Here Comes the Rain Again
To Igor Santizo's Photo Set
The first part of Igor Santizo's piece Pivot/Horizon is described in the gallery flyer as "a communal soundwalk within the proximity of the gallery, as an exercise in (in)attention, listening and the wayward driftings of the quiet mind." I had experienced sound walks as aided by headphones and pre-recorded soundscapes, but in tonight's walk the city provided the sound track. This "no tech" style sound walk comes out of the Acoustic Ecology movement explored by artists such as Hildegarde Westercamp. Santizo explained that he would ring a bell at the beginning and end of the walk. He asked that we be silent during the journey. He gave us a length of small, white circular stickers to place where we wished as an act of marking specific places that attracted our focus.
Did I mention the sun had gone down and it was pouring rain? In spite of this, over fifteen people came to walk in silence with Igor. The first thing that echoed out into the night was the sounds of trains shunting just a few yards away from us. This is the sound I often hear from miles away in my bed at night. A helicopter came next, then a garbage truck. We walked along a semi-industrial street and paused in empty shipping and parking lots. The rain sounded different in relation to the materials the buildings were made of. One got a sense of the textures of the roofs and walls without even looking at them. I kept looking at the rain falling in streams and sheets down the streets toward the rail yard. In some ways this black rain was calming. At other times it was overwhelming. "Too much rain! Too much rain!" I panicked. The stickers were soggy and my hands were cold. I resented having to stick them on places when I wanted just to be listening.
I was distracted by the rain. After a summer-long garbage strike the rain feels calming, as though it is cleansing and renewing the city, but it reminds me that winter is coming. Since we've just had two particularly long, wet winters the rain fills me with a sense of dread, of having to shore myself up for a long, dark journey ahead. The hopeful thing was being in a group of people, feeling supported and safe in a place I normally would not go at night by myself. That was my favorite element of the piece--witnessing the beauty of Railtown at night among friends.
I focussed on the sounds of footsteps of the participants. Two women were wearing boots with heels. One woman's heels were causing her feel to cave in towards the center, suffering for fashion. The sounds of the boots were distracting, but in this case the distractions were what created the meditation. One thinks of meditation of the act of clearing the mind and making it blank and neutral, however Santizo is not coming from a particular spiritual tradition of meditation. He is creating his own form of meditative practice. At the end of the walk he rang the small bell repeatedly and blew an instrument that sounded like a train whistle. He provided a playful ending to our heightened sensory experience.
Igor Santizo is inviting anyone to join in the second part of this piece, which will be a series of meditations with small groups of people in private homes. He is asking for interested participants and also for people willing to open their homes for the meditation sessions. For more information contact the Helen Pitt Gallery at (604) 681-6740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.