I was slowly walking on the wooden floor of the Hallwyl hall, staring around mesmerised at the medieval Renaissancian elements of the architectural design. Letting the touch of the thick light on the colourful ceiling, narrate through iridescent haze the scent of the stories of the people who similarly walked down this halls, since the medieval times. Yet, the melancholic hues inside me were not fuelled by the realisation of the passage of time, nor by the typical longing of eras and elements of these eras, which although are past feel much more real and actual than the present. My melancholy was mainly aroused by the realisation of sounds, that die away and die out because in one way or the other, nobody needs them anymore.
All this was initiated by the stable creaking sound, made by my heels on the aged floor, coupled with the sporadic soft tinkling sound the metal objects decorating the heavy furniture in the rooms were making, as I shook the floor under them. It was the sound that enabled me realising my own slight, basically unimportant imprint on the room or the time: there and then. I reckoned that otherwise, I cause that sound only when I am at an old person’s house, as if the creak-tinkle sound combination is age or era specific. As if our modern time, in order to lighten up its luggage of inherited properties for the sake of functionality, decided to gradually leave behind sounds that do nothing more that sealing the moment with signs of physical consciousness.
Thus, I allowed myself to embrace that kind of melancholy by reckoning similar sounds. Probably due to the atmosphere of the Hall, what came to my mind straight was that plopping, hiss-like sound caused when a bottle of wine is opened. The shortest sound of celebration, which aims to control the escaping airflow, while what the ear grasps is a sound similar to a liquid exploding behind someone’s lips. Then, I thought about the rustle sound of sheets of paper when they move because of the air coming in from an open window, or because you sit too close to someone at the library. Someone who is not maniacally typing on a computer, but gently turns the pages of his notebook. A sound that is as soft as the landing of his breathe on you would have felt, if you sat even closer to him
A less material-related sound that came to me straight after, is the crunchy, crackling squelch sound of winter boots walking on fresh snow on a sunny day, when everything is still and glittery quiet. Or my personal favourite, that of the fizzing, bubble-bursting, crawling sound of the waves licking the shore of the beach. Even the chirping, short-whooping sound of sudden surprise when unexpectedly stumbling across a loved one from the past and feel freed-from-social-conventions enough, to out-loud cheer about it. A sound that I hardly ever hear or notice anymore and probably dies out, along with the principles of spontaneity. All of these sounds, and others that are probably more meaningful to each and every one of us, may not be era-specific in the same terms, but their gradual disappearance may be warning for the transition to the minimalistic or reductive tendencies of functionality. It might not necessarily be that the modern-age needs will gradually eliminate them, but still by detecting them within our pleasure-basket, by addressing and specifying them and locating them in time and space, so that for their detection -even in gradually less occasions- to be facilitated, their maintenance, at least within our consciousness, can be safeguarded.
Featuring “Alba” embroidered lace dress
Written and curated by Marianna Serveta
Photographed by Emma Sundkvist.
Special thanks to the warm and worried heart of L., to whom this is dedicated.