Bye bye paper membership cards
The third edition of Sorry Not Sorry is taking place on 28 & 29 September. While the festival mostly focuses on street art in Ghent, they have opened up space for young artists and collectives to work in. One of the names on the list is Ghent-based artist duo Lefever & Devriendt. Both Marius Lefever and Hector Devriendt have been working with sound (think Jennifur), performance (think PA\WS) or curating (think Stofwolk) and will present their new piece at Sorry Not Sorry.
The project will be on view at Chambre Bateau (a play on the 1986 Chambre d’Amis) in the middle of the Oude Dokken site. Lefever & Devriendt produce delicate tracks, playing on notions of memory and making visible. We had a chat with them last Thursday. Hector bought us beer and we reminisced over spaces and places.
Interview by Elise Dupré
Photos shot by Shervin Sheikh Rezaei
Lefever & Devriendt—you work with sound and spaces, right?
True. We are working on an audio project in which we make soundtracks for particular places. We enter a space, a building or a site and record sounds. It’s an intuitive process; us having a go at this huge playground we’re in, using features and objects that strike us. How does a table sound when I knock on it? What happens when I clap my hands in this space?
The sounds you get from that are pretty powerful, and are testimonies of the space they were made in. Afterwards we import the field recordings in Ableton and work with them for a while. We layer and add, in order to amplify the atmosphere. The final soundtrack is a subjective documentary. Of the atmosphere, and of us in that space in that particular moment.
We are working on an audio project in which we make soundtracks for particular places.
You two are friends and have been friends for a while now. When did that evolve into forming an artistic duo?
I’d say by coincidence? We both studied Art History at university and became friends pretty quickly. The first project we worked on as a duo was Balkonscènes at NTGent. The Grand Hall of the theatre here in Ghent was under construction and artists were offered that space to work with. They asked me (Marius) if I knew someone who was working with sound. Hector was, so we decided to bundle forces and did a piece there. It felt right, and it made a lot of sense to keep working together.
What about the piece you’re creating for SNS?
The project we’re working on right now is focused on recording spaces and places that are soon to be demolished. They’re subjective remnants of that space, odes to those places. The site for SORRY, NOT SORRY, the Oude Dokken fits that methodology well. We will be recording and performing in this industrial site that will soon look different.
They’re subjective remnants of that space, odes to those places
How long are these soundtracks usually?
I’d say around ten minutes usually? Not too long. The shorter pieces are easier to generate stories with. Getting that narrative in there, a story arc, is important. You really need to feel us entering that space, working the space, leaving it and processing it afterwards. It begins, it climaxes and it ends.
For this piece we are incorporating video. The spaces we record will be recorded visually as well. The video should be able to steer the auditory gaze. We want to recreate the feeling we’ve experienced in that space and imagery adds an extra layer of repetition. It’s pretty exciting as it’s new to us both. It’s a tryout, and we’re sure it will be tryout after tryout after tryout for a while.
Incorporating video shifts the work to the audiovisual sphere, in which the spectator gains importance. Is the idea of a spectator, or the person listening to your piece, something that’s on your mind often?
Yes. Our work is based on an experience, so it makes sense to think about other people experiencing it. Our pieces are performed in a space first, we only publish it online afterwards. You’re not listening to our piece with headphones but with a stereo surround system. It’s about immersion, about giving people that little nudge to experience the space in a different way, especially spaces that will disappear soon. It’s important to play the soundtrack we created in situ. It’s a double act, and that might make it more special for the people experiencing the piece as well.
I like how delicate this approach is. It all sounds very nostalgic.
Absolutely. The things we have made in the past all feel nostalgic and gravitate towards memory. Maybe we’re sensitive to that. Maybe we’re children of our time and like to reflect on stillness, who knows. Sound seems to be our ideal carrier for that.