R(A)DIO(CUSTICA) achieves international success! Veronika Svobodová’s recordings and noise machines awarded Palma Ars Acustica first prize
On May 30, the jury of the EBU PALMA ARS ACUSTICA international competition met online and decided to award the first prize of PAA 2020 to two compositions: ROR-BU by Veronika Svobodová and a RE/DIS/COVER, a music collage applying a documentary approach, by Cambodian documentarist Sao Sopheak, produced by Austrian Radio and by the Radiokunst-Kunstradio project.
Veronika Svobodová is a remarkable creative figure of the Czech intermedia art scene, working on the borderland between drama, fine art and sound art and performance. Her composition ROR-BU was premiered by the PremEdice Radioateliéru programme in Czech Radio Vltava in March 2019.
The composition is a sonic experience of the composer’s stay in an old fishery house called Kråkeslottet (i.e. Crow Castle), which is situated on the very edge of the Norwegian island of Senja behind the polar circle. It is a traditional fishery house, which was used as a fish-processing plant for many years. Since 2011 it has regularly hosted the ArtiJuli Festival of Contemporary Art and has been a place for artists in residence.
Among other things, the composition includes the sounds of a knitting machine from a string museum, of the ship Polaris, a walk on the beach, howling wind, frozen rain, hail, creaking stairs, a recording of an old piano, etc. The composer accompanies the recordings by playing her own self-made kinetic sound instruments.
These two anachronical noise machines produce delicate eruptions and misty noises using primitive mechanical tools, slate plates, sand, stones, a loop station and contact microphones. This combination turns the whole composition into a very picturesque soundscape and an immersive experience of the remote Norwegian island. The international jury appreciated not only the composer’s poetic way of thinking through sound but also the precision and high quality of the composition and of the sounds used in it, for which film sound engineer Jan Richter must be thanked as he contributed to the post-production work and final mix of the recording.