Nominee Threshold Award Autonomous Practices
Meet Anke Diederen! Anke was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Autonomous Practices with her graduation project ‘Sound as a trace of culture, as a crossover to the other’. In this interview, Anke tells us about her work and future plans.
Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?
My graduation project is called ‘Sound as a trace of culture, as a crossover to the other’, and is about introducing sound art in the context of a highschool with immigrant students from different parts of the world. Being both a musician and a visual artist, I have always been interested in integrating different art disciplines within school curriculums. With my graduation project I wanted to take the opportunity to focus more on the autonomous, creative part of sound in particular, and to see how it can benefit the art curriculum within this particular school.
I participated in the minor Visual Culture, where we did exercises around the use of sound. This experience made me realise that sound has a massive influence on the way we perceive our surroundings, whether it be noise disturbances in public places, background music, or sound effects in a movie or video clip. I decided to further explore this idea for my graduation project, and see how sound can help international highschool students who just immigrated into the Netherlands (ISK classes). I wanted to help these teens to perceive their surroundings in new and more creative ways, and use it as a method to learn the Dutch language better. My research question became: ‘how can I use sound art as an activation method for an interdisciplinary, creative process and how can I make it accessible, understandable, and effective for students of highschool Olympia College?’
My final work is a soundtrack including the voices of the students of the Olympia College, the conversations and messages they wanted to pass on to each other, and a remix I made using parts of conversations and vlogs from the students. I collected the sounds by walking through the school and giving students sound exercises. I also collected the sounds recorded by students themselves. The amount of different languages and ways of speaking at this school, made it a very interesting piece to listen to. To conclude the project, I listened to the track together with the students. Many students were surprised, delighted and appreciated the sense of humor of the soundtrack. They were very enthusiastic about making new records with sound.
Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work? How?
With this project, I aimed to create a platform for students that are less represented in our society. I wanted to enable them to share their messages and ideas with the world and with their peers. I also found it important to create a stronger connection between immigrant students and their new environment. I did this by going on sound walks with them in a nearby park. We listened together, were silent together, created audio recordings together, and wrote down the Dutch names of the sounds we heard. Students became more aware of their dependence on each other, as their own sound disturbances affected someone else’s audio recordings as well. They became aware of the traces they were leaving behind in space and time. So these collective sound exercises really brought us together.
Another important red thread in my work is the development of interdisciplinary art processes, in which I am trying to expand the idea of art education within school curriculums. I aim to broaden the artistic research attitude of students, by using sound and sound exercises. If I am able to give students a broader artistic underlay, they have a greater chance of discovering their own potential within the spectrum of creativity.
What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?
I recently started working at Olympia College as an art teacher. I would love to create a collective album with my students, for which they can write their own lyrics, create their own album cover and record video clips. I see this as a good next step within my career as an artist and an educator.
To read more about Anke’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page or listen to the soundtrack on Anke’s Soundcloud. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on Instagram and her Website. The winner of the Threshold Award Autonomous Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.