Although we’re surely focused on releasing records and staging site-specific compositions, there’s a lot more happening in the bohemian drips universe. In this section, we’ll collect our activities as a label and individuals since 2011, such as countless concert nights at Ziegrastrasse, the infamous DJ duo “lislbar & wermuth”, the videoworks of “Abstrakte Zustandsmaschine” or the monthly radio show of our own Vamilienfater on Mutant Radio.
Make sure to drop by regularly, we’ll crawl through our archives over the course of the next few weeks. Let’s start with “bohemian trips” and a recent trip to Chile:
bohemian trips is a project that was initiated as a counterpoint to the omnipresent streaming-noise dominating the social networks: bohemian trips provides ongoing audiovisual explorations recorded in binaural audio and 4k video – headphones are recommended for full sonic immersion.
You can access the videos on our new YouTube channel.
Between November 2019 and January 2020, Alexander Meurer (bohemian drips) and Josefine Lukschy (Die Milchstrasse Flockt, Dog Dimension) were invited to participate in a sound-art residency in Santiago de Chile, organized by Goethe Institut Chile and Galería Tajamar.
The sound installation “primera línea“ is an interdisciplinary project that exposes both the hidden and apparent sonic environment of the Chilean social movement, witnessed in Santiago de Chile between November and December 2019. Is the interference a laser causes in a surveillance camera audible? Can we hear the content of a “rubber“ bullet? The installation interprets “sonic artifacts“ and daily sounds, found and captured at the “primera línea“ of the protests, where the political circumstances have already predetermined an inevitable context of creation, giving the individual pieces a time-and-site-specific character.
Installation “primera línea” in Santiago de Chile
Sonic artifacts and aural documents from the social movement in Chile of 2019
Chile has been experiencing a social movement against inequality in the last two months. With a minimum wage income of around 400 US $ and prices as high or even higher than in Germany or Central Europe, a significant part of the working population is not able to afford a normal life, not to mention quality education or basic health care. Although Chile is a comparatively rich country, people are accumulating credit debts to be able to afford everyday necessities.
Also Chile is a country where almost every aspect of life (such as water) is privatized and follows the logic of neoliberalism in its fullest extent, which was introduced as part of an economic experiment during the 1950s and lasted throughout the Pinochet dictatorship. After the terrors of this dark era, corruption, market collusion and misuse of political power have led the country into the current state of inequality, serving the rich and privileged on the cost of the working class. A raise of metro prices in October caused the situation to escalate, yet the protests are obviously about more than travel fares. One of the protesters’ demands is to rewrite the constitution (which was introduced during the Pinochet dictatorship) so it serves the people. The authorities are responding to the protests with an inappropriate use of police violence and methods of suppression reminiscent of the dictatorship, such as sending the military to the streets or declaring a curfew. People have been persisting and fighting for their rights for two months now.
When the Goethe Institut and the Santiago based Fundación Tajamar confirmed to collaborate with bohemian drips (represented by Josefine Lukschy and Alexander Meurer) for a artist residency back in May, Chile was a different country than it is now. Although both institutions offered to reschedule the period of the residency, Josi and Alex decided to fly to Santiago de Chile anyway in early November. After their arrival they started going to the protests with locals who soon would become good friends to experience the movement first-hand. Within the following days they started to document the daily scenes at Plaza Dignidad with audio recordings and photos and videos. As museums were closed back then (some remain closed to this day), the „open art scene“ (which as in many other countries is comprised of a rather privileged demographic) reacted to the situation with „encounters“ which intended to establish an open discourse between people from the scene and passers-by, sometimes accompanied by more or less profound performances and „interventions“. Given this context, institutionalized art or music was completely off the grid and not really regarded as relevant for the social movement. Of course this affected the way how lexander Meurer and Josefine Lukschy thought about a possible result of this month-long residency: Creating something that revolves around a self-referential aesthetic context would be possible – but also self-centered and somehow disrespectful towards the shit that is literally going down in Chile. Still hailing from a privileged position of the „foreign observer“, they both tried to think of how something „artistic“ could be of actual value to the situation, for example by exposing the actual composition of the riot control „rubber bullets“: The bullets collected from the street were being moved around by a magnet in this specific installation, proving their content is magnetic and therefore much more dangerous than they are supposed to be.
Over the course of November and December, Alexander Meurer and Josefine Lukschy developed the idea to use only materials collected during the protests to build installative structures, reflecting or exploiting a certain aspect of the social movement and the subsequent police violence. The final project was presented on December 19 in a public space at the Torres de Tajamar. Below you’ll find some information on two of the four pieces created for this installation.
After four weeks of protests, a scientific analysis commissioned by El Salvador hospital and released by Universidad de Chile found that the rubber bullets used by Chilean police only contained 20% rubber. The remaining 80% are made up of ceramic and metal compounds such as silica, barium sulfate and lead, which make the bullets more rigid and harmful. Over 300 eye injuries have been reported since the start of the social movement. Many people have lost sight, some even on both eyes.
The bullets are moved by a magnet that circles the tray from above, demonstrating the actual composition of the so-called “rubber“ bullets. The faint sounds made by colliding rubber bullets is picked up through a contact microphone on the bottom of the tray.
Lasers are used by protesters to blind and distract drones, cameras and police officers. On November 12, the protesters at Plaza Dignidad took down a police surveillance drone collectively with their lasers.
The interference a laser causes within a camera also generates audio signals and glitches that are made audible by this hacked surveillance camera.