal of life and feeling.

To receive the tape letter by Raoni Muzho Saleh at home, or send it to someone else, follow the link below to our Bandcamp page where you can sign up! Tapes are shipped worldwide. 

"Hey dear, listen to the monstrous roar of a giant whale whining to be heard through the noise of the thundering electronics in the midst of the ocean. Listen to how we’re falling into laughter… A kind of laughter akin to crying, akin to madness, akin to remembering the sound of drones flying over our head and not knowing if you and your family would survive another night."

Discover the final audio letter