Elsa M’Bala & Scent Club
TIME AT A LOSS #2 – MEMORIES OF SOUND AND SMELL
20h – Monday 5th November 2018 at KuLe, Berlin
Outbound is a series of events bringing together international artists with local Berlin artists to meet and exchange about a shared field of interest.
Each Outbound takes place over a period of 3 days during which the invited artists discuss a prominent theme of their artistic practice. The public event concluding this meeting presents the work of each artists as well as, when relevant, a joint work.
In 2018, Outbound reflects on our universal experience of time by looking at how the various invited artists interpret time in their own work. Temporal reality, dynamics of change and our experiential encounters with time will be challenged through the confrontation of the different ways to treat its passage: cyclically, linearly, reflectively, and repeating indefinitely.
“As an artist i didn’t think much about what I was doing at that time. It was more of a survival strategy. I had to leave my comfort zone,” says Elsa M’bala aka AMeT, reflecting on her relocation to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, in 2012. Elsa M’bala left her guitar and practice as a singer-songwriter in Münster, Germany, to move back to Cameroon—and shifted towards working with digital sonic tools and cyberspace. In Cameroon she began recording people in taxi buses without their knowledge, embarking on a process of disidentification: unlearning what she knew, tapping into unknown, unfamiliar spaces. She listened to these recordings in order to process memories: from her childhood in Cameroon, her coming of age in Germany, her research trips in various African contexts, and her presence back in Yaoundé.
This has been a continuous identity quest, a process of coming to grips with her sense of belonging, and alternative collective histories. In her practice M’bala works with her own recordings as well as archival materials to piece together historical facts, narratives, and their impact on today’s world, creating a living archive that is made tangible through the power of sound.
Scent Club is an artistic collective and community of people, that come together to research, produce projects and collaborate focusing on the sense of smell. In the past, they have developed a variety of works such as installations, workshops, olfactory tours, and olfactory portraits. Their mission is to offer the opportunity for people to switch focus and tune into their sense of smell thus enhancing a particular experience or providing one that caters directly to the nose.
“The most beautiful thing we have discovered has to be the fact that albeit the sense of smell is extremely subjective it has the capacity to bring people together, it connects people and opens people up not only to their memories and associations but also to one another.”
Current core members include founding members Mareike Bode, Max Joy, Alanna Lynch, Eeva-Liisa Puhakka, and Chaveli Sifre along with Tobias Esselborn and Aleksandra Pawlowska.
This reportage is by Dj Schlucht.