undeniably some sort of is an immersive sound installation by Jakob Braito and Maria Margolina that explores liminal states through audio-visual means. Using references from Internet culture and contemporary practices of escapism; the artists outline a presence of transition. For the site-specific work, they use the liminal structures of the Lothringer 13 lokal.
Detached from context and purpose, we are slowly losing our identity. In a need to define ourselves, we're seeking a foothold in a society that chronically lacks newness and yet offers novelty as an answer. Are we reminiscing about our notorious future?
Liminality as a symptom of an undefined present
undeniably some sort of by Jakob Braito and Maria Margolina, 2022
Text by Mareike Schwarz / Translation by Bethany Brown
Unstable in a present whose future is lost. Searching for meaning within a spectrum of seemingly unlimited possibilities, the echoes of which are never-ending and resound in interiors void of people. Sound pieces that are reminiscent of past genres. The immediate future emerges, destabilised in the present.
Jakob Braito and Maria Margolina’s expansive four-channel-sound installation undeniably some sort of makes it possible to experience the diffused state of an in-between. The state of being in-between or liminality (Victor Turner 1967, Paul Stenner 2017) describes a transitional or threshold state in human development. Originating in Lothringer 13 Lokal, a kind of preliminary premise somewhere between a presentation room and lounge, the artists create an audio-visual setting that explores liminal zones both spatially and temporally.
Bathed in yellow light, a Eirst threshold awaits visitors at the entrance. In the Lothringer 13 premise, a waiting bench, akin to those found in transit areas, stands lost in space. Its alienated exterior in an undeEinable gray creates an eerie atmosphere in combination with block-out slatted curtains. Empty bookshelves and fragments of sentences on the walls are relieved of all informative function. The artists consciously refer to digital communities that collect liminal image and text material: the yellow, deserted ofEice aesthetic alludes to backrooms; the blurry photo print of a sky, whose date of recording, however, only indicates the default time, reminding us of both weirdcore and dreamcore. The references of the visual interior design correspond with the nuances of the sound.
Braito and Margolina interweave and collage Eield recordings of real “liminal” places with sound production from the studio. For this they use stylistic means such as sampling, slowing down, distortion or granular synthesis. In inEinite loops, the sound piece is played back over the four loudspeakers without a deEinite beginning.
Stagnate, synthetic sound surfaces alternate with sequences of dynamic escalation and melodic contour. The immanent impression oscillates between escapist harmonies and atmospheric fractures. In contrast, white noise machines scattered around the room create relaxing sounds of random sonic materiality. The alienated references of pop songs, which are signiEicant for the artists is what Mark Fisher identiEies in Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (2015) as a sign of the times: the products of pop culture are haunted by the past in the 21st century’s neoliberal drive for innovation.
Recalling Fisher, the sound in Braito and Margolina’s site-speciEic work becomes evidence of a “lost future” between presence and absence. By (re)producing liminality through auditory and visual fragments, undeniably some sort of articulates a psychogram of the present: the aesthetics are symptoms. Torn by the tension between the desire to belong and the pressure of individuality, today’s generation longs for a foothold and seeks it precisely in the untenable space of memory. Accordingly, it is impossible to locate a moment or one’s own position within the framework of the sound installation. Jakob Braito and Maria Margolina thus achieve a memento mori of this paradox in contemporary internet and pop culture.