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Präppla

A research project initiated by Lena Séraphin, carried out with Emma Cocker, Andrea Coyotzi Borja, Cordula Daus, Ava Imogen Grayson and Vidha Saumya, and performed at

Market Square in Vaasa
on Saturday May 20, 2023
at 12:00 and 20:00
Length: 20 min
The piece is performed as part of Vaasa Choir Festival.

Präppla is an experimental piece by the group Cocker, Coyotzi Borja, Daus, Grayson, Saumya, Séraphin & SOUNDS. It is a part of the Sharing Text project – Séraphin’s postdoctoral research at the Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies at Åbo Akademi University. It has been produced during Séraphin’s three years in the artist’s residency in Vaasa run by Pro Artibus Foundation in collaboration with Åbo Akademi University.

Collaborative writing has long been a part of Séraphin’s working processes, which take their inspiration from Georges Perec and his book Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien from 1975 (An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris). The book is based on the way Perec describes a place starting from his own observations, systematically addressing small details and events that are often overlooked and which therefore remain excluded and untold. While Perec constructed his text beginning from visual observations, Séraphin has initiated a writing process beginning with bodily perception. During her residency period in Vaasa, Séraphin has held three collective writing sessions in public space. The focus has been on Vaasa’s Kauppatori market square and the piece Präppla is a sonic gesture addressing the square as a site for writing, listening and speaking interlaced with sound artist Ava Imogen Grayson’s site-specific composition.

Präppla is an onomatopoeic word in Swedish, which roughly means to chitchat. The piece is a composed choral intervention that grows from observational writing and sound recordings that have taken place on Vaasa’s Market Square.

It consists of vocal live performance and layered sound engaging the square’s sound system, the performers’ portable speakers and spoken material performed by members of the group. The Market Square has a central role in the piece and Präppla is an invitation to bring attention to the movements, sounds, and passers-by of the square. Präppla highlights the conversations constantly taking place within the soundscape of the Market Square. Human and non-human voices of work, leisure, nature, trade, industry, and consumerism all speak in their own times and ways, if we listen carefully. Using bodily writings and field recordings taken from the square layered with the main pitches of the square itself, the performers’ actions and spoken words, the composer’s sung material, and the square itself create a choral intervention in which every sound is a possibility for dialogue.

Präppla is an experiment in situated publishing and an inquiry into text that no longer communicates literal meanings. What happens when language reaches its limit?  What might at first come across as playful raises a question about the possibilities of sharing public space by listening.

 

Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield: http://not-yet-there.blogspot.com

Andrea Coyotzi Borja is a Helsinki-based visual artist: www.andreacoyotziborja.com

Cordula Daus is a writer-artist based in Berlin/Vienna: https://corduladaus.com/

Ava Imogen Grayson is a Helsinki-based sound artist and pedagogue: http://www.aigrayson.com

Vidha Saumya is a Helsinki-based visual artist and poet: https://vidhasaumya.wordpress.com

Lena Séraphin is a Helsinki/Vaasa based visual artist: https://writinginpublic.space and https://lenaseraphin.com

 

The project has been supported by:
Bröderna Gröndahls Stiftelse
KulturÖsterbotten
Svensk-Österbottniska samfundet r.f.

 

Listen below a sample of Präppla: