Right to Be Forgotten by Augustė Vickunaitė
22 November 2019
“Right to be forgotten” is an audio mix for radio made out of old reel-to-reel tape recordings, which were recorded by various people from different places in the world. Some of these recordings are very personal and intimate even though people who made or participate in it are unknown for me. This collection contains accidentally found tapes, where content of sound material varies from children fairytales to political speeches in radio; from big family gatherings to secretly recorded couple’s conflict.
It is possible that these tapes had their own travel history and were already separated from the original tape recordists or their relatives by random and unknown routes. These unrevealable routes might be related with somebodies’ deaths, moving from one living place to another, property sails, failed post distribution or many other ways and places in which the things get lost from their owners.
Esthetics of this mix is formed by various failures in the recording processes and imperfectness of the quality of the tape machines and tapes. All these machinic and process defects, chain of different types of recordings and all the imperfect artefacts that were left on the way (in each stage) towards the final product evokes the nostalgic imagination and reminds us that we are listening to the recording. All these tiny sonic things which remained in the background back there becomes the most important evokers of the sense of time. Listening to it is like looking though someone’s house keyhole and creating full story out of random twinkling fragments. Besides the main recorded sound, the ambience is filled with random conversations of the passersby or other random souls which can sometimes be heard but is on the edge of audibility. The context and sense of the heard material is often lost within the failures of recording which makes the events to continue beyond the heard, inside our minds. The question of privacy and personal information somehow becomes suspended somewhere between time gap from then and now; life span of the human being; the change of equipment and material of recordings becoming rather esthetically associative with “time evoking sense” than exposing personal and private content. Even thou the question of personal material’s publishing, in no matter what kind of form or context, is very vague and still remains.
This work was produced and presented as part of the “Experimental Radio Practice” seminar of the UdK Master’s program Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, which took place under the supervision of Lukas Grundmann at Cashmere Radio in summer 2019.
Coila-Leah Enderstein in talk with Augustė Vickunaitė
Right to Be Forgotten